Andor Episode 11 Just Made Cassian's Death In Rogue One Even More Tragic

Spoiler alert: Cassian Andor dies at the end of "Rogue One." Okay, on a more serious note, there are also spoilers for "Andor" in the following article.

If it weren't for the involvement of filmmaker Tony Gilroy, the director of the brilliant "Michael Clayton" and the last-minute addition who helped rewrite "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" and bring it across the finish line, excitement for "Andor" might've been at an all-time low upon its original announcement. A prequel series telling the origin story of a somewhat cobbled-together character from a relatively divisive prequel film? Thankfully, many of the doubters (me included!) have been proven completely wrong in the time since, quickly falling head over heels for the impressive story about Diego Luna's Cassian Andor rising from a self-absorbed and undependable shady figure to a still-morally grey Rebel officer who will one day be willing to lay his life down for the cause.

Naturally, "Rogue One" didn't have nearly as much time and room as "Andor" to properly develop that arc, but the Disney+ series has more than made up for any deficiencies. By charting such an emotionally resonant journey and populating Andor's world with a host of fascinating supporting characters, viewers have never been more invested in Cassian as a person. In fact, the penultimate episode may have done enough to make his future death in "Rogue One" feel even more hard-hitting and tragic than it did back in 2016.

Ferrix funeral rites

Episode 11 derives its title, "Daughter of Ferrix," from the untimely passing of Andor's adopted mother figure, Maarva (Fiona Shaw), and the emotional impact this will have on Cassian in next week's finale. One new insight into the traditional funeral customs on Ferrix, however, draws a direct thematic connection to Cassian's death in "Rogue One" (even more than the noticeable beach parallels) and lends an even deeper sense of tragedy to Cassian's ultimate end.

During an Imperial situation report with Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), viewers find out that natives of Ferrix engage in a very meaningful and symbolic two-day funeral ceremony involving the cremation of the dead, gathering their ashes, and having the remains of loved ones "bricked" — essentially, turned into building blocks that make up a commemorative wall. But as touching as these (offscreen) funeral rites are, especially with the plaintive grief exhibited by the droid B2EMO, the inevitable endpoint of Cassian's arc can't help but feel even sadder in retrospect.

With this knowledge in mind, think of how exactly Cassian meets his end in "Rogue One." After succeeding in his mission with Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) to transmit the stolen Death Star plans, the wounded pair make their way to the coastline to await their end together as the semi-powered planet-killer obliterates them in a nuclear-like wave of destruction. In effect, Andor does get the cremation that all citizens of Ferrix receive ... but, perhaps fittingly for a group of anonymous heroes who will never enjoy the glory and fame of Luke Skywalker, he'll never have any family or friends recover his remains to complete the ritual.

"Andor" has successfully made "Rogue One" a much stronger picture in retrospect with the show's incredibly strong character work, but this may be the most potent example of that yet. Bring on next week's finale.