In movie Star Wars, The empire is large, boisterous and baroque. Those are space stations with lasers so big they can blow up planets. Those are giant robot elephant tanks. That is a political leader in a black robe, shoot lightning from your fingertips and devour the scene as if it were made of bacon. In contrast, in Andor, The Empire is quiet, omnipresent, and insidious. Those are pop-up pubs designed to cater to pilgrims; those are arrests made at the whim of a random Stormtrooper; it is the act of turning neighbor against neighbor, turning entire populations into unwitting agents of its police state. It’s an Empire where everyone is listening but no one is listeningwhere the cries of dead children are reused as an instrument of torture, where power does not frighten.
The contrast between the two representations of the Empire is striking, and it raises the question: Now Andor described an Empire in this way a cruel and unsettlingly familiar mundane world somehow, could there be any future stories going back to the more sinister and overtly Empire of the movies? Do Star Wars even need arrive?
Much as described by Empire in Andor is a deliberate product of creator Tony Gilroy and his creative team, it exists somewhat unnecessarily. Andor is a story about rebellion, about the Rebellion, personified in the form of Cassian Andor. Meant to bring the audience all the way up to Rebellion’s Official Reincarnation in cinema Rogue One As a Galactic Confederacy capable of delivering overt military blows against the Empire, it must be, for the necessity of the story, to define the evil that Cassian is rebelling against. It is also a much more grounded Star Wars story than most of the previous ones. There are still spaceships, aliens and lasers, but most of the fantasy elements have been removed; more familiar world without lightsabers and the tricks of the Jedi require a villain whose evil is stronger and less defined by remote coils and the Force. Because it’s a quieter, more character-focused story, and because the character is basically just a guy and not Joseph Campbellian’s Chosen One, the tone of the villains’ he must be adjusted accordingly. For Cassian to join the Uprising for an Empire high-idea attack like blowing up a planet was too quick and easy. The series needed to show the Empire slowly raising the temperature of the water until Cassian became one of the few frogs to realize it was being boiled alive.
For Cassian’s final commitment to the life of an amphibious rebel, we need a strong sense of why Cassian is rebelling, and the cost of Not Rebellion will be. Therefore, the Empire needed to be everywhere, but also relatively low. If the Empire just ran around blowing up planets and giggling hysterically, then everyone who Not rebellious looks stupid or evil. This is shown by Luther’s rejoicing over the Empire response to the Aldhani robbery; he would like suppress them, suppress their civil liberties, let their crimes become more public; he is pushing them to become more like the Empire of the original trilogy, revealing their true faces and thus making it difficult for many people to turn a blind eye and do nothing.
The more insidious empire of Andor also gives Cassian some room to grow. His most overt act of rebellion, the Aldhani robbery, was essentially a mercenary job. He then retreated to Niamos, thinking that with enough money and distance, he could bypass the Empire. His prison experience on Narkina 5 That’s the price of that way of thinking. His escape friend Melshi is so convinced that the galaxy needs to know what happened on Narkina 5; Like Luther, he knew that because the Empire was so insidious, simply saying the silence out loud would turn into an act of rebellion that would inspire more rebellions.
Andor is also a series about the cost of rebellion, and here its description of the Empire is also indispensable. Maarva dies, after a long period of indirect cooperation and a brief life of fervent rebellion, and the Empire turns her funeral into a trap for Cassian. Nemik gave up his life for the sake of justice. Vel and Cinta sacrifice their dream of a normal life together. Mon Mothma is in danger of losing her daughter (to say nothing of her political stance, freedom and integrity). Lonni, the ISB spy, is trying to do the right thing, at the risk of his family. Luther’s superb monologue in episode 10 outlines how he radically sacrifices his moral integrity for the cause. These are all characters who were pushed into action by the Empire and punished for it. Rebellion is the right thing to do, but Andor make sure we know it’s not a easy what to do, the way some earlier descriptions of the Empire did.
For fairness, Andor also has an advantage in describing the Empire thanks to its format. Expectations for a series are different from a big budget movie. A Star Wars movie, even an indie movie like Rogue One or relatively character-oriented like Duel, which comes with spectacle expectations on a higher scale than what’s expected for a streaming series. There the villains need to be more flashy and less clinical in their evil than the Empire of Andor. As a streaming series, Andor there’s more room to breathe than a feature film (even a trilogy of them). In a movie, the villain of the Empire needs to be established quickly and bluntly, in order to establish the stakes and get the audience to support the protagonist as soon as possible. In an episodic series, there’s more room for character development over time, both hero and villain, and Andor take advantage of that time. Even among its streaming brethren, Andor got a leg up, with its 12 episode season go beyond, say, six episodes of Obi-Wan Kenobiis set in a similar era and also features Empire as its Big Bad.
This means Andor provided a definitive depiction of the Empire, that future stories need not be bothered because it would be impossible to match what Andor did? Yes and no. Finally, like with Andor, the tone and format of future stories will determine how its villains are presented. Just because AndorJust because the Empire’s presentation is so compelling doesn’t mean it’s the only way they can play the villain; The Star Wars narrative galaxy is vast, and there’s always room for different kinds of stories, like the iconic Empire and the more overt culmination that operate within the context of the kind of stories the series the three original movies told. A two-hour movie needs more villains to quickly establish danger; Alderaan’s destruction in A new hope not really subtle, but it’s an effective way to make it clear how terrible the evil Empire is. And given that Luke Skywalker’s story is more archetypal and mythical than Cassian’s, a villain like Darth Vader, who is essentially a super-villain, makes for a much more complementary enemy than a human. like Dedra Meero.
Finally, the description of Empire in Andor exists in part because it needs to support the story type Andor talking, telling. But not all Star Wars movies or series have to tell the same type of character-focused story as Andor. Parcel-Andoreven in the age of the Empire, there is room for larger, fancier stories of a larger, more fantastic Empire.
However, for all of that, Andor it’s likely that the market has cornered any story that wants to delve into this particular era of Star Wars history, in showing the Empire’s impact on citizens’ daily lives. or how it can plunge peaceful people into both morally complicated rebellion or painful cooperation. The Empire can still be used as an attractive shield, but any story About The empire and/or its impact and effect on the galaxy — or even just one person — will operate in the shadow of Andorand it will be difficult to escape that shadow.
However, this may not be an issue Lucasfilm needs to deal with in the near future, as the Empire slips into a relatively narrow (and well-traveled) window into the Star Wars timeline. While the cinematic aspect of the Star Wars universe is still a mess, there’s little hint at the moment that any movies that are said to be in development will fall into the mainstream. post-prequel period and/or the original trilogy. And in terms of live-action streaming, all of the announced series fall outside that timeline — future season of Palestinians, as well as the series led by Ahsoka and Skeleton screw (the stand by me/cake-esque Jude Law-led about a group of children in the Star Wars universe), are all set after the fall of the Empire, while Helper, Lucasfilm’s first foray into the High Republic era outside of books and comics, took place several hundred years earlier. All, that is, except Andor, will return for the second (and final) season. Which if nothing else means that the field is clear for Andor to continue to be a showcase for the definitive depiction of the Empire and the depths of its fall in the modern Star Wars universe.