Star Wars is a highly political franchise, with political commentary present since the franchise’s origins, and this is something that has continued with current projects. The next Star Wars show, Andor, looks like it will follow in this political legacy, but to a higher degree than previous Star Wars projects, being the most political project since the prequel trilogy. This is due not only to the narratives the show will present but how they connect back to the real world.
The main narrative of Andor will follow the formation of the Rebel Alliance in its early years, showing audiences the darker side to the movement. In this way, the Rebellion will be presented as an insurgency. Insurgencies are seen as morally grey and often veer into terrorism, as they are using violence to challenge the legitimate government. But it’s the distinction between the two that makes this political, as different observers will make different distinctions. The members of the movement will see themselves as freedom fighters, the government will see them as terrorists and civilians caught in-between will have to decide for themselves. This is emblematic of real world insurgencies and how governments respond to them.
The battle on the ground will be matched by a similar battle in the galaxy’s highest political body, the Senate. This is the second way that politics will have a big part in the show. Mon Mothma will be a huge part of the show, and she will be the audience’s eye into the corrupt institution. The Senate made an extensive appearance in the prequel trilogy, discussing galactic affairs. It’s likely the Senate will play a similar role, with one crucial difference. The Senate now operates under an autocratic leader, and dissent will either be side-lined, or punished. In this way, the body is reduced to a puppet, only praising the Empire. Again, this is emblematic of how legislative bodies operate in our world under autocracies.
Other, less overt political themes will be present. Tony Gilroy has explained that the Empire will be taking apart a planet “in a colonial kind of way”. This theme of colonialism has come up again and again in Star Wars, with it criticising the empires of Western powers. In Andor, the Empire is at the height of its power, meaning that this will be on full display.
Another way that issues from our world will be making it to Andor is through the character of Cassian himself. Diego Luna has revealed that Andor is “the journey of a migrant”. Luna himself is an avid supporter of the UN Refugee Agency, meaning that the issue is close to his heart. The issue of migration is highly sensitive, with many countries restricting the flow of migrants through their borders.
The way Andor is incorporating several political issues into the show is also intentional. Actor Fiona Shaw has discussed that Andor will be “socially realist”. This philosophy is where art deliberately seeks to mirror aspects of real life as a way of social or political commentary. This perfectly fits with how George Lucas saw filmmaking, with both the original and prequel trilogy being influenced by contemporary and historical politics.
While other aspects of Star Wars have included political commentaries within their narratives, they’ve not been as present as the original six films. When it comes to Andor however, every part of the show seeks to explore an aspect that is tied to either our own politics or a political concept. Insurgencies, corrupt political institutions, colonisation and migration are all issues faced here on Earth. Andor doesn’t just want to tell a good Star Wars story, but it wants to comment on them in a way that previous Star Wars projects don’t.