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The heist is on in latest 'Andor,' which is 'Star Wars' as serious and action-packed as we've ever seen it
“The Empire doesn’t play by the rules. They don’t care enough to learn. They don’t have to. You mean nothing to them.”
Han Solo was out for himself. He was a mercenary, and he wasn't in it for a revolution. As he says in the very first Star Wars movie, “I’m in it for the money.”
“Your friend is quite a mercenary,” Leia says to Luke. “I wonder if he really cares about anything… or anybody.”
We famously see that he does care, as Solo takes a turn by the movie’s end and comes to the aid of his new friends. This is something that we shouldn’t ever take for granted, because Episode 6 of Andor, the latest Star Wars streaming series on Disney+, shows how rare this is. Even a hero-in-the-making like Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) has to slowly grow into becoming a believer.
***WARNING: From this point forward, there will be spoilers for Andor Episode 6. If you have not watched yet, blast your way out of here.***
Cassian is in this for the money. He took a job, and he wants to get paid. He has no love for the Empire, but he has no real interest in the rebel cause. Nemik (Alex Lawther) tells him about a new chapter in his rebel manifesto, titled “The Role of Mercenaries in The Galactic Struggle for Freedom” and Cassian doesn’t seem very interested.
He is not a believer, at least not yet. The soldiers of the Empire on Aldhani aren’t believers either, they do what they do for titles and job transfers. They look on the celestial event known as “The Eye” with interest, but have nothing but distain for the people of Aldhani. This event is sacred to them.
Nothing is sacred to the Empire, and at this point in his life, nothing is sacred to Cassian. Han Solo found family and friends along the way, but Cassian has not had that luxury. He’s still determined to go it alone, even when the mission has been accomplished (barely) and is (kind of) a success.
Arvel Skeen (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) shows us an even darker kind of mercenary, as he is ready to split the payload with Cassian and leave the rebels with nothing. His revenge story for being there in the first place is a lie, and he sees Cassian as a kindred spirit.
“We were born in the hole and all we know is climbing over someone else to get out,” he says. That’s the way of the mercenary, but it’s also the way of most of the Imperial officers we’ve met so far. Skeen is a rebel, but like Solo, it’s just him “against everyone else.” He has no people.
Cassian may be a mercenary, but he’s not that selfish. He blasts Skeen, but orders Vel (Faye Marsay) to give him his cut so he can get the kriff out of there. He’s done the job, and he wants his payment. He has no interest in sticking around.
Something that may start to change his mind, however, is the manifesto that Nemik asked Vel to give to Cassian. Nemik is dead and Cassian doesn’t want it; still, Vel insists. He leaves with his money, but he also leaves with the words of faith and belief in the cause that Nemik wrote. He’s not ready to turn his ship around and join an attack on a Death Star, he hasn’t made magical bonds with anyone in the rebellion yet that will compel him to do so.
What he does have is the personal writing of a true believer, and if he takes the time to read the words and pay attention, then Cassian may not be going solo for much longer. He’ll be on the path to going Han Solo instead.
Before being blasted, Skeen says, “Yeah, luck. Drives the whole damn galaxy, doesn’t it?” We couldn’t help but think of Solo saying something similar in that first movie. “In my experience, there’s no such thing as luck,” Ben Kenobi replied.
What is really bringing the mercenaries to the Rebellion? Is it money, is it selfishness, or are the rebels just getting lucky every now and then? The faithful among us might echo Kenobi and say that luck has no role in what is going on. The Force it at work.
The true role of mercenaries in the Galactic Struggle for Freedom is playing out before out eyes, and the force will guide them whether they know it or not. Even Han Solo believed in it before the end.
Galactic Points of Interest
-The slow burn of the mission, the inevitable blowout at the end, and the flight through the cosmic wonder of “the eye” was absolutely fantastic. That’s the observation. It was wonderful. We loved it. Had to be said.
-In the aftermath of the mission, we see ISB member Partagaz (Anton Lesser) start taking things seriously. We also see the Senate for the first time on the series, as Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) argues a cause with nobody paying attention.
-Mon Mothma is specifically talking about Ghormans, a people she mentions in the Star Wars Rebels episode “Secret Cargo.”
-This was a serious episode all around, but the character of “Doctor Quadpaw” gave us a nice touch of Star Wars weirdness.
-RIP to Taramyn and Nemik. We don’t think that Lt. Gorn got out alive either. Skeen and Jayhold (Imperial Flunky of the week) are more similar than either of them would care to admit, so both of them can screw off to hell.
-In Luthen’s gallery, a customer is being sold something that comes in “Devaron blue.” Devaron is a planet that is seen on Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but also features in many books and comics. It gets a reference in everything from The High Republic to the game Jedi: Fallen Order, and is visited in the book Aftermath: Empire’s End as well as many other books.
-Luthen himself (Stellan Skarsgård) is happy and relieved that the mission was a success. He gives an exhale before the episode cuts to black. Cassian may think that he’s made it out with his money, and severed all ties to these people. He gives the necklace of Blue Kyber that Luthen left him with to Vel, and tells her to give it back to him. He thinks he’s out? There’s no way that Luthen doesn’t pull him right back in.
-Our favorite line of the episode goes to Vel, commanding everyone in a startling tone and makes it very clear she will do whatever she has to for this mission to succeed: “One path. One choice. We win, or everyone dies.”
Andor streams new episodes on Disney+ every Wednesday. Do I look thankful to you?