How Cassian Andor Learned the Real Power of the Rebel Alliance

Against all odds, Cassian Andor got exactly what he wanted from his brief dalliance with the Rebel Alliance. He got to « win and walk away, » though he had to do that walking away while murdering a traitorous teammate. Yet, just when he thought he escaped certain death, he went home to discover the true power of the Rebels in Star Wars.

When viewers first meet Cassian, chronologically speaking, he wants three things: to pay off his debts, leave his home on Ferrix and find his sister. His cut of the Aldhani heist is enough to do both. (Possibly all three, if she actually survived.) Maarva Andor, his adopted mother of a sort, is his only family left. Yet, when he returns to Ferrix to whisk her away, she refuses to go. After he left in a shootout with Imperial-backed corporate security forces, the Empire took over the planet. Viewers finally learn what happened to Clem, Cassian’s adopted father. He was killed trying to stop other citizens from protesting the arrival of the Empire, using Clone Troopers instead of Stormtroopers, no less. Cassian never admits he was involved, but the Rebels’ actions on Aldhani inspired his mother to give up her life to fight the cause he’s currently running from. At least Star Wars fans now know why he was such a sucker for Jyn Erso’s « Rebellions are built on hope » argument in Rogue One. He was raised by a believer.

When Maarva and Clem « rescued » the boy then called « Kassa » from Kenari, they said « the Republic » would kill all the natives. It doesn’t matter if this was a brutal side of the Republic not seen on The Clone Wars or the Empire still using the Republic’s ships. Those are Clone Troopers that kill Clem and the dissenters, not Stormtroopers. So, to Maarva and Cassian, the Republic and the Empire are just two names for the same thing. After Clem was publicly executed, the Andor family was content to keep their heads down and not cause trouble. They lost enough. Until Cassian accidentally killed a corporate security guard (and then intentionally killed his partner), the Empire also seemed content to keep their distance. Now that they’re back for good, Cassian wants to leave more than ever. Yet, Maarva can’t.

The biggest travesty in the entire episode is that neither of them let B2EMO offer his opinion about fleeing or being Rebels. Still, even though Cassian believes he’s done sticking his neck out for that cause, Maarva is ready to give her life for it. Unlike the Rebels he just met, she simply thinks that resistance is a better option than passive acceptance of tyranny. Cassian begs her to join him, saying he will be worried about her all the time. « That’s just love, » she replies, devastating both the audience and Cassian. He leaves her but seems to have every intention of returning. Though, it might be too late.

At the end of the episode, Cassian finds himself on the wrong end of a six-year prison sentence. This show takes place five years before the events of Rogue One. Viewers know he won’t serve the whole sentence since he has a date on a Scarif beach. The next time he gets back to the only mother he’s known, she may be yet another Rebel whose sacrifice will, as Luthen’s ally Kleya Marki told Vel about her comrades, « be remembered. » While Cassian will surely have his own reasons for wanting to join the Rebellion, Maarva’s fate could be what makes him a true believer.

Andor continues to be exactly what Star Wars for adults should look like. The family dynamic at play in parallel with the political storyline makes the galactic big picture very personal. Stories like Maarva’s are what Star Wars has always really been about: people fighting back when and how they can.

Andor debuts new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.