Warning! Contains SPOILERS for Andor episode 3!The Star Wars series Andor dives into Rebel operative Cassian Andor’s past, providing vital information concerning his age and origins, which both retcon and fix details from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Before the prequel series Andor, not much was canonically known about Cassian’s character, with some snippets of information available from his debut appearance in Rogue One as well as a few Star Wars tie-in publications. Andor is swiftly correcting that knowledge gap, however, and one Easter egg, in particular, in the show is noteworthy when it comes to both his age and addressing an important line of dialogue from the 2016 spinoff movie.
Andor season 1, episode 3 includes a flashback to the tile character’s youth, on Kenari. In the sequence, Cassian (Diego Luna) enters a crashed ship, where he’s discovered by Maarva (Fiona Shaw) and Clem (Gary Beadle). They decide to take him with them after their salvage operation, as Maarva believes that it will be safer for the boy. A Republic frigate is on its way to the crash site, and they believe young Cassian’s friends inadvertently killed an officer. According to StarWars.com, Andor’s flashbacks on Kenari take place prior to the start of the Clone Wars before the Separatist Alliance officially revealed themselves. However, the fallen officers on board the crashed ship wear an insignia bearing a striking resemblance to what would later become the symbol of the Separatists.
Before the show, Cassian Andor was supposedly four years old when the Clone Wars began – his date of birth had officially been listed in Star Wars media as 26BBY, while the Clone Wars occurred between 22BBY and 19BBY. However, considering these significant flashbacks, it is clear that Cassian was at least 10 years old, if not older, before the Clone Wars even commenced. When Maarva adopts him, and he becomes Cassian, she crafts a new identity for him, claiming he’s from the planet Fest. It’s entirely possible, therefore, that his date of birth was changed to hide his true identity and the fact that he was from Kenari. After the Empire took over, Kenari was restricted due to an environmental disaster, and anyone officially from such a planet might have attracted unwanted attention. Even more interesting than the mystery of his true age, however, are the implications this has for Andor’s role in Rogue One where he states, “I’ve been in this fight since I was six years old.”
That particular line from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story created many possibilities for Cassian’s character. Considering what was previously thought to be his date of birth, it was entirely plausible that Cassian had been affected by the Clone Wars when he was six years old and that his parents were possibly killed in a battle, resulting in his need to fend for himself. The Separatists were eventually swallowed up by the Empire, and someone who had been affected by the fighting and regime changes at such a young age could easily have believed the two sides were one and the same, with no distinction between them, or perhaps he could have even joined them at some point and been indoctrinated while young and impressionable.
However, with what is now known following the Andor flashback scenes, this Rogue One line becomes even more interesting and mysterious. Who, if not the Separatists or the Empire, had he been fighting or fighting alongside all that time? It’s certainly possible that this was another fabrication to maintain Cassian’s secret identity, and yet it’s such a significant line, said with so much emotional conviction, that it becomes harder to ignore now there is more context to Cassian’s background. What happened to his parents? How did such a large group of youngsters end up living by themselves in the forest of Kenari? Hopefully, Andor will provide more answers as the show continues, since presently Cassian’s background is a fascinating, carefully constructed web of falsehoods.
New episodes of Andor release Wednesdays on Disney+.