The Empire's Galactic Takeover In Andor Is A Reflection Of 'The Trumpian World'

Despite what some overexuberant YouTube videos or angry social media posts might have you believe, "Star Wars" and social/political commentary have gone hand-in-hand ever since the original movie first changed the world in 1977. If the World War II and Vietnam parallels in the original trilogy were a little too subtle to notice (which, to be clear, they absolutely weren't; Just check out this clip from "James Cameron's Story of Science Fiction" miniseries), then George Lucas came back and made sure that nobody could possibly miss the fact that the prequel movies — particularly "Revenge of the Sith" — were blatantly commenting on the War on Terror.

It's in that spirit that the upcoming spin-off series "Andor" is set to continue the franchise's storied tradition of speaking out against all those real-world evil empires who would attempt to curtail the rights and freedoms of marginalized groups. After all, it's baked right into the premise. Like "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," "Andor" details the struggles of the underdog Rebellion against the tyrannical might of the Empire, bent on subjugating the entire galaxy. In order to make that story truly feel real and terrifying, it simply made all the storytelling sense in the world to draw upon parallels from ongoing current events.

According to the cast and crew of "Andor," that's exactly what makes this new series both similar to and different from "Star Wars" projects in the past.

'The Trumpian world'

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past six years or so (more or less since "Rogue One" first released in theaters), it's been plain to see how the Donald Trump era of American politics has drawn quite a few comparisons to the classic good-and-evil story set in a galaxy far, far away. Rest assured that the creator of "Andor," Tony Gilroy, has noticed this as well. First called upon to help rescue the production of "Rogue One," the "Michael Clayton" and "Beirut" writer is returning to the franchise as creator, showrunner, and writer on "Andor." 

In the September 2022 issue of Empire Magazine, Gilroy and the cast opened up about the political commentary at the heart of the new series. Actor Fiona Shaw, who will be playing the adoptive mother of Cassian Andor himself, put the aims of the series in no uncertain terms:

"Tony has written a great, scurrilous [take] on the Trumpian world. Our world is exploding in different places right now, people's rights are disappearing, and 'Andor' reflects that. [In the show] the Empire is taking over, and it feels like the same thing is happening in reality, too."

"Sci-fi has always been an interesting way to talk about real issues," Gilroy succinctly puts it, confirming that "Andor" won't pull its punches. He goes on to say "I didn't come here to do the same old thing. There are refugee aspects to our series; there are political aspects. We have all the food groups." For those among us who believe that the most opinionated art with something to say tends to be the most interesting, this is nothing but good news.

'A refugee story'

Based on the newest trailer, "Andor" appears to have plenty on its mind. In addition to continuing the gritty war-film look and feel established in "Rogue One," the upcoming series seems as if it will also delve into flashbacks depicting Cassian Andor's early life. By bringing the character's backstory front-and-center here, Gilroy and series star Diego Luna (returning to play Andor after originating him in "Rogue One") have found another compelling way to connect this prequel story to our current events. Most notably, as Gilroy alluded to above and as Luna emphasizes again, "Andor" can be considered "a refugee story." According to Luna:

"[Andor] is a character that is forced to move. He's pushed somewhere he doesn't belong, and has to start from scratch ... [Cassian is] in a place where no one has his accent. How does that define him? Where does he come from?"

The potent narrative potential to unearth even more layers for Andor than we already saw in "Rogue One" is clear to see, with the added bonus of placing a strong focus on the importance of representation through Luna's casting in the first place. The addition of Genevieve O'Reilly's Mon Mothma will add to those themes, as well, by further solidifying the show's political bent. As Luna puts it, "She's still working within the Imperial Senate, trying to gather allies against [Palpatine's] autocracy. She believes in diplomacy. But it's hard to stand up against the Empire. You don't have to look far to recognize that. History is full of this."

"Andor" will debut its first three episodes on Disney+ September 21, 2022. Empire Magazine's issue will hit shelves on on Thursday, August 4.