Warning: This article contains spoilers from episode 7 of Star Wars: Andor.
With the Andor trailers featuring shots of a prison and Cassian in a prison jumpsuit, fans knew that Cassian would be arrested and be forced to endure imprisonment at some point during the show’s first season.
The heist on Aldhani and the role Cassian played in it seemed like the most likely reason for Cassian’s incarceration. However, in a cruel twist of irony, Cassian is not arrested for stealing from the Empire, but is arrested for doing nothing to the Empire at all.
Toward the end of the episode, Cassian travels to a beach resort planet called Niamos. As he walks to a store to pick up a few items, he notices Imperial shoretroopers chasing a few individuals across the beach. Cassian is understandably worried about getting caught and looks around anxiously, but continues on his way to the store.
Before nearly reaching the store, he is stopped by a shoretrooper. The shoretrooper accuses Cassian of looking around suspiciously and having something to do with the individuals running from Imperial forces on the beach. Even though Cassian was clearly just walking, the shoretrooper also accuses Cassian of running and that this is the reason Cassian is sweating (ignoring the obvious fact that people will sweat when walking outside at a beach resort).
Despite Cassian’s reasonable and truthful responses, the shoretrooper refuses to listen, having already decided before Cassian even opened his mouth that he is a guilty man. The shoretrooper commands a KX-series security droid (who is not K-2SO) to detain Cassian.
Cassian is then charged with civil disruption, anti-Imperial speech, fleeing the scene of anti-Imperial activity, attempted damage to Imperial property, and is sentenced to six years in prison.
How Cassian’s arrest will impact future Andor episodes
The charges and the sentence are utterly absurd and will undoubtedly play a vital role in Cassian’s gradual transformation into a rebel spy.
Like Jyn Erso in the earlier parts of Rogue One, Cassian incorrectly believed if he could keep his head down, stay out of trouble, and mind his own business, he could avoid all the death, destruction, and suffering caused by the Empire and the fight against it.
What Cassian has now learned once and for all is that no matter what he does, the Empire will always make people suffer. Neutrality only allows the Empire to grow stronger, with a lack of strong opposition emboldening them to oppress others without repercussions or resistance.
Cassian knows what it’s like to have his home, his family, his friends, and his neighbors subjugated by oppression. He knows what it’s like to have to serve the Empire as he did on Mimban. He knows what it’s like to actively fight against the Empire as he did on Aldhani. Now he knows what it’s like to try and run away from it all, only to be punished for doing nothing wrong.
Cassian has seen every side of this conflict and it is clearer than ever that neutrality is not a viable option. He must stand and fight alongside other rebels.
With episode 7 being a transition episode, Cassian’s arrest has led to the next arc of episodes 8-10, which seems like they will largely focus on Cassian’s time in prison. The arrest may unknowingly have saved Cassian’s life as Luthen Rael sees Cassian as a loose end from the Aldhani heist and wants to tidy it up by having him killed. It will be much more difficult for Luthen or Kleya to kill Cassian when he’s inside an Imperial prison.
It will be intriguing to see how Cassian ultimately gets out of prison and how it leads to him choosing to join the Rebellion. Instead of being forced to rebel as he did on Aldhani, perhaps Cassian will play a more autonomous role this time, and lead the prisoners in an uprising to break out of the Imperial prisoner.