Andor: Should Syril Karn be redeemed?

(L-R): Officer #3 (Alex Austin) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Officer #3 (Alex Austin) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Syril Karn has quickly become a fan favorite after Andor’s premiere last week.  Whether fans genuinely love him, praise the actor, or flat out love to hate the bootlicker, he’s quickly made his mark in the Star Wars universe.

One question that always comes up with villains is whether or not they should be redeemed.

Redemption is a big theme in Star Wars. There are, of course, big examples like Darth Vader and Ben Solo. In the shows, we’ve seen many baddies walk away from their dark paths. Agent Kallus from Star Wars Rebels and Reva from Obi-Wan Kenobi both had fantastic arcs. Some characters’ changes are for the benefit of others. In The Mandalorian, IG-11 started as a rival for Din. But after Kuiil reprogrammed him, IG-11 became a vital step in Din’s character arc. The books and comics have a number of characters who have been redeemed or at least took a middle path.

Should Syril Karn join the ranks of these characters?

Honestly, I hope he doesn’t. I don’t want to see Syril get redeemed.

While redemption is an important story, I think there is also a lot of value in characters who are flat-out evil. The ones that double down again and again into their horrible actions have a special kind of pathos for a viewer.

These are the characters that we love to hate. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter along with Joffrey and Ramsay from Game of Thrones are a few examples of this. The audience has to watch these people do such horrific and unspeakable acts. They’re the worst. You want to see them get what’s coming to them. And when that comeuppance finally snares them in its trap, it’s so, so satisfying. A complete release of tensions. A released breath. Maybe a fist pump and cheer to go along with it.

Two big Star Wars examples of characters I love to hate are Grand Moff Tarkin and Director Krennic.

Tarkin is easily one of the best villains ever written, especially when you have the context of Clone Wars, Star Wars Rebels, Rogue One, and the books and comics. In my opinion, in a lot of ways, he’s scarier than Vader and Palpatine. Tarkin mimics our very real-world fascism and how monsters like him come to power. The realism is what makes him terrifying.

It’s why it’s so cathartic that it’s his own hubris that kills him. He has every chance to leave the Death Star. He could have gotten out. But because he thought he was better than the rebels, he dies. It’s such a savory moment.

Krennic is the same. Krennic is nasty and manipulative. His ego is inflated that it is easily bigger than the Death Star. His spats with Tarkin, especially in the Thrawn novels, are some of my favorite moments. He believes he should have special treatment. He prances around like a peacock in his cape (something fun from the Thrawn novels, Krennic makes everyone working under him wear capes). He looks on in awe as an entire city full of people dies and says it’s beautiful. I want to throw him in a dumpster.

It’s satisfying to watch his final moments. He looks up from Scarif to see his very own creation hovering in the atmosphere. In an instant, he is killed by his own weapon which is catharsis at its finest. I love that moment.

I think Syril should follow this pattern too. Sure, redemption’s great, but so is watching a jerk get what’s coming for him. He’s such a little toady to his company that he’s willing to go behind his superior’s back in the name of “justice.” He has inflated self-worth but completely flounders when put into a position of power. Thanks to the amazing writing and fantastic acting by Kyle Soller, respectfully, I want to punch Syril in the face.

I’d love to see two steps to his downfall. The first is when the Empire inevitably shows up. We know from the trailers they’re coming. I’d love to see someone from the Empire put Syril in his place. I want the real people in power to look at this mall cop of a man and essentially say that he’s worthless. This would give Syril a chance to double down on his path of evil. For him to not only hunt Cassian with far more drive but also scorned by the Empire and want to beat them too.

And then the second step is to watch it all blow up in his face. The catharsis of seeing this guy get owned over and over will be so wonderful. I don’t want him to be redeemed.

I want Syril Karn to go out big in a Krennic and Tarkin style and see the look on his face when he realizes he’s the reason it’s all over.

That will be some must-see tv.