Andor has been an excellent revitalization of the Star Wars franchise on Disney+, as the show has wrapped up its first 12-episode season with a level of emotion and drama fitting of its atmosphere, all the while sowing the seeds for what we should see in season 2. The gritty, grounded premise of this latest venture has proven to be tantalizing sci-fi TV, showing the humanity and embers of the Rebellion being nurtured at a grassroots level often not seen in the franchise.
The series has done an excellent job with its three-episode-long story arcs so far, making sure that pieces of what Cassian Andor has experienced throughout the season carried over and contributed to his growth in the finale. The intriguing plotlines involving the intricate political webs Mon Mothma finds herself navigating, as well as the surprisingly dark shadow games Luthen Rael plays, will likely make the upcoming — and final — 12-episode second season a thrilling affair.
Note: Spoilers below for the Andor season 1 finale.
He’s certainly grown along the way, but the first episode established Cassian as a talented, albeit jaded and cynical thief. Cassian had long since given up hope that the galaxy could change for the better and get out from the Empire’s vice grip, instead settling for simple survival.
It’s a far cry from his sheer determination and dedication to the Rebellion in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, but the season 1 finale has done an excellent job of setting up a born-again freedom fighter for season 2. Luthen has more than made clear throughout the show that, though firmly on the side of the heroes, he’s something of Emperor Palpatine’s direct opposite.
He’s not afraid to be cold and calculating to foster the Rebellion, which meant that Cassian could be expendable if need be. But with the ultimatum Cassian gave Luthen to either kill him to simply tie loose ends or to use him, it’s been made clear enough that the final season of Andor will take us far closer to the Rebel spy from the aforementioned Rogue One.
The Aldhani mission and the prison breakout on Narkina 5 have brilliantly illustrated the progression toward his devoutness to the Rebellion, but the tragic death of his mother, Maarva — and her deeply resonating final words to him — have all but assured to have lit the fire within him.
Andor season 1 has delivered some thrilling spy-themed ventures without even having its leading man truly being down for the cause, so this evolution in character could lead to some even more elaborate and nail-biting story arcs in season 2.
Few could have predicted that a character who was essentially a stock inclusion in the original Star Wars trilogy would grow to become such a compelling character over 40 years later, but that’s exactly what Andor achieved. Genevieve O’Reilly reprises her iteration of Mon Mothma from Rogue One and her tense, Game of Thrones-like political storyline finished with drastically increased stakes in episode 12.
As a Senator, Mon Mothma had been secretly and inconspicuously laying the foundation of the Rebellion alongside Luthen, but as the season progressed, things got riskier for her to keep up her political ploys on the surface.
Between needing an enormous amount of money moved around discretely to move the Rebellion into its next phase and making another medieval fantasy-like move by marrying off her daughter, the walls will be closing in further come season 2.
And those were just the elements developing over the last two or three episodes, with the finale showing another ugly side of Mothma’s life that could haunt her politically. Her gambler husband was teased to become a potential problem for her public persona — and, by extension, her Rebel persona — especially with her chauffeur being an Imperial informant in secret.
A dark political chess game is being set up for Mon Mothma’s story in season 2, one that could also rope Luthen out of the shadows he likes to operate in. Star Wars has come a long way from the slogs of bureaucratic jargon of the prequels to the genuinely enthralling political drama of Andor, and the stage has been set for Mothma to become an even more layered character in the final season’s conflict — especially with her increasingly exciting devotion to the budding Rebellion.
Andor is a great Star Wars show, sci-fi show, and TV show in general, in part, for not leaning hard into the fan service that so much of the Marvel Studios and other Star Wars content on Disney+ has been plagued with — and that remains a key asset after the season finale.
Even so, the final episode did include an exciting and foreboding post-credit scene that gives clues as to what the upcoming season’s conflict will include. The last shot of the season shows the Death Star being constructed in the space of the Outer Rim territories.
And while that’s not exactly a secret as to where that ultimately leads since this is effectively another prequel to a prequel, the Death Star’s construction provides enticing implications for what our grassroots Rebel heroes will be facing on the ground.
The Empire will surely now have the Rebellion even more on its collective mind, with the ISB guaranteed to ramp up their efforts in hunting down Cassian Andor and all those associated with him.
That namely includes Dedra Meero and Syril Karn. These two were fascinating villains to explore considering how atypical they were compared to conventionally over-the-top franchise antagonists, and it’s great to see how the show is doubling down on them as authoritarian threats.
In the climactic riot that broke out during Maarva’s funeral in episode 12, audiences see what could be the start of a grim new alliance between these ambitious antagonists, so seeing them pose an even greater threat should give season 2 a natural and gripping new conflict. Just about the only thing that could spoil this plot point is if the creative team veers away from their current archetypes and cheaply redeems them, rather than using them as allegories of what fascistic lust for power can look like.
Season 1 has meticulously and smoothly set up various moving pieces for season 2, with each of them — and perhaps any potential new characters — showing promise in closing out what’s arguably been the greatest live-action Star Wars series since The Mandalorian.
All 12 episodes of Lucasfilm’s Andor season 1 are available to stream now on Disney+. Season 2 is currently filming, with a 2024 premiere likely.
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