Andor is a Star Wars story where the Emperor doesn’t matter

Spontaneous baby movements are important for the development of a coordinated sensorimotor system
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There aren’t many Stormtroopers in Andor. They’re not absent – sometimes they patrol the streets of Ferrix, popping up just often enough to suggest they might still appear – but they’re never on point. It’s a strange thing about a story so heavily centered on the Empire, whose iconography is part of the very fabric of Star Wars. Can you think of a Star Wars story without a helmeted soldier?

Andor exists in opposition to it. Its main representation of the Empire is not that of soldiers in nondescript armor, nor their weapons of war – images that meant something before they became aspects of the brand’s identity – but by giving a face to the Empire. This face is definitely not The emperor. Sheev Palpatine, ironically, couldn’t mean less to the Empire he founded. His power to rule the galaxy doesn’t come from being a Sith mastermind. It comes from office workers and corporate efforts, in boardrooms and economic incentives, with every impulse humans have to turn against each other instead of building community and solidarity.

This is what makes the Imperial Security Council one of the most compelling elements of Andor. Through bureaucratic meetings, people compete for power and position under the command of Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser), a well-mannered and incisive officiant who knows how to run a meeting: as quickly as possible. Under his leadership, different strategies emerge to deal with the budding rebellion, and good little BSI workers try to improve their position by making it happy by any means necessary.

Two BSI officers in drab naval suits watch something off-screen in the Disney Plus series Andor.

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.

In this setting, the emperor even showing his face would completely undermine the story Andor speaks of the Imperials. As a figure referenced but never shown, there is no way for viewers or characters to know if a particular warrant is really the Emperor’s will, or if a character’s superior officer Actually just had a conversation with Palpatine. That’s the point: it doesn’t matter. Oppression trickles down.

Anyone willing to get their hands dirty is also given the tools to expand this oppression, in hopes of avoiding its pain. So far, the most devastating weapon in Andor is not a space station or a firearm, it is the public order directive issued by the ISB. Under this new law, passed after the success of the rebel raid on Aldhani in “The Eye”, harsher penalties are enacted for actions classified as “acts against the Empire”, and the definition of such acts is largely up to party to the person applying the law. right.

Thus, in “Narkina 5”, Andor is arrested and sent to a labor prison for a six-year sentence for nothing more than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This prompts BSI officer Dedra Meero to circumvent the Imperial Code in order to track down Andor’s few remaining friends on Ferrix. This indirectly encourages serial bootlicker Syril Karn to feel that his ambition is worthwhile and to continually press his luck with Meero to impose his sense of order and propriety on everyone around him.

Syril Karn, in a brown high-necked suit, is led by a supervisor with a tablet through a sea of ​​hexagonal cubicles in a drab office.

Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd.

This is a sea change in the depiction of the Empire, which previously focused largely on the scale and mechanics of warfare. But the kind of power deployed by the Empire in the original trilogy comes at a cost, and that cost is one. Andor emphatically emphasizes: The Empire is scattered. He can’t be everywhere at once. And so he uses the greatest weapon of the fascists: to make once free people control themselves.

Syril Karn illustrates this. Karn stays Andorthe sharpest tool of, a pernicious figure who does not even profess admiration for the Emperor. He just likes rules, and sees the Empire as the Platonic ideal of an orderly society, where rule breakers become outcasts as he has been for being so fussy towards them. It is also the source of Andor, in his mother’s house where he continually eats cereal for breakfast: there, on a shelf in his room, are small Stormtrooper figurines. They wear masks he can’t, but he’s confident he can wage their war in his petulant way. For him, the world is full of people who break the rules and get away with it, and stopping them is as valiant as any Stormtrooper fighting for the Empire.

With men like Karn, the Emperor never needs to show up to maintain order in his small fascist kingdom. He has soldiers everywhere.

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