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Cassian Andor – „the” Rebel?

Cassian Andor – „the” Rebel?

           Cassian Andor became a very important figure in the Rebellion. We met him for the first time in Rogue One – one of the best movies (not only stand-alones) – in 2022 we got more of him in one of the best series on Disney +. But… Who is Cassian Andor? 

Oh, a fair warning – spoilers for Rogue One and Andor ahead. 

Maarva said you were out ruining your health and reputation with friends of low character.

           I saw a reel recently that the solution for “bad” Star Wars is… more Star Wars. Literally, hear me out: Episodes II and III were not great, let’s be real. So, what did Dave Filoni do? Created Clone Wars that provided contexts: to Anakin and the turning points, Obi-Wan and his imperfections, we even got Ahsoka, someone we are just getting to know in live action. 

But expanding the universe not only serves as a “patching solution”. The main goal, for me, is to bring new characters to life or give them “justice” – as with Cassian Andor. Hey, hey, hey. Rogue One was amazing but didn’t we all immediately fall in love with Cassian? Diego Luna aside, but the character! 

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

It was heartbreaking to meet him just to lose him 2 hours later. So, the Andor series, confirmed YEARS later, was one of my most anticipated Star Wars creations. After all, it was supposed to answer the most important question: who the hell is Cassian Andor? 

None of this is his fault. It was already burning. He’s just the first spark of the fire.

           We had to wait a few good years to get somewhat of an answer to that burning question – but I feel that there is so much more. In Rogue One, Cassian we met was a well-grounded rebel, ready for everything to help the cause. There was no sign of hesitation or doubt in him – whether he was doing something good or… The unspeakable. 

And then Cassian says to Jyn: “I’ve been in this fight since I was six years old”. That gave us some kind of idea that Cassian has seen things done for the Rebellion and that he’s been through a lot of shit. His end was a deep cut that just never really healed. 

Andor was the first SW show shot on real locations instead of these big-ass screens. Which, just so we are clear, is not bad. I am impressed by that technology so much! Then again, nothing beats working in a real location… Once I read that news, I knew: this is going to be the best show Star Wars made. 

There will be times when the struggle seems impossible. I know this already. Alone, unsure, dwarfed by the scale of the enemy.

           Cassian in the pre-Rogue One era is a completely different person: questionable, untrustworthy, shady. How life changes within 5 years… But before we get there, the series offers a glimpse to the past – a glimpse of a young boy from Kenari, a boy called Kassa. Kenari is (was?) an arboreal planet in Mid Rim territories.

In the flashback scenes we see young Cassian among his tribe, among his people but most importantly – his sister. Someone who Andor will try to find and… Put a deadly machine in motion. Will this plotline return in season 2? I would assume so, though we know Star Wars likes plot holes… Kidding. 

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Blasts from the past give us a few pieces of the Cassian Andor puzzle: an Imperial ship crashed on Kenari and once the Kenari youth sent a search party, with a fearless girl leading the way. Kassa was around 9 years old at that point, so the fight against the Empire is currently undocumented. Currently! Season 2, I am looking at you. 

           We also learn that imperial technology seems… Completely alien to Kenari. They are stunned once their leader gets killed by a blaster. They use poisonous darts against the enemy. As the Kenari go back to their village, Kassa stays behind and enters the ship to let his frustration out. One of the most memorable moments for me was when he noticed his own reflection – probably for the first time. 

As he is lashing out on perfectly fine equipment (as a good scavenger would put it), Maarva Andor and her husband Clem show up. B2EMO droid by their side (AND OH MAN, WAS I IN LOVE). In a split-second decision, Maarva decides to take Kassa offworld, to protect him from what might (and will) come next.

The man who sees everything is more blessed than cursed.

           Can I take a minute, just one minute to talk about Bee? I love Star Wars droids, I freaking love them! If anyone asks me ever, which character I relate to the most, I will always answer: anxious droid. But B2 just warmed my heart in a different way. 

