Disney+ has launched the latest “Star Wars” series “Andor” with the first three episodes debuting today, and while the show is a prequel to the 2016 film “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” there are a few takeaways from that movie that will help enhance your viewing experience of “Andor.”
Led by Diego Luna reprising his “Rogue One” character Cassian, “Andor” is set years before the events of “Rogue One” and is very much the story of how Cassian finds himself enmeshed in the Rebellion in the first place. But before you dive in, here’s what you should remember from “Rogue One.”
A brief plot summary
The story of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is set in the days leading up to “A New Hope,” and follows the rag-tag group of rebels who gave their life to steal the Death Star schematics that then become key to the Rebellion blowing up said Death Star at the end of “A New Hope.” Luna’s Cassian Andor is a Rebel Alliance intelligence officer who is ordered to escort a young woman named Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones) and, covertly, kill her father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) who created the Death Star. Galen, however, is a defector and has been trying to get the Death Star plans into the hands of the Rebel Alliance.
The Empire is on top
This era of “Star Wars” is one in which the Empire is in full control of the galaxy. And “Andor” takes place five years before “Rogue One,” so that’s even more pronounced in this series. The Rebellion is far from a fully equipped and formed group, so the thought of pushing back against the Empire seems… futile. At least to Cassian.
Cassian is fully committed to the Rebellion…
In “Rogue One,” Cassian is a tried-and-true rebel, completely committed to the cause. When “Andor” begins, he seemingly couldn’t care less about any sort of organized Rebellion. This is important to keep in mind because we’re witnessing a significant arc for his character – he’ll go from aimless cynic to Rebel operative over the course of the series, which will conclude (in Season 2) mere days before “Rogue One” begins.
… and a little cold-blooded
The other thing to remember about Cassian from “Rogue One” is that he’s unafraid to do whatever it takes for the cause. Remember, one of the first scenes involving Cassian saw him shooting an informant in the back in cold blood, barely batting an eye. Again, this is a far cry from the character we meet in “Andor,” who is much more passive. He’s got a long way to go.
The Rebellion is in rough shape
With the Empire on top, the Rebellion is a homegrown operation. Even in “Rogue One,” when the Rebellion is more fully formed, they balk at the plan to steal the Death Star layout, deciding it’s too risky. They’re ready to essentially give up because the Empire holds so much power. In “Andor,” the Rebellion is even more nascent and ill-equipped, but working to effect change nonetheless.
The Force doesn’t matter all that much to these people
“Rogue One” is even more striking in hindsight because it largely follows regular people. While the “Star Wars” sequels were concerned with the Skywalker legacy and shows like “The Mandalorian” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” have intimately weaved in the myth of the Jedi and the Force, the story of the characters in “Rogue One” and by extension “Andor” is one of regular people. They have no powers, no royal bloodlines, no mystic connection. And yet they’re fighting anyway. This is how rebellions are born.
Spoiler alert but yes, Cassian gives his life for the Rebellion at the end of “Rogue One,” venturing to Scarif to steal the schematics for the Death Star despite understanding it’s something of a suicide mission. Again, the contrast between that Cassian and the one we meet in “Andor” is striking, and underlines how much story there is to tell in this two-season series.
The first three episodes of “Andor” are now streaming on Disney+.