Warning: Spoilers for Andor episode 8
Andor’s Imperial labor camp on Narkina 5 is curiously devoid of alien life. As a series set in the world of Star Wars, there’s an expectation for it to incorporate numerous elements of the lore of the franchise, and that extends to more than just the conflict with the Empire, which has been a focal point of the series. There’s also the sheer number of alien species that exist in the Star Wars universe. But interestingly, Disney+’s Andor show has been rather light on its use of aliens.
The scenes in the Imperial labor camp in Andor episode 8 serve as the latest instance of the show giving most of the attention to the humans. In fact, everyone imprisoned alongside Cassian Andor in the camp appears to be human, even though there’s obviously no shortage of aliens in the galaxy. As for where they all are, it seems the answer lies primarily with the Empire’s approach to its rule. It would appear that the Empire preferred to maintain some degree of separation between the different species in the Star Wars universe. How the Empire treated people was defined partly by whether or not they were human, which makes sense of the aliens’ absence from Narkina 5.
Among the many flaws shared by the Galactic Empire in Star Wars is its anti-alien bias. It’s no secret that most Imperial officers are humans, and there’s a good reason for that. The Empire has a xenophobic attitude and has long harbored distrust toward the numerous alien species that occupy its sectors. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this outlook is notably reflected by its treatment of its prisoners. While Andor episode 8 did highlight how cruel and callous the Empire can be to its human subjects, other Star Wars projects have shown they can be even more malicious to their alien prisoners.
A perfect example of Imperial hatred of aliens is what happened on Kashyyyk. The Empire enslaved the planet and instituted labor camps where Star Wars’ Wookies were forced to endure miserable existences. The conditions were unconsciously harsh and unforgiving, even more so than the situation with Andor episode 8’s Narkina 5. Cassian and his fellow inmates having to sleep through the night with a dead prisoner nearby can’t compare to the intense, physical labor that the Wookies had to put up with day after day on Kashyyyk. The reality of it all is that while the Empire was oppressive to everyone, it was the aliens who received the worst of it.
The sonic device that the Imperials are using to keep the prisoners in line on Narkina 5 creates a tough predicament for Cassian, especially if he plans on making a break for it anytime soon. An escape attempt is inevitable, but it could very well blow up before it goes very far in Andor, as a press of a button is all it would take to stop Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor in his tracks. Because of the odds stacked against him, escaping will most likely depend on a well-coordinated, perfectly executed rebellion by the prisoners. In spite of his resourcefulness, it’s hard to imagine Cassian getting out on his own. And looking at how each inmate has good reasons for hating their captors at this point, Cassian may have a good chance at eventually convincing most of them to agree to an escape plan in Andor season 1’s remaining episodes.
Andor releases new episodes on Wednesdays on Disney+.