And to be fair, I am not sure nor is there any evidence that he (confirmed – Bee has masculine programming installed) has anxiety – but he struggles, for sure. Back on Kenari he was perfectly fine, no stuttering. Years went by and well, Bee is a droid – materials, parts, wires… All of that wears over time.

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

That adorable red squared fellow is a groundmech salvage assist unit, a devoted lovable companion of Andor family throughout the years, most recently on Ferrix. I will just say it once: if he does not come back in season 2, I will lose my shit. Also, Tony Gilroy – creator of the series – said that he wanted the droid to be like the best friend of the family, kind of like a dog. I CANNOT.

Sick, injured, you talk to me. Problems with another inmate, I’ll know before you do. Losing hope, your mind, keep it to yourself.

           On Ferrix, Cassian’s life wasn’t exactly legit – but then again, whose is? Adopted by Maarva and Clem, in the official registers he originated from the planet Fest. One thing though, every Rebel lives with, is constant conflict – be that Clone Wars or imperial oppression. And, as every Rebel, Cassian was led by an emotional response to things happening to him. 

Not specifically to people around him, but he was emotional. Composed, cold, but deep down he was driven by emotions. A methodical soldier who has seen a lot – enough to keep things close to his chest. Regardless of the reason, he partially was in it (fight against the Empire) for the money. We learn that in the first episodes – he screwed up and needed money to lay low for a few. 

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Backed against the wall, he temporarily joins efforts with Luthen Rael – antique dealer by daylight, revolutionary leader in the shadows of the night – and his crew on Aldhani. At that point, Cassian was tired – the Empire kept winning and the Rebellion for him was pretty much non-existent. Money offered by Luthen would buy him and Maarve a new life somewhere else. 

We need the Empire to help. We need them angry, we need them coming down hard. Oppression breeds rebellion.

           The entire Aldhani plot was fantastic. Now that I think about it, we got 12 episodes of Andor and each one of them was essential. Aldhani acted as a light switch for Cassian, especially after meeting Nemik. Ah, sweet Nemik and his manifesto… Probably one of the most tragic endings.

The manifesto, which Andor didn’t want to accept at first, definitely changed something in him. Perhaps there was also guilt (but I don’t think so), but Nemik’s words sunk in and changed Andor’s outlook on things. Just… The moment he decides to listen to it – back on Ferrix, after finding out his mother passed. Loss is a powerful device. 

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

           But the mission on Aldhani showcased exactly how important “small” acts of rebellion were. Sure, the robbery was not at all a small victory nor a small assignment. It had to be executed perfectly, with no hesitation. This also proved that mercenaries like Andor was at that time are going to be essential to winning. 

It proved that the only way people of the Galaxy can defeat the Empire was with “micro acts of courage”. Not with confidence, not with weapons or money – but with the courage to act. 

Weapons are tools. Those that use them are, by extension, assets that we must use to our best advantage. The Empire has no moral boundaries, why should we not take hold of every chance we can? Let them see how an insurgency adapts.

           But things do not always go according to plan – Cassian returns to Ferrix to find out it’s under Imperial occupation and that Maarva is not going anywhere. She is on her own mission, she’s always been.  News spread fast and once she heard about the Rebellion’s success on Aldhani, she wanted to “join the fight”. And that meant not running away. 

But Cassian made up his mind. He paid off his debts and traveled to Niamos –  a world that had once been a popular site for fugitives who needed to lie low but had since fallen under Imperial heel. The “bliss” did not last long – after a run-in with a stormtrooper and in accordance with new rules, he was sent to prison for… 6 years. Despite being just a tourist 😉 

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

And being on Narkina 5 was one of the biggest turning points. Diego Luna did an incredible job portraying pure fear and loneliness. For the first time in years, Cassian Andor finally got… Time. Everything became real to him. And if only he knew what Imperial equipment he and his inmates were assembling… Oh, that post-credit scene broke me, left me in tears. What a cruel circle of life. 

