Andor Season 1 Has Some Of The All Time Greatest Monologues In The Star Wars Franchise

This post contains spoilers for the "Andor" season 1 finale.

"Star Wars" has never exactly been lauded for its dialogue. As the legend goes, Harrison Ford supposedly told George Lucas, "You can type this s***, but you sure can't say it" while making the original "Star Wars" trilogy. Indeed, the more infamous lines from Lucas' prequel films have taken on a life of their own thanks to the internet. All one needs to do is type the words "I don't like sand ..." and you can already start to hear someone giggling somewhere in the virtual abyss.

Mind you, stilted dialogue isn't so much a defect as it is part of what gives "Star Wars" its hokey charm. But as fun as it is to mock the clumsiness of, say, the romantic banter in "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith," those types of lines would feel woefully out of place in the hard-edged, grownup world of "Andor." It's not that the show is devoid of humor; the scenes with Syril and his mother at their breakfast table alone are pure comedic gold (as though the pair are performing their own version of "Waiting for Godot"). It's just that the series is trying to strike a far more realistic tone than Lucas ever went for in his "Star Wars" films.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the monologues from "Andor." Heck, the season 1 finale by itself has now given us two of the all-time greatest extended pieces of dialogue in the entire "Star Wars" franchise.

'Freedom is a pure idea'

Nemik's manifesto, which was given to Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) after the young Rebel's tragic mid-mission death during the Aldhani heist, reveals itself as the best kind of Chekov's Gun in the "Andor" season 1 finale. As Cassian pours over Nemik's message the night before Maarva's (Fiona Shaw) funeral on Ferrix, the fallen hero's earnest words play out in voiceover. He speaks to the odds facing the Rebel cause, yet reminds Cassian, "Freedom is a pure idea," and all it takes is "the smallest act of insurrection [to push] our lines forward." Moreover, his observations of the inherent weakness of the Galactic Empire are as lyrical as they come:

"Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear. Remember that. And know this, the day will come when all these skirmishes and battles, these moments of defiance will have flooded the banks of the Empire's authority and then there will be one too many. One single thing will break the siege. Remember this. Try."

Cassian may have dismissed Nemik as a naive idealist in life, yet his words give our lead the push he needs to finally become the Rebel he's always been at heart. Maarva's own final recorded words, which B2EMO projects as a hologram at her funeral, only complement Nemik's sentiments. If she has any regrets, it's that she was "always waiting to be inspired" by the dead yet never took the action she wanted. The speech she delivers to the people of Ferrix — warning of "a wound that won't heal at the center of the galaxy" if they continue to tolerate the Empire — is so stirring, one wishes they could join the crowd in attacking the local Imperials right then and there.

There's no light without the dark

If the monologues in "Andor" were nothing more than motivational speeches and uplifting messages, they would start to feel insincere and empty after a while. It's only because the show's heroes spend so much of season 1 dwelling in cynicism and darkness that the finale is able to offer the cathartic experience that it does when the dead speak (and this time, we don't have to check out a video game tie-in to hear what they have to say, either).

Consider another terrific monologue from near the start of the series: Cassian reveals that all he needs to steal from the Empire is "a uniform, some dirty hands, and an Imperial tool kit," tearing down the Imperials for being too proud of themselves to even imagine a nobody like him could stroll right in and steal a precious N-S9 Starpath Unit right out from under their noses. Cassian's hatred of the Empire seeps into his every word, yet rebellion is the last thing on his mind. It's an eloquent piece of writing fueled by righteous fury, much like Nemik's manifesto lands thanks to its pragmatic optimism.

Luthen Rael's (Stellan Skarsgård) own big speech in season 1 is similarly effective because of its bitterness, not in spite of it. "I'm damned for what I do" he declares, aware that his borderline Machiavellian schemes — like allowing Anto Kreegyr and his forces to charge directly into an Imperial trap — are necessary sacrifices to keep the Rebellion growing, yet also require him to "burn" his own sense of happiness. There's no light without the dark and Luthen's words of despair, like those of Cassian, are very much part of what makes the finale's dual monologues so powerful.

"Andor" season 1 is streaming on Disney+.