Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had the distinction of fleshing out the Rebellion’s struggle and revealing it wasn’t always so glamorous. There was infighting within the leadership, and its members didn’t always do good deeds in the fight against the Empire. Nowhere was this more evident than in lead character Cassian Andor, who ended up the star of a prequel to the film in the Disney+ show Andor. With the show shedding light on Andor and the Rebellion’s early days, the film packs even more of an emotional punch.
Andor showcased the origins of Cassian Andor and the Rebellion he would join. It explains why Cassian was loyal to the cause of the Rebel Alliance, along with how the ragtag freedom fighters came together. With the show having finished airing its first season, the Rebels’ efforts have a new context to their actions and why they are so eager to fight the Empire. In particular, Cassian’s character arc is much more tragic.
Cassian’s Commitment to the Rebellion Is More Understandable
Cassian’s motivation for fighting for the Rebellion is only vaguely alluded to in Rogue One, as he mentions having fought in resistances most of his life. In Andor, it’s shown how deep that motivation runs. He grew up on a remote planet as an orphan, only to be taken by scavengers just before a crashed ship led to his homeworld being wiped out. His adopted life fared little better, as he lost both of his adopted parents before the end of the season and wound up a fugitive to the Empire.
What helps make Cassian’s dedication to the Rebellion more tragic is that the audience gets to see how his life was affected by the Empire. He’s shown to have lost family members and his homeworld to the Empire, while many of his friends end up imprisoned or dead due to his association. Cassian even winds up a fugitive and is temporarily jailed due to the Empire’s increasingly strict policies preventing him from being able to live a normal life. With how desolate his life appears, it makes his final fate more tragic, as it is clear that the Rebellion is the only thing the Empire hasn’t taken from him. Furthermore, it’s easy to see why he’s so willing to commit shady acts for the Rebellion when he has nothing to lose.
The Rebellion Looks Even More Desperate
Not only does Andor flesh out Cassian’s reason to fight the Empire but also why the Rebellion came into existence. The characters of Mon Mothma and Luthen Rael perfectly illustrate the dichotomy in the Rebellion’s existence. Luthen is an antiquities owner with a shady past, running violent sabotage missions against the Empire. Meanwhile, Mon attempts to covertly influence the Empire, only to increasingly find herself unable to create lasting change in the system.
The contrast between the two rebel leaders and their methods becomes apparent when the first season ends. Luthen’s actions cause unrest across the Galaxy and inspire Cassian to join him. Mon gains access to her family fortune but does so by compromising her values and is set for a course to be separated from her family. While only Mon Mothma appears in Rogue One, her status as a fugitive seems to imply her goals were unsuccessful in contrast to Luthen’s long-lasting change. This makes her serious demeanor there rather harrowing, for it suggests Mon lost everything for the Rebellion.
Andor Raises Rogue One’s Stakes Even More
The stakes in Rogue One are even direr when reevaluated in light of Andor. As seen in the show, the Empire ramped up its draconic policies and espionage tactics because of insurgent activity. The audience gets to see Imperial personnel interrogate civilians and spy on Mon Mothma through overtly tyrannical means after a period of calm, making the contrast even more powerful. In addition, a whole arc is spent in a prison where the prisoners are worked to death to make parts for the Death Star, which factors heavily in Rogue One. With a first-hand observation of the Empire’s tyranny, it’s distressingly clear the Rebels were playing dirty because of the pressure placed on the Galaxy at large.
Andor not only gave a backstory to Rogue One, but it also lent more emotional weight to its events. Cassian and Mon Mothma were dedicated leaders in the Rebellion, but it’s clear they were people who had everything taken from them. And with how much the Galaxy suffered under the Empire’s reign, the rebels’ heroism is even more commendable because of the sacrifices they had to make to get the Rebellion started.
To see Cassian’s humble beginnings, Andor Season 1 is available to stream on Disney+.