Andor built his home to break down the hero


It sneaks up on your, how well do you know Ferrix by now? Andor’s first season. At first it’s deceptively like Tatooine: a miserable place that’s meant to be left behind by its protagonist, swept away by more exciting things that we’ve come to expect from Star Wars. Cassian Andor does indeed leave for Star Wars adventures. Andor Ferrix is never completely gone. It is attracted to the details, such as the wall where workers hang their hands at the end of a shift or the bell tower where a rugged man beats the anvil with ceremonial grace. There are social movements such as the Daughters of Ferrix which is a small but active smuggling group, and corporate cops with whom the working class has devised elaborate ways to screw with.

This is all never explained in detail to the viewer. They’re just visiting, and Andor It’s okay to overlook Ferrix initially. But maybe not at the end. By the end the viewer might feel like they’re part of something.

Andor’s season 1 finale does something remarkable with its climax. It gets smaller, bringing most of its disparate players — ISB officer Dedra Meero, the remaining rebels in the burgeoning movement, saboteur Luthen Rael, and wannabe Imperial Syril Karn — back to Ferrix. It’s Maarva Andor’s funeral, and the many people hunting for Cassian Andor correctly anticipate that he won’t be able to resist paying respects to his adoptive mother.

In Andor’s last few visits to Ferrix, the Empire has effectively taken over the place. Imperials have slowly increased in number on the town’s crowded streets, watching everything, making an already meager existence almost impossible. They torture anyone who might be aware of any rebellious activity, such as Bix, until they are unable to stand. They’re a blight on an already bleak horizon, and that’s before they get even more troops in to hunt Cassian down.

Image by Lucasfilm

Much of the final episode is centered around Maarva’s funeral. It’s an elaborate, beautiful, and somber thing, steeped in ceremony that both honors the working-class roots of Ferrix and imbues it with grace. There’s a processional and a marching band and a stone to honor her, all of it juxtaposed against the increased Imperial presence, like two lines of fuel spilling through the streets. Then, when a posthumous message from Maarva speaks of resistance, of the boot that’s been on Ferrix’s neck for too long, a spark sets the town ablaze.

AndorAs The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer wrote, has always been concerned about Why? Star Wars characters choose the side they want to be on.

“The show is populated by ordinary people who become revolutionaries or Imperial cronies, not just magic monks, space-cowboy smugglers, or ruthless bounty hunters,” Serwer writes. “Similarly, the show’s factions, whether part of the Rebels or the Empire, are not monolithic but troubled by their own divisions and rivalries. The show is interested, in other words. What kind of person are you? joins the Rebels or goes Imperial, and why.”

Ferrix is the place where this philosophy reigns supreme. In Andor’s first season, nearly every character has to decide where they stand, and that inflection point is different for every character. Some, like the young, radical manifesto writer Nemik, are morally opposed to the Empire seemingly from the start, and stand in opposition simply because it’s the moral thing to do. Others, like Mon Mothma, think they can safely resist from inside the system while still holding on to their scruples — something she is disabused of when, in the season’s final episodes, she is forced to deal with a white-collar criminal if she wants to do her part. She is surprised by her own reaction and accepts the offer, even though it means that she will marry her daughter to a criminal heir.

Mon Mothma sits in her large, recessed couch perfectly in the center of a the frame as two others stand at either end, addressing her.

Image by Lucasfilm

Cassian Andor is the best example of convincing. From the start, showrunner Tony Gilroy and the writers he’s collaborated with have made it clear that Cassian is no fool. He’s a man who knows what the Empire is doing and will never play along, but as he regularly insists to rebels like Vel Sartha, there’s no use in fighting the system, just getting what’s his. He was determined to run away and disappear, even though he was sent to prison.

Cassian is running away from the person he knows he becomes. Rogue OneHe isn’t the island he wants to be, despite his strong sense of self-preservation. He has people, and those people are on Ferrix — even if, like with Maarva, all he can do is say goodbye.

Cassian Andor returns home to Ferrix, the same place that gave his name, where he became someone else, someone angrier. And it’s on Ferrix where he finally sees the limits of his lonely form of anger, as B2EMO broadcasts a posthumous message from Maarva that inspires her mourners to action, to rise up against the Imperials that have been slowly suffocating them for no good reason. The revolt that ensues sees Ferrix take part in its entirety: the man at the belltower and all the laborers and traders, as well as the Daughters of Ferrix. They gain something in rebellion, just like Andor loses all.

Andor writes its thesis on the streets of this forgotten little town — rebellions must be personal, but that is only the first step. They must also be collective, crossing various socioeconomic and ideological boundaries, united by one simple idea. Enough. Once this connection is made, a rebellion can turn into a revolution. It’s on the streets of Ferrix that the rebels become Rebels. It’s the place where Cassian Andor is broken, and ready to be rebuilt into someone that can help shape this communal anger, after finally reaching the limits of his own.



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