Another day, another ancillary Star Wars series on Disney+. September 21 marks the premiere of “Andor,” the latest streaming series in the Star Wars universe to introduce a new cast of characters and storylines that will fit into the wider canon. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is not as popular as someone like Obi-Wan Kenobi, but nor is he making his live-action debut like many in “The Mandalorian.” Like its predecessors, “Andor” is a unique addition to the live-action Star Wars universe, and here’s how it fits in.
“Andor” centers on its title character, the rebel leader introduced in “Rogue One” whose team eventually steals the Death Star floor plans and passes them along to Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher). But the “Andor” team has been clear that this isn’t Cassian as we know him from “Rogue One”; this is his evolution into that version of Cassian, a chronology of the events and people that shape his short but momentous life.
Luna will return in the lead, with Forest Whitaker reprising his role as rebel leader Saw Gerrera. On Cassian’s side (or so it seems) are Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona), and a handful of others (no sign yet of Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO, but there’s plenty of time to turn that around). They’re up against an Imperial security inspector named Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and the trailer’s Dedra Meero (Denise Gough).
One of the most anticipated appearances in the series might be Genevieve O’Reilly as young Mon Mothma, the revolutionary senator first seen in “Return of the Jedi” and dozens of novels, comics, and television episodes since. Cassian may not be the rebel we met on the big screen, but where is Mon Mothma in her journey, and how does she fuel his own rebellious spark?
As with all Star Wars properties, details about “Andor” are scarce and strategic. Creator Tony Gilroy confirmed that this will be a two-season series, with 12 episodes per season (the Season 1 premiere itself is three episodes dropping at once).
Instead of traditional Imperial stormtroopers, early episodes depict the Preox-Morlana, who function more as security guards than government officials. Above that is Meero’s division, the Imperial Security Bureau, sort of an intergalactic FBI.
There’s not much of Andor’s central story in the trailers, but it will be revealed early in Episode 1. Like any Star Wars hero, Cassian is on a quest, and it’s possible that being sidetracked into rebel activity will end up taking over as his life’s purpose.
“Andor” takes place four years before “Rogue One”… but it’s Star Wars, so there’s a lot more context necessary. That’s about five years before “A New Hope” and 15 or so years after “Revenge of the Sith.” It’s also roughly five years after Disney+’s “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which aired in the spring. The events are concurrent with “Star Wars: Rebels,” the animated TV series. “Rebels” features the characters Ahsoka Tano and Sabine Wren, both of whom will appear in the upcoming live-action “Ahsoka,” played by Rosario Dawson and Natasha Liu Bordizzo, respectively.
What matters is this: Darth Vader is at large, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka are in hiding, and the events of the original trilogy haven’t begun yet. “Andor” Season 2 will lead right into “Rogue One,” setting the rebellion in motion.
Early episodes span the planets of Ferrix and Morlana-One, which is guarded by the imperial security division known as Preox-Morlana. Events eventually lead to Coruscant, former home of the Jedi temple and capital city-planet of the galaxy. Flashbacks uncover Cassian’s past on Kenari, which is supposed to be abandoned in the present after an Imperial disaster.
“Andor” premieres September 21 on Disney+.