Warning! This article contains spoilers for Andor episode 7.
Episode 7 of Andor introduces the planet Niamos, whose depiction, when compared to the Imperial Center of Coruscant, hints at a cultural prejudice within the Galactic Empire. The Star Wars franchise includes a type of bigotry against non-humans called High Human Culture, which existed in the galaxy long before the rise of the Empire but was exacerbated by Palpatine’s authoritarian regime. As is often the case, this element of the Star Wars galaxy was explored in great detail in Legends but only mildly so in the ongoing canon, but Andor appears to be subtly delving into it.
Coruscant has been featured heavily in Andor thus far, with its populace almost entirely consisting of humans. Episode 7, “Announcement,” ends with Cassian Andor at a resort on the Imperial-run world of Niamos, whose populace not only is far more diverse in its sentient species but is also blatantly oppressed by draconian Imperials. This strongly suggests the presence of High Human Culture in the current canon’s Empire, but whether or not Palpatine truly agreed with this bigotry is another matter, as is the effect of High Human Culture on the eventual Rebel Alliance.
In Legends, High Human Culture is explored greatly, as part of Palpatine’s coup and as a component of Imperial culture following the fall of the Republic. Palpatine’s Sith Master, Darth Plagueis, insisted in the Darth Plagueis novel that Palpatine become the Republic’s Supreme Chancellor not only due to his knack for political manipulations but also because the galaxy would more readily accept a human leader than a non-human one. Palpatine himself has stated privately that, despite High Human Culture becoming a key component of the Empire, he has no such prejudice against non-humans, but he uses High Human Culture to maintain control over the Imperial populace, manipulating bigots by playing on their prejudices, a chillingly realistic strategy that is straight out of the playbook of real-world despots (and would-be despots).
The only bigotry that Palpatine shares with Imperial citizens, however, is anti-Jedi sentiment. Considering that Palpatine is a Dark Lord of the Sith, this is unsurprising, but he uses this prejudice to further manipulate the citizens of the Republic and Empire, justifying his galaxy-wide pogrom of Jedi by scapegoating them as the secret masterminds behind the Separatist Crisis, the Clone Wars, and all other woes that the Republic has faced. With the Jedi all but exterminated during Palpatine’s reign, the Empire began a successful misinformation campaign, rewriting the Jedi Order’s history and framing them for sinister deeds that were truly perpetrated by the Sith.
While neither canon nor Legends explicitly explain how High Human Culture ultimately backfires on the Empire, it is implied by the sheer diversity of the Rebel Alliance. While the Empire is almost entirely run by humans, all manner of sentient beings are welcomed to the Rebellion, as shown in films like Return of the Jedi and countless canon and Legends non-movie materials. The Empire’s prejudice against non-humans as implied in Andor will ultimately inspire beings to flock to the more egalitarian Rebel Alliance, ensuring the autocratic regime’s downfall.
New episodes of Andor release on Wednesdays on Disney+.