Andor just retconned Cassian's Star Wars backstory
The heroic rebel played by Diego Luna has a shady past...
We’re back doing the Kessel Run in the galaxy far, far away, and this time, there’s a blast from the past with Tony Gilroy’s Andor.
Diego Luna is reprising his role as the sneaky spy from 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and while we’re promised the two-season order will lead directly into the events of Rogue One, it’s Cassian’s story that is front and centre here.
The first three episodes of Andor dropped in a Disney Plus megadump on September 21, meaning there was a lot for viewers to unpack.
As well as introducing newcomers like Adria Arjona’s Bix, Stellan Skarsgård’s Luthen Rael, and Kyle Soller’s shadowy Syril, we also got to learn about Cassian himself.
Although Rogue One’s ensemble cast meant we weren’t given much of a backstory for Cassian, Andor is already retconning what little we knew.
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When Luna made his Star Wars debut in Rogue One, we were simply introduced to a Rebel spy who was a Han Solo-inspired hotshot pilot and who apparently joined the cause at the age of six. Remembering that Cassian has gone under aliases including Willix, Aach, Joreth Sward, and the codename Fulcrum, it should be no surprise that his history could be suffering from an unreliable narrator. Thanks to Andor and the introduction of Cassian’s sister, we now know his birth name is actually Kassa.
Looking at what we knew before Andor, it was 2016’s Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide that claimed Cassian was born on the planet of Fest in the year 26 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin). Other snippets of expanded canon gave him a vague backstory that explained he lost his father at a young age during a protest, while his mother also passed away before the events of Rogue One. While Andor’s first three episodes definitely suggest Cassian is an orphan, it turns out the events surrounding the demise of his parents have been entirely fabricated.
Andor jumps between the past and the present, with Fiona Shaw’s Maarva stepping up as Cassian’s adoptive mother.
In the past, we saw Cassian exploring a downed Imperial vessel on the planet of Kenari, which is his actual homeworld. There appear to be no adults here, and remembering that Kenari has been written off as an “Imperial mining disaster”, it’s possible they were wiped out in some sort of accident. Then again, remembering that the Empire called the destruction of Rogue One’s Jedha a “mining accident”, we suspect foul play.
We don’t get to learn too much about Kenari before Maarva and her husband Clem Andor (Gary Beadle) whisk Cassian away from impending doom in episode three. An Imperial frigate is on the way to investigate the crash, and while we don’t know what brought Maarva and Clem to Kenari, they’re apparently just a pair of scavengers. The latter is wary about pulling Kassa away from his life, but with help from the adorable B2EMO, the sedated child is taken from Kenari.
Cassian’s real origin has been kept a secret for over two decades, with present-day Maarva scolding her adoptive son that they’ve always told people he comes from Fest. Still, neither seems to be very good at keeping secrets, with a whole host of friends and family knowing Cassian is a Kenari-born kid.
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Andor's first three episodes end with Cassian and Rael escaping the clutches of the Preox-Morlana “corpers,” finally making his way off Ferrix and leaving an emotional Maarva behind.
Although Shaw has played coy on whether we’ll see Maarva again in Andor season one, she could have the answers that Cassian is searching for.
Kenari has a seemingly grim future, and although the Empire doesn’t have a problem with gunning down innocent kids, at least it’s hinted that Kassa’s sister manages to get off the planet. Andor opened with our lead frequenting a seedy brothel on Ferrix while looking for his sister. We assume this is the little girl who called him Kassa back on Kenari, although we don’t know how she escaped the clutches of the Empire, or how Cassian knows she’ll still alive.
Star Wars has plenty of big family twists, and for all we know, Cassian’s sister could already be someone important to the franchise’s ever-expanding lore.
Cassian's revamped origin comes at a time that Star Wars remains divisive for its erasure and reestablishing of previous canon like Cobb Vanth, Black Krrsantan, and Boba Fett surviving his Return of the Jedi death.
Then again, Cassian’s shady past makes it a little easier for the writers to play fast and loose with his story. Even StarWars.com needs to update its databanks, as it currently claims Cassian comes from Fest.
Either way, Andor’s first three episodes have wasted no time in branching out to give the character a revised backstory. With more LOST-inspired flashbacks expected across Andor’s first run of 12 episodes, get ready to learn more about Cassian, Kassa, or whatever you want to call him.
Andor is available to stream on Disney Plus from Wednesday 21st September 2022. New episodes weekly. You can sign up to Disney Plus now for £79.90 for a year or £7.99 a month. Check out more of our Sci-Fi coverage or visit our TV Guide to see what's on tonight.
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