Andor’s fifth episode “The Axe Forgets” had one moment that made my jaw drop. Skeen talks with Cassian one morning as they prepare for their upcoming mission to break into the nearby Imperial garrison. The conversation shifts to the team members. As Skeen points out Cinta, he says, “She’s already sharing a blanket if that’s what you’re wondering.” The camera then pans to the hut that Cinta is sharing with Vel. It was at that moment that my heart leaped for joy at the implications.
This heavily implies that Vel and Cinta are “sharing a blanket” meaning they are in a relationship together. If it turns out to be true, this is a major step in queer representation in Star Wars.
Queer rep in Star Wars is oftentimes a frustrating thing for me. So many of the queer characters of the franchise are hidden away in the books and comics, hitting only the smallest part of the fandom. When Star Wars Resistance historically dropped the first on-screen queer couple with Orka and Flix, the official Star Wars Twitter account hasn’t acknowledged them a single time for over two years during Pride month. There is a very real, ongoing stigma against animation that allows for characters like Orka and Flix to get overlooked. The queer kiss in The Rise of Skywalker was so quick that it wasn’t even edited out of the China cut of the movie. When it comes to Star Wars, animation, books, and comics have carried the weight while live-action has been relatively silent for the most part.
It’s why the revelation of Cinta and Vel’s possible relationship is so important. Granted, it’s not confirmed. Honestly, I would be surprised if it was. Unless a series is actually making queer content, most shows like Andor tend to rely on what’s called “queer coding” to tell this kind of story. It’s rarely actually confirmed on screen.
Queer coding, as described by Book Riot, is “when characters may not be explicitly stated to be queer, but there is enough subtext available for an audience to read them as queer… Queer coding is not inherently negative or positive.” Boy, does Andor absolutely provide plenty of subtext for Vel and Cinta.
The biggest indication is of course the conversation between Cassian and Skeen. The dialogue of “sharing a blanket” is in reference to the women having a relationship. The show purposely shows the audience Cinta leaving the space she shares with Vel. In episodes 4 and 5, Cassian’s scenes with Cinta almost always end with Vel interrupting them. Also telling, after Vel explains that Cassian is being paid, Cinta looks at the other woman clearly disappointed that this information wasn’t shared with her. Honestly, that last one reminded me so much of Steven Universe.
In Steven Universe, one of the most groundbreaking animated series for queer rep, there’s a similar situation when Pearl is upset finding out that Rose hid secrets from her. Pearl was Rose’s confidant for thousands of years. Pearl was also head over heels in love with Rose, part of the reason why the reveal hurt her so much. Andor very much plays up these same beats for their show as well.
Fans on Twitter also were quick to point out these moments too and shared their excitement.
Now, if they are a romantic couple, I’m even more scared of the big heist next week. I really don’t want to come out of Andor episode 6 writing a very salty article about the harms of the “bury your gays” trope. Someone on Vel’s team is more than likely going to die. We know it’s not going to be Cassian. I can only hope it’s not one of the two possible queer characters.
Still, if it turns out to be true, Vel and Cinta are a huge step in queer representation. Give them a huge on-screen kiss so we can move out of the realms of queer coding and have actual confirmation.
Orka and Flix walked in Star Wars Resistance so these two kick-butt ladies could run in Andor.
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