Gets to you, doesn’t it? That’s what a reckoning sounds like. You want it to stop, but it just keeps coming. It’s when it stops, that’s when you’ll really want to start to fret.

           Narkina 5 plot is another perfect component of the show and a critical piece to the Cassian Andor puzzle. After Kenari, Ferrix and Aldhani, we get a pretty clear picture of an angry mercenary with a heatread for the Empire. Narkina 5 adds a new side to Cassian we didn’t know: he was scared, terrified. Trapped in a white, electric cage. 

He was trying to convince people inside to at least try to escape, but his shift supervisor, Kino Loy, made it clear: just wait, do your job, don’t get zipped. It is not until the rumor that nobody is getting out (they are just being shipped to a different prison) and the murder of an elderly inmate when Kino Loy decides to try. That sequence still sends shivers down my spine and that ultimate scene of liberated prisoners jumping to the water for their life and Loy just standing there mortified, saying: I can’t swim

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

           This scene will haunt me, I know it. That look on his face, and look at Cassian’s face… This is why Andor seems superior to other SW series, plot-wise. That Rogue One deep-cut feeling? Andor is the salt pinch. Hell, not even a pinch! 

Narkina 5 might have been the push Andor needed to make up his mind. But it for sure wasn’t the final blow… That news came shortly after: Maarva died – there will be another funeral on Ferrix. 

There is a wound that won’t heal at the center of the galaxy. There is a darkness reaching like rust into everything around us. We let it grow, and now it’s here. It’s here, and it’s not visiting anymore. It wants to stay.

           Another side note here, I know I am painting a picture of Cassian (pre-Rogue One), not really focusing on the review of the show, but like with Bee, I feel like I need a minute here on that funeral scene. The entire… Meaning behind it. 

First of all, what a powerful thing – to be turned into a stone that continues to build the city… When I first thought about it, I was confused. Like… What? How? But is there a better way to honor your people? And of course, Nicholas Britell composed such a moving piece of soundtrack, each time I listen to it, I have wet eyes. 

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

The funeral scene combined with that sound is one of the most influential scenes in all Star Wars. In a world full of loss, sadness and despair; in a world where the Empire thrives, that procession showed unity. And then we reach the speech scene – pre-recorded by Maarva and broadcasted by B2. Wow. 

It’s easy for the dead to tell you to fight, and maybe it’s true, maybe fighting is useless. Perhaps it’s too late. But I’ll tell you this… If I could do it again, I’d wake up early and be fighting these bastards from the start. Fight the Empire!

           The final blow but also a clear message for people and most importantly Cassian – the fight is not over. His fight had only just begun. And all of that just 5 years before the events of Rogue One. Cassian joined the rebellion “officially” at the end of the last episode, offering his blaster to Luthen to kill him – since Cass was considered a loose end. 

It might seem like Cassian has nothing else to lose, but in fact – there is a ship full of people (and one droid) and their lives are at stake. And there was far more to be done in the galaxy! So many Empire endeavors to ruin, so much equipment to steal, so much intel to intercept. 

           Cassian Andor came a long way from a Ferrix thief and scoundrel to a future Intelligence Captain for the Rebel Alliance. And it was at Ferrix he finally understood the consequences of his biggest action – Aldhani robbery – which for him was JUST a robbery. For people in the galaxy, it was a signal to fight. It was a sign to start micro acts of courage.

Photo by Lucasfilm Ltd./Lucasfilm Ltd. – © 2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

I rewatched this show with a heavy heart and I am damn sure Rogue One will break my heart into a million little pieces, once more. Cassian Andor is one of the most important characters and heroes of the Rebellion. Imperfect, scared, deadly and driven not by hate, but pure, unconditional love. 

           Yes, the Rogue One and everything in-between portrait of Cassian Anodr AND the Rebellion (a.k.a. my favorite thing) is coming. Soon! 

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