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'Andor,' Episode 5: Is the Life of a Rebel Not So Glamorous After All?


Live action Star Wars is back in the form of Andor, a prequel to Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One that follows common criminal-turned-Rebel Alliance hero Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) during the years leading up to the events of the film. We’re here to tackle any questions, debates, and your utmost curiosity about the future soldier for the Rebel Alliance. While Andor is set five years before the Battle of Yavin in Star Wars: A New Hope, there are plenty of easter eggs and little tidbits that help us understand the grizzled Rebellion veteran in Cassian Andor.

Each week, we’ll be answering your questions here. Episode 5 of Andor brings on discussions about the future of the Alliance to Restore the Republic, or the Rebel Alliance. This is the most adult series of Star Wars that fans of the franchise in that it features real-life situations that feel more applicable to our actual lives. So the question is:

When did Star Wars start offering such an adult, real-world set of situations in a galaxy far, far away?

Maybe the Real Life of a Rebel Isn’t as Glamorous as the Original Trilogy Made It Seem?

The original trilogy of Star Wars, starting with A New Hope, shows us a massive rebel fortress of the jungle-covered moon of Yavin 4, where the Rebel Alliance has been amassing their fleet. They have entire rooms of computer technology, a large base for all their ships, and even a throne room for celebrating the success of their mission.

Andor is much bleaker and more tied to realism. The planet Aldhani isn’t intrinsically that much different than Yavin 4, other than our small group of Rebels are living in small huts while disguised as farmers. Cassian is distrusted by most of the group, notably Arvel Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Cinta Kaz (Varada Sethu), who were not expecting another member of their team to be added to the mission at the last possible moment.

The life that Cassian is living is more emblematic of what being a freedom fighter for the Rebellion would actually be like: gritty, tedious and likely very uncomfortable. The original trilogy spoils us with the comparatively comfortable lives of Rebellion heroes like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Lando Calrissian.

So, The Life of an Imperial Isn’t Glamorous Either?

Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) is stuck at home with his overbearing mother after the catastrophic result of his meddling on Ferrix. Eedy (Kathryn Hunter) surely reminded many an audience member of their own mother with her opinions on his life, how he dresses and acts, and what his plans are for whatever is next.

Karn is an interesting character that we hope continues to get fleshed out. He’s a lot more than the black-and-white imperial agent that we first suspected him to be in the beginning of the series; perhaps now more aware of the moral gray area of his galaxy after trying to do what he felt was the right thing and getting bitten in the ass for it.

What is the ISB?

The Imperial Security Bureau is canonically the law enforcement and intelligent agency of the Galactic Empire. ISB plays a large role in several Star Wars media mediums, including the animated Star Wars: Rebels. In Andor, it serves a purpose to introduce us to a Lieutenant and Supervisor, Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) who is everything you imagine when you picture an intelligence agent of the Empire. She’s methodical, overly ambitious, and somewhat callous to the nature of her line of work.

In many ways, she’s what Syril Karn had hoped to be – seeing elements of Rebellion that the quiet quitters of the ISB fail to notice and grinding at her post with the ultimate goal of finding one ISB agent (maybe Star Wars: The Clone Wars veteran Wullf Yularen) who actually takes what she says to heart.

Why Does Skeen Feel So… Skeevy?

The character of Skeen is one who feels eerily like a “Han Solo” archetype pre-Original Series. Wejust can’t shake the feeling that this guy isn’t really a rebel – he just exudes “out for myself” energy. His repeated arguments with Cassian end with Cassian’s revealing that he’s not on this job as a member of the Rebel Alliance – he’s a mercenary, plain and simple, and he’s in it for the money.

The way that Cassian’s revelation seems to work wonders for his dynamic with Skeen lead us to believe that maybe Skeen is also just a hired mercenary? We wonder what role he will play in the upcoming heist with Cassian. The best we can do now as an audience is to cross our fingers and hope for the best – though we know Cassian must survive this outcome, which certainly tones down the drama a little bit.

What Happens Next?

With Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) having a stomach full of nerves pending the result of this mission, Rael confides in his assistant that he’s worried about the mission and Cassian’s involvement specifically. Given Cassian’s role in Rogue One, it’s safe to assume that Cassian fulfills his role to a tee – especially since we know of Cassian’s whatever-it-takes mentality to get a job done.

Catch up on all our Andor recaps and questions here . . .

'Andor,' Episode 4: Why Did We Wait So Long for Mon Mothma's Starring Moment?

'Andor,' Episode 3: What Led Cassian Andor to Work for the Rebel Alliance—And Why is He So Suited For It 

'Andor,' Episode 2—Is the Rebellion Growing?

Breaking Down 'Andor,' Episode 1 on Disney+ and All Those 'Star Wars' Easter Eggs



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