The following contains spoilers for Andor Season 1, Episode 5, “The Ax Forgets,” now streaming on Disney+.
There are many exciting times in star wars, but the best content usually involves a lot of lightsaber combat. Thus, fans tend to gravitate towards the Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic video games and the prequels due to their endless action sequences. Especially, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith was declared “the most star wars the franchise will ever be.” The thing is, while those times can be the most exciting, it’s the original trilogy that has the most bearing on the star wars franchise.
At its most basic, the original trilogy set the tone for everything from the galaxy far, far away. In the story, the original trilogy was also the most important period as it was the make-it-or-break-it era for the entire galaxy. Palpatine had already taken over, and without the Rebel Alliance, it’s possible the Emperor would have discovered the secret to immortality and ruled forever. Yet many fans don’t realize the rebellion nearly collapsed, and Andor put this at the forefront of its history.
Star Wars’ First Rebellion Was Based On Lies
To his credit, Andor deliberately moved at a slow pace so it could set the stage for its complicated story and well-developed characters. Next week, Episode 6 appears to finally show the Rebels taking on the Imperial machine. Episode 5, “The Ax Forgets” was like the calm before the storm. He set up the mission of the Cassian team, and he also defined the stakes of this mission. If they succeeded, they would have a lot of funds for the Alliance, and they would also inspire more people to take up arms against their oppressors.
Frankly, however, the start of the rebellion wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Besides the enormous risk of failure, much of the foundation for the rebellion was laid by lies and deceit. Part of that was keeping people safe because they didn’t know where everyone would be if captured. At the same time, it also bred discontent and distrust. So even though the rebels were fighting a common enemy, they still had their fair share of internal conflict. “The Ax Forgets” highlighted this fact.
Andor Reveals Rebellion’s Weakest Link
At the start of the episode, Cassian asked a new character, Vel Sartha, why their guy inside was betraying the Empire. Her response was a fairly generic story about a failed promotion and a lost lover. What she said next, however, was important. Vel told Cassian, “We all have our own rebellion.” That’s an accurate statement, and – in a way – that’s what made the rebellion so strong. Everyone who joined had a reason – big or small – to hate the Empire, and they were willing to risk everything for revenge.
The idea, however, that everyone has their own rebellion is also extremely problematic. Different “rebellions” mean that each will have different motivations, intentions, methods, and end goals. For starters: Cassian’s team members didn’t like him working for money. Although it didn’t sit well with them, there was nothing to say he couldn’t be paid – that was just his motivation. Either way, it nearly destroyed their long-planned operation. Something similar will eventually happen with Saw Gerrera, when he and Mon Mothma disagree on tactics. The thing is, it’s hard to coordinate people when they have different motivations. As such, it’s amazing that the Rebel Alliance ended up working as it was indeed made up of a group of individual Rebellions.
New episodes of Andor premiere Wednesdays on Disney+