Will Andor retcon Rogue One spin-off books and comics?

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

The explosive ending of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story made it seem pretty unlikely that we would see any of the film’s main characters in future Star Wars projects, but thankfully, Rogue One received the publishing spin-off treatment—Catalyst by James Luceno, Rebel Rising by Beth Revis, and the Rogue One novelization by Alexander Freed all beautifully expand on what was established on-screen. Now, Disney+ streaming spin-off Andor brings back another Rogue One character for an intimate look at the five years leading up to that fateful mission on Scarif. But with Andor dipping into some of the same timelines and subject matter, is any of the continuity established in the published material at risk?

The story group has been masterfully integrating established continuity, even going to so far as to reference the fact that the Death Star was moved to Scarif to finish its construction—a bit of trivia that you would only know if you’ve read the spin-off novels. And when they do decide to make changes, it’s been handled with extreme care.

For example: in the Rogue One visual guide, it’s stated that Cassian grew up on the planet Fest. As the guides serve the purpose of adding to and clarifying canon, this was widely accepted as his origin until Andor. Rather than carelessly retcon the bit of backstory, Maarva Andor reveals that the planet Fest was a cover story for his true Kenari heritage. Two simple lines of dialogue show that the writers and story group are dedicated to preserving connectivity and continuity when at all possible.

However… there is one piece of canon spin-off media that I believe to be at risk of being abandoned entirely.

How does Cassian meet K-2SO?

We technically already have a canon answer thanks to the one-shot spin-off comic Cassian & K-2SO. 

The single issue story sees Cassian partnering up with two alien spies to locate a decommissioned Imperial cruiser and steal some security protocols for the Alliance. The crew trips an alarm, and an Imperial security droid—our friend K-2SO—attempts to stop them. Cassian hacks the droid, but the team comes under fire when trying to make it back to their ship. The two other spies tell Cassian that the droid contains all the data they need, and they bravely stay behind to create a distraction. Our titular pair steal a ship to make it back to the Alliance, and the story ends.

The story is… somewhat unremarkable. Cassian’s characterization comes across a tad bland, and the side characters are forgettable. One would think that, given the bond that we see between Cassian & K-2 in Rogue One, their first meeting might be more emotionally significant or memorable. In all honesty, if any of the spin-offs should be retconned, this one is a good candidate.

It seems like Tony Gilroy is interested in telling a different story, too. During a press tour, the show-runner responded to questions about K-2SO’s absence from the first season of the show:

"“I would say, ‘Wait and see.’ It’s a story we are eager to tell… When we do it, we’ll do it in a spectacular fashion.”-Tony Gilroy"

To me, this reads like Gilroy has a completely new backstory in the works for Andor season 2. As a fan that values continuity and respect for off-screen mediums, this is a case in which a better story from the creator of the characters himself is a welcome change. But will this be a complete retcon, or will the story of the Cassian & K-2SO comic be incorporated in a similar way to Cassian’s “homeworld” of Fest? It’s a bit more difficult to foresee. In a different interview with SFX Magazine, Gilroy invoked Pablo Hidalgo, Lucasfilm’s official Star Wars Lore Advisor:

"“…for the larger issues we deal with Pablo Hidalgo…It’s not that we’re reversing canon or anything. ”"

…so maybe they’ll have an equally creative workaround regarding K-2’s introduction. Regardless, I have complete trust that Gilroy and the story group will deliver, and the show-runner’s comments have put me at ease about the canon status of other spin-off material. By the way, if you’re loving Andor and are hungry for more galaxy-enriching storytelling, I highly recommend reading Catalyst, Rebel Rising, and the Rogue One novelization!

Visit Dork Side of the Force for more on Andor, books & comics, and everything else Star Wars. May the Force be with you!