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Andor is the angriest Star Wars has ever been

Traditionally in Star Wars, getting angry doesn’t get you very far. Like a lot of annoying things in the Star Wars mythos, you can blame the Jedi for this: When your most iconic characters and ideas revolve around genius space wizards who adhere to a strict moral code, stepping outside of that code becomes in the only provenance of the bad guys. Where this gets tricky for Jedi is that normal, understandable human emotions become anathema. While the expansions to the canon add a bit of nuance – love, for example, isn’t as forbidden as attached file is, and how it can warp a Jedi’s balance in the Force: more negative emotions like fear and anger are more off-limits.

As the Star Wars stories move beyond the Jedi, its heroes are slowly shedding these restrictions. clone troopers The Clone Wars Y the bad batch dealing with all sorts of emotional and moral dilemmas that make the show’s premise (brainwashed clones finding their humanity and (sometimes) opposing its programming) so compelling. Programs that follow Jedi on the fringes when the Order is about to become extinct, such as Kanan Jarrus or Ahsoka Tano in rebels and beyond, immerse yourself in stories that give heavy mages a more pragmatic reworking, treating them as people first and Jedi second.

However, in part because most Star Wars shows have been geared towards a general audience, many of its darker twists have had their edges filed down. The protagonists have moments of anger, but none of them are angry. people. Even Jyn Erso from rogue one, perhaps the most silently rage-fueled character to star in a Star Wars movie, is ultimately on a quest to redeem his father’s legacy and find a noble cause. Anger, in his story, is a distraction.

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Jyn Erso, a dark-haired woman in a jacket and scarf, emerges from the shadows in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Image: Lucasfilm/Disney

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Cassian Andor is built differently. As flashbacks in the first three episodes of Andor show, his foundational trauma is a moment when the Imperials fell from the sky and murdered his friends. He is adopted by rescuers who find him banging on a console on the deck. When we are introduced to him as an adult, it is clear: he never stops being that child, that he blindly rages with the only thing left to blame.

Crucially, when Luthen Rael decides to recruit him into the nascent Rebel Alliance, Cassian’s anger is why Luthen wants it, and that’s how he motivates it. “You don’t want to hurt these bastards for real?” he asks, knowing it’s by far the most convincing speech he can make to Cassian. This is a stark contrast to rogue onewhere the Rebellion is beginning the campaign that will ultimately topple the Empire and hope is the message that freedom fighters carry with them, taking the movement beyond what embittered old soldiers like Saw Gerrera can do.

But Andor, and the small group of rebels we meet in this week’s episode, “Aldhani,” aren’t there yet. At this early stage, the Rebel Alliance is tenuous, suspicious, and vulnerable: there are conflicting ideologies and ideas about how things should be done, both in the high-level subterfuge of secret Imperial traitors like Luthen and Mon Mothma, and in the boots . -Operations on the ground carried out by a handful of rebels like Vel Sartha. What unites them right now is rage: a rage so ingrained that they’re willing to take squabbles and curveballs in stride like the addition of Cassian Andor, a guy they know nothing about, as long as they can agree to it. that it is time to make the decision. bastards pay

A close-up of Cassian and Vel hiding behind a rock, and looking shocked at something out of frame.

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Image: Lucasfilm

It is this palpable anger that makes Andor feel worthwhile and different. The show isn’t necessarily the first Star Wars story about angry heroes, but the main focus of most Star Wars movies and series is pulp adventure, where good defeats evil. While there is almost certainly some big bombastic action in store, Andor has been established in its early episodes as a main interest in character drama. It’s a quieter show, one that allows you to filter the discontent felt by Cassian and those she encounters.

The anger of the characters that will form the Rebel Alliance, whose roots we do not know at this time, although that may change, forms the bricks on which a coalition is built to overthrow a fascist empire. Eventually, higher goals and more concrete and equitable ideals may emerge, if they can survive and not lose sight of their ultimate goal. But for now, the people who fight in Star Wars are finally insane, and it’s never felt more relevant.

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