Disney+’s Andor had a lot riding on it: It was the newest show in the Star Wars canon coming to the streaming platform, filling the void while The Mandalorian continues its hiatus. But Disney made a great decision from the start: It brought back Tony Gilroy, one of the writers (and supposed “ghost director”) of the spinoff film Rogue One, to work on the series. It almost guaranteed the show’s success—especially since Andor is a Rogue One prequel show. And after its 12-episode first season, it’s clear that guarantee came true.
Andor gave fans not only a look into Cassian Andor’s past five years before the events of Rogue One, but also a much-needed (and appreciated) insight into the Rebel Alliance in the years leading up to their war against the Galactic Empire. Cassian (Diego Luna) was first introduced as a scrappy guy, who stole and worked against the Empire but for personal gain. He hated them as much as the next person on the planet Ferrix; however, he saw himself as just one person with a knack for getting away with things, not someone who’d win a war against the most powerful government around.
But over the course of the first season (of a planned two), the inner workings of the ISB and the Empire were revealed, along with the way the citizens under their rule were terrorized by their governance. These events, and the atmosphere of life at this time, were enough to convince Andor to join the rebellion, using his skills to become “an unstoppable force for good,” as his mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw) knew he could become.
While there is one more season guaranteed to span the four years left before the 2016 film’s story starts, Season 1 covered a lot. But there might be some loose ends that viewers need a bit more context on following the excellent season finale. In that case, we’ve got you covered.
What’s up with the ISB? Is that a new organization of bad guys?
It’s easy to see new characters and aspects within the Star Wars galaxy and assume they were only just added into canon, even if fans have already seen media set during that point in time. But in the case of the ISB, or Imperial Security Bureau, it actually has a long history in the canon.
While stormtroopers are the best-known authority figures of the Galactic Empire, it doesn’t mean they’re the only ones. While stormtroopers carried out a lot of security and fighting on behalf of the Empire, the ISB was in charge of internal security and keeping regular citizens in line, as well as scoping out any and all threats to the Empire. Think of the ISB as anywhere from police to the CIA and FBI, and stormtroopers as more so the military of the Empire.
But the ISB members’ uniforms should be familiar to fans at least, because ISB has held a place at the imperial strategy table this whole time. In Andor, Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser) constantly spoke of the bureau’s communications and close workings with Emperor Palpatine (aka Darth Sidious). And in A New Hope, members of the ISB can be seen meeting with Grand Moff Tarkin. Fans of Star Wars: Rebels also know Agent Alexsandr Kallus, who was an ISB agent and then defected to the rebel cause.
As for what we’ll see of the ISB in Season 2, there’s quite a lot they can cover. Lieutenant Dedra Meero (Denish Gough) has fallen from grace by the finale’s end. Her keen eye for strategy and staying on Major Partagz’s good side have worked for her so far, but with the riot on Ferrix and her command diminished, she might face a tough time moving forward within the ISB. Plus, Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) has her right where he needs to, in order to gain optimal coercion for his reinstatement and back on Cassian’s trail. And that’s not to mention that ISB Supervisor Lonni Jung (Robert Emms), who served as a rebel spy for Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård), is still in hiding. Luthen’s inside look into the Empire’s strategy is still in place for his side of the rebellion.
Where does Mon Mothma go from here?
Since Genevieve O’Reilly took over the role in 2005’s Episode III — Revenge of the Sith, Mon Mothma has gone on to be a key figure in the series. Her role in the Senate prior to the fall of the Republic and her role in the foundation of the Rebel Alliance both play key parts in Andor. More than any movie before, the series showed just how much she was willing to risk for the cause and going into Season 2, she has even more on the line.
While Mon Mothma’s home life was never discussed in previous shows and movies featuring the character, it’s a major part of her storyline in Andor. The senator is from the planet Chandrila, whose people have old customs such as arranged marriages. That’s how Mon Mothma got married to Perrin Fertha and why there is not much love between the pair. She cannot trust her husband; in fact, she threw him and his past gambling antics under the bus to explain away why so much money is missing from her bank accounts. In actuality, the money is gone because she’s using it as funding for the Rebel Alliance. The gambling excuse seems to have gotten the ISB off her back for now, but it’s likely to come up again later.
Another interesting aspect of Mon Mothma’s home life is her uptight and ungrateful daughter, Leida Mothma (Bronte Carmichael). Leida, like any other teenage girl, doesn’t see eye-to-eye with her mother and feels neglected by her mother’s work. On top of that, Mon Mothma despises their homeworld’s archaic rituals, but Leida still clings to them. Despite Mon Mothma’s dislike for these old customs, Leida’s desire to adhere to them is helpful for the senator. She needs help from the financier Davo Sculdun (Richard Dillane) to continue funding the cause, and Davo agrees to work together—only if Mon Mothma will agree to let her daughter marry Davo’s son. This is where Leida’s storyline ends for now, so we’ll have to see how it plays out next season.
The Death Star is being built … again
The Season 1 finale of Andor has a short post-credits scene, which launches us into the Season 2 hype. After the credits roll, robots are seen putting together panels in space. Many fans probably realized what they were working on right away, but if they didn’t, the show made sure to reveal the big surprise. The camera pulls back to reveal a somewhat disassembled Death Star. It’s near the end stages of being built (since it becomes fully functional in four years or so), and the part being built in this scene is the focus beam area of the space station, where the laser to destroy worlds comes out of. It also seems to include parts made by the prisoners on Narkina 5, including Cassian.
This is a reminder that the Battle of Yavin, a.k.a. the fight that destroyed the Death Star, is the end goal of Cassian’s journey. He was forced to help build the Death Star, but through his work with the Rebel Alliance, he, Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones), and the rest of his Rogue One crew are able to find and distribute the blueprints that direct the rebels on how to destroy the detrimental station.
When it comes to Cassian’s immediate fate, it’s a little more unclear. Cassian got Bix (Adria Arjona), B2EMO, a.k.a. the best droid there is (Dave Chapman), Brasso (Joplin Sibtain), Wilmon (Muhannad Bhaier), and Jezzi (Pamela Nomvete) off Ferrix. Now that those loose threads are tied up (for now), he’s free to work for whomever or whatever cause he wants. With his rebellion-sympathizing mother Maarva’s death, Cassian has an even bigger fire under him to fight the
Empire. Season 2 is of course going to look at the coming four years leading up to Rogue One. With Cassian turning himself over to Luthen, he’s seemingly all in on being a part of the greater cause. Luthen very obviously works outside the confines of the rebels as a whole, but Cassian’s work with the ruthless radical will bring him to become a captain and spy for the Rebel Alliance.