Andor shows the corruption of the Star Wars universe

The following contains spoilers for Andor Season 1, Episodes 1-3, now streaming on Disney+.

George Lucas first designed star wars like a swashbuckling universe, full of adventure and romance reminiscent of the Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon soap operas of the 1930s. But it was also a political fable where the heroes waged a desperate struggle against a totalitarian government dedicated to universal oppression. Most of the saga, even in its most serious form, has worked to achieve both sides of this equation – resulting in spectacular battles between good and evil on the grandest terms possible.

One of from Andor goals is to move away from the scam and embrace the grit. The franchise’s need to evolve beyond the Skywalker clan means telling stories that have nothing to do with lightsabers or the Force. It involves a very different take on the oppression of the Empire, which the new series has taken to heart. AndorPar’s depiction of corruption is systemic and causes countless little sufferings to all those under his thumb.

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It stays in line with Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, in which audiences first met Cassian Andor and learned of his little-known role in the destruction of the Death Star. While Darth Vader’s spectacular attack at the end of the film remains a defining moment in the franchise, most of the villainy in A thug came from a very different place. Movers and Shakers plotted against each other for power and influence, with Grand Moff Tarkin outwitting Orson Krennic to take control of a Death Star that Krennic was responsible for building. Power was the only goal, and the rules could be ignored as long as someone had enough influence.

The first three episodes of Andor reveal just how deep this systemic corruption runs, spanning a surprising number of bureaucratic levels in the process. And while none of them are as consequential as Death Star control, the misery they cause is severe enough to foment the creation of rebels like Cassian. The most obvious example occurs on his home planet of Kaneri, where a mining operation gone wrong leads to a catastrophic accident. He’s taken off-world by a pair of benevolent smugglers in the face of an alleged Imperial cleanse of the planet – not because the native inhabitants are a threat, but because the operation has clearly been botched and the Empire doesn’t want to. no witnesses.

A similar corruption sets Cassian on his way to rebellion. In the series’ opening scenes, he catches the attention of two corporate security guards – not even stormtroopers, just the intergalactic equivalent of hiring a cop – who try to shake him off only to end up dead when things go wrong. . . Their superior wants to sweep everything under the rug because they were in an illegal brothel and were drinking while on duty, which he doesn’t want to explain to his own superiors. It’s another day at work under Palpatine’s glorious reign.

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Meanwhile, AndorSyril Karn’s chief villain operates from a twisted sense of superior duty. He is a low-key fanatic who has blindly adopted the Empire’s rhetoric and views the death of the guards as an affront to Imperial authority. His efforts to deliver “justice” actively escalate matters as his men shoot Timm Karlo as he attempts to intervene in Bix Caleen’s detention, then simply leave the corpse abandoned on the street. The inhabitants are traumatized and angry as their oppressors walk away.

It’s less the destruction of a planet than death by a thousand cuts: tiny little ways in which those in charge bend the rules they have established, then congratulate themselves on their self-perceived intelligence. These moments are as much a part of any authoritarian regime as military parades and strongmen. And because the effects are so personal and immediate, they quickly create a wide array of people ready to fight back. Andor used the notion to good effect in its early episodes, revealing for the first time the banality of the Empire’s evil.

New episodes of Andor air Wednesdays on Disney+.

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