Now that the dust has settled on The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi, Star Wars is looking ahead at the second half of the year with its most ambitious Disney+ series yet. The upcoming spy thriller Andor is a 24-episode prequel series meant to set up the events of Rogue One while also showing us who Diego Luna’s Cassian was before the events of the fan-favorite film. It’s not an easy task, especially considering how Star Wars‘ penchant for over-explaining its lore has been received by the fans over the years. Fortunately, the first teaser also promised a show akin to the gritty A New Hope prequel, with lots of espionage, guerrilla warfare, and political intrigue.
This Cassian Andor origin story is actually split into two parts, with the first 12-episode season telling the story of why the freedom fighter joined the Rebel Alliance in the first place. As showrunner Tony Gilroy has revealed in the last few weeks, the Cassian we’ll meet at the start of Andor is a far cry from the man who will sacrifice himself on Scarif just five years down the line. The show’s Cassian doesn’t care about the rebel cause or freeing the galaxy — he’s out for himself. Gilroy described this version of the character to Vanity Fair as a “thief. He’s a ducker and a diver.”
But at some point in the first season, Cassian will have a change of heart, and sign up for the Rebellion’s fight against the Empire. And it could be a new Star Wars character played by Stellan Skarsgård who finally convinces him to join the Rebel Alliance.
“Our show starts with a very simple, almost film noir situation for a thief. A skeevy kind of guy gets in big trouble, tries to sell something he has to save his ass,” Gilroy told Vanity Fair, teasing that the characters portrayed by Skarsgård and Adria Arjona play a big part in this storyline. “A Rebel talent scout has been watching him with interest, and he’s sort of recruited on the worst day of his life.”
While we don’t know much about Skarsgård’s character beyond that, Empire has confirmed his name. Meet the mysterious Luthen Rael, whom we first met in the aforementioned teaser. In the short trailer, we see him surveying a mining town that seems to be at the center of the first season…
“Soon enough, these days will end. There will be no rules going forward,” Skarsgård says in the teaser. Those definitely sound like the words of a pissed off Rebel talent scout to me.
Gilroy also addressed how Andor is approaching its Rogue One prequel baggage. After all, no matter where the series goes, we already know how Cassian’s story has to end. The showrunner, who also oversaw extensive reshoots for Rogue One, suggests this is actually a boon for the show.
“Rogue One is more about an event than the actual journey of [the] characters,” he told Empire. “It’s quite amazing to start a show where it’s not about where we can end – it’s about, how did we end there?”
It’s true: since Andor takes place five years before Rogue One and A New Hope, an era in the Star Wars canon timeline that’s still somewhat hazy, the show has a pretty open road to do whatever it wants with Cassian’s story as long as it all eventually leads to his fateful meeting with Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones). Gilroy has already confirmed that Andor season 1 will cover only one year in the character’s life, while the second season will chronicle the events of the next four up to just before Rogue One. Hopefully that means we’ll also finally get to reunite with Cassian’s sarcastic droid companion K-2SO in season 2!
The first two episodes of Star Wars: Andor premiere on Disney+ on Wednesday, Aug. 31.