Andor is shaping up to be a highly political show, with Diego Luna saying that Andor is the journey of a migrant, Tony Gilroy explaining the colonialist nature of the Empire and Fiona Shaw explaining Andor will be a “scurrilous [take] on the Trumpian world”. Naturally, that caused several right wing news outlets, such as this one and this one, calling the series “woke propaganda” and “a Trump bash fest”. However, Star Wars has always been political, and always left wing, and Andor’s politics merely follow in the footsteps of George Lucas’ take on the world.
When talking about what inspired him to make Star Wars, George Lucas has said a number of political and historical issues inspired him, from Nazi Germany to Ancient Rome. The most relevant inspirations however are a lot more timely and hit a lot closer to home. In a 2005 interview with the Chicago Tribune, George Lucas explains “It [Star Wars] was really about the Vietnam War, and that was the period where Nixon was trying to run for a [second] time, which got me thinking historically about how do democracies get turned into dictatorships”.
In an interview with James Cameron’s The Story of Science Fiction, Lucas explained this link further, saying that during the Vietnam War, America became “the Empire.” He then finishes by saying that “the irony is that, in both of those [the Vietnam War and the American Revolution], the little guys won. The highly technical empire – the English Empire, the American Empire – lost. That was the whole point.”
Lucas also compared several politicians from the democratic America to the autocratic Empire. In a 1981 conference, when asked about the origins of Palpatine, Lucas responded “…he [Palpatine] was a politician. Richard M. Nixon was his name. He subverted the Senate and finally took over and became an Imperial guy, and he was really evil. But he pretended to be a really nice guy.”
Lucas seems to be referencing the landmark political paper called “The Imperial Presidency” written in 1973 by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr, tracing the growth of Presidential power and the decline in Congressional power, especially in foregin policy, resulting in a lack of accountability within the Presidency. Richard Nixon served as a great example of this, due to the Watergate Scandal and bombing Laos and Cambodia without Congressional approval.
However, it isn’t just Nixon that got compared to prominent Imperial figures. In 2009, Lucas told the New York Times that “George Bush is Darth Vader. [Vice President Dick] Cheney is the Emperor.” Unfortunately, in the years since, Lucas hasn’t explained why he thinks this is.
However, what this should demonstrate is that on several occasions George Lucas has criticised what he sees as overreach by both countries and politicians, and uses Star Wars as his preferred medium. In that sense, Star Wars has always been left wing.
Andor is merely a continuation of this same criticism. This is a criticism of overreach, whether on a country-wide scale, or an individual level. It’s applying the thoughts of George Lucas to the modern era. It isn’t Star Wars “going woke”, nor the franchise prioritising politics over a good story. Star Wars is following the same themes as it always has, but the recent uptick in partisanship has caused people to forget that.
The political inspirations of Star Wars are part of what makes the universe great, and it’s something that has been lost under Disney. Andor will make the political messaging of Star Wars great again when it debuts the first three episodes of the show on September 21st.