Star Wars Finally Remembers What Makes The Empire Scary
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Star Wars Finally Remembers What Makes The Empire Scary

By telling a more serious, realistic Star Wars story, Andor is nailing what makes the Empire truly scary – something that other shows failed to do.

Warning! SPOILERS for Andor episode 5.

Andor episode 5 takes a look at what its main characters are fighting for, and by doing so, it remembers what makes the Empire truly scary. Taking place five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Andor’s story unfolds at a time when a proper Rebel Alliance as seen in the Star Wars movies was still far from being formed. As such, Andor has the chance of exploring what the Empire’s threat actually means for the galaxy, and the show is so far succeeding at it.

With four episodes in, Andor has so far set up mysteries more than it has answered them. The origin of the Rebel Alliance is a story other Star Wars movies and shows have tried to tell, but due to its realism and more serious tone, Andor is set to be Star Wars’ definitive rebel tale. While Cassian Andor is the protagonist whose journey from Kenari to Scarif will guide the show, Andor is telling a broader story that tackles several characters – from the Empire to the yet-to-be Rebel Alliance.

The fact that Andor has a more realistic and serious take on Star Wars than The Mandalorian or Obi-Wan Kenobi has granted the show the opportunity to take the saga to unexpected places. Andor is being able to dive deep into themes that had previously been restricted as subtext in the Star Wars movies. In fact, a lot of recent Star Wars stories had failed to convey what truly makes the Empire scary, especially compared with how George Lucas envisioned the Empire and how Palpatine’s reign of terror came to be. During Andor episode 5, Karis and Cassian discuss what they are fighting for and what they have lost in the fight against the Empire, with the themes of freedom being brought up throughout the entire episode. That loss of freedom referenced in Andor is exactly what makes the Empire so scary in Star Wars.

George Lucas’ Star Wars Was Always About The Loss Of Freedom

From the original Star Wars to the prequel trilogy, George Lucas’ Star Wars films have always been a commentary on real-world issues. As with any good sci-fi, Lucas’ Star Wars movies tried to use the fantastical elements of a distant galaxy as the background for a story that could reflect the world he lived in. Before picking film as his major, George Lucas studied social science and anthropology – a background that would later be reflected in Lucas’ Star Wars movies. Though the original Star Wars trilogy placed the audience right into the middle of the war between the mighty Empire and the underdog rebellion, the Star Wars prequels were able to go back a few decades in time and explain how the Republic turned into an oppressive Sith empire lead by Palpatine.

According to George Lucas for the Star Wars Archives: Episode I – III book, he was not interested in telling a story about how someone took democracy away from the galaxy but rather about “How do you give away a democracy”. While Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace and the prequel trilogy as a whole were criticized for the often long, boring political meeting scenes about the Trade Federation and votes of no-confidence, those were essential for the story George Lucas wanted to tell. Whereas the original Star Wars trilogy was about the unlikely heroes fighting for that lost freedom, the prequels were about how the galaxy lost that freedom in the first place.

Recent Star Wars Had Made The Empire’s Threat Too Superficial

While Star Wars will always have content aimed at all ages, recent Star Wars movies and shows had made the Empire’s threat too superficial, that is, they made the Empire nothing but an obstacle in the stories of the main characters. With so many Star Wars stories taking place during the Galactic Civil War, plus the Star Wars sequels borrowing a lot from the Age of the Empire time period, the idea of stormtroopers and TIE-fighters lost a lot of its original impact. Instead of a symbol of how defeated the galaxy had become, the Empire began to be depicted as a more cartoonish supervillain group for the Jedi and other Star Wars characters to fight.

This was a problem for Rogue One, for example. Promoted as a more serious, visceral take on the rebels vs. Empire story, Rogue One ended up being a more action-driven movie with the Empire serving as nothing but an obstacle in the path of the heroes. There was not much else to the story, and a lot of the fear and sense of urgency audiences may have felt derivate from what they already knew about Star Wars, the Empire, and the Death Star. A similar problem happened with Solo: A Star Wars Story, in which the threat of the Empire is discussed but not felt. Obi-Wan Kenobi is another Star Wars story that took place at the high of the rebels vs. Empire conflict, but it focused more on the fantastical side of it with Darth Vader and the Inquisitors.

Andor Episode 5 Honors Revenge Of The Sith’s Best Line

By far the best line in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith and perhaps the highpoint of the entire Star Wars prequel trilogy, Padmé’s “So this is how liberty dies. With thunderous applause” summarizes the story George Lucas was trying to tell going from Episode I to Episode III. How Palpatine was using the Clone Wars to gain more power and to fracture the galaxy would later be a recurring theme in Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and when looking at it from a certain distance, the Sith Lord’s ultimate plan that was set in motion between The Phantom Menace and Revenge of the Sith should have been obvious for everyone. The problem is that, when caught up in the Clone Wars, the Republic and the Jedi little could see what was really happening.

That is a theme Andor episode 5 continued. When discussing the threat of the Empire and the reason why he was fighting, Karis mentioned how people were slowly losing the sense of what the Empire was doing to the galaxy. Karis also mentioned to Cassian how liberty was being stripped away from the galaxy starting with the most mundane things, which is an interesting flip of the “thunderous applauses” from Revenge of the Sith. Andor suggests that more than a decade after the fall of the Republic and the rise of the Empire, the galaxy no longer remembers what it was fighting for.

Andor Episode 5 Summarizes What Truly Makes The Empire Scary

More than stormtroopers, TIE-fighters, and imperial cruisers, what truly makes the Empire scary in Star Wars is how it was able to remove all sense of hope and optimism from the galaxy for almost two decades. Apart from small movements like Star Wars Rebels’ Ghost crew and the operation put together by Luthen in Andor, there were not many fighting against the Empire – neither in the political field nor on the actual battlefield. It was only after Luke Skywalker answered the hero’s call that the “new hope” came to be, which means any stories set between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope were technically about the despair and the losses the galaxy was facing. That was something most of the Star Wars movies and shows set in that time period were failing to replicate, but that Andor is fortunately remembering.

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