Andor Trailer Breakdown: The Rebellion Begins

When filmgoers met Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in 2016's "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," he was a true believer willing to not only lay down his life but also get his hands dirty if it meant serving the Rebel Alliance's cause and striking a blow against the fascist forces of the Galactic Empire. Nobody becomes that kind of devoted revolutionary overnight, of course, and that's where the upcoming TV series "Andor" comes in. But more than just an origin story for its namesake, the show is a two-fold story about the early days of the Rebellion and how it came to be under the leadership of Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly), a politician-by-day, Rebel-by-night who quickly realizes that good-faith diplomacy simply isn't going to cut it when Emperor Palpatine is in charge of the galaxy.

"Andor" head writer Tony Gilroy (a credited co-writer on "Rogue One" who played a key role in the film's reshoots) has said the show boasts a "huge, orchestral, Dickensian ensemble cast" which includes Cassian and Mothma, along with many characters we've yet to meet. That may explain why Disney and Lucasfilm have already announced plans for "Andor" to span two seasons, running 24 episodes total (for perspective, that's four times as long as the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" series). Thankfully, the newly-unveiled "Andor" teaser trailer mostly focuses on Cassian and Mothma while also teasing a few other key players. Let's dive into it, shall we?

For whom the bell tolls

The trailer opens with a figure dubbed the "Time Grappler" banging away on a giant bell on what we can safely assume is the home planet of Cassian Andor. This is followed by shots of a group of ducking people as they slowly look up, only to be greeted by the horrifying sight of a spaceship on fire as it plummets across the sky.

We then get a glimpse of factory worker dressed in all white and a droid casually rolling along in a scrapyard (droids! Gotta love 'em). Subsequent shots depict the world's people scrambling to take up arms, clearly (and rightly) anticipating the worst from the arrival of the Galactic Empire's forces.

Perhaps the big takeaway here (beyond the overriding mood of doom and gloom) is the muted, earth tone-heavy color palette of the "Andor" footage. Jonathan Freeman ("Game of Thrones") and Adriano Goldman ("Sin Nombre") served as the cinematographers on the show's first season, but they clearly channeled "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" director of photography Greig Fraser's approach to capturing a galaxy far, far away in all its grubby, muddy glory. The handheld camera work and grungy texture of the "Andor" teaser creates a sense of consistency with the look of the "Star Wars" universe as seen in that film, complimenting its plot and themes. At the same time, it makes for a strong contrast to the brighter lighting and Western motifs of a show like "The Book of Boba Fett."

Imperials on the march

"They're so proud of themselves. So fat and satisfied," Cassian says in voiceover as the "Andor" teaser cuts to shots of Imperial foot soldiers going door-to-door harassing people on his home planet. Elsewhere, higher-ranking Imperial officers clad in white can be seen holding meetings, while others (dressed in grey) enjoy what seems to be cocktail hour for the Empire.

"They're everywhere," Mon Mothma says in voiceover as a shot appears of Denise Gough's Imperial officer, flanked by a pair of Death Troopers right out of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Gough's character is already making me think of Lothal governor Maketh Tua from the animated TV series "Star Wars Rebels" based on her general demeanor (their potential differences in personality aside). One wonders if the former will similarly bear the brunt of the Empire's wrath as the rebellion starts to grow on Cassian's planet, much like Tua did when the Lothal resistance blossomed right under her watch.

The adventures of Mon Mothma

Things aren't much better on the somewhat brighter-lit world of Coruscant. "They're watching me now," Mon Mothma cautions as she navigates her duties as a member of the Imperial Senate (which includes attending ritzy parties), all while secretly building a galaxy-wide resistance to the Galactic Empire. There's an intriguing sense of cloak-and-dagger to the brief glimpses we get of Mothma in the "Andor" trailer, hinting at some exciting political intrigue to come. It also suggests this may be the closest thing we get to a young Leia series (if so, no complaints here).

More than that, Tony Gilroy has promised that "Andor" will subvert what "Star Wars" fans think they know about "certain people, characters that are legacy characters" in surprising and possibly even shocking ways. For those who never read any of the books from the old "Star Wars" Expanded Universe (aka Star Wars Legends), Mothma is little more than that lady who said the thing about Bothans in "Star Wars: Return of the Jedi." Thanks to "Andor," she might just get her long-overdue wider recognition as one of the true badasses of the Rebel Alliance.

Rebels of a different shade

What's that old saying? You either die a villain in the "Dune" franchise, or you live long enough to see yourself become a hero in the "Star Wars" universe? Either way, Stellan Skarsgård shows up in the "Andor" teaser as Luthen, a gruff-voiced freedom fighter who assures that "Soon enough, these days will end." As we get more shots of Imperial officers and citizens from Cassian's planet being forced to submit to the Empire (or, to be more exact, wait around in endless lines), we can also hear Luthen state, "There will be no rules going forward."

What does that mean? Well, if you've been keeping up on your "Andor" news, you may recall it was Skarsgård who blabbed about filming a scene on the show with Forest Whitaker. The latter, as a reminder, co-starred in "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" as Saw Gerrera, a key Rebel whose tactics were considered too extreme for other leaders in the Rebel Alliance and led to him forming his own militant group known as the Partisans. In other words, it sounds like Luthen could be central to the series' efforts to explore the ways the Rebellion threatened to tear itself apart from within. Consider me firmly onboard for such an all-too-timely subplot.

'That's what a reckoning sounds like'

Winding down, the "Andor" teaser ends with one shot after another of people across the galaxy beginning to take a stand against the Galactic Empire, including an as-yet unknown character played by Kyle Soller (who can be seen viewing a hologram of Cassian) and Cassian himself jumping into hyperspace on a (maybe?) stolen space craft. "That's what a reckoning sounds like," says Maarva, who is yet another mysterious newcomer glimpsed in this teaser. She's played by Fiona Shaw of "Harry Potter" and "Killing Eve" fame, for those who can't quite place where they've seen her in the past.

All in all, the "Andor" trailer affirms what Tony Gilroy said about the show having a "huge, orchestral, Dickensian ensemble cast" who have only just joined the "Star Wars" franchise (like Adria Arjona, whose character also briefly shows up here with little to no context as to who they are, besides a presumed enemy of the Empire). One just hopes the series puts that expanded episode count to good use and provides a truly fascinating glimpse into the ways a Rebellion is born.

"Andor" premieres on Disney+ on August 31, 2022.