So most of our heroes and villains seem bound for Ferrix. Andor takes place in the five-year period leading into Rogue One, which tells the story immediately before original Star Wars movie A New Hope.
Let's see how it shakes out as we attend a gathering of season 1 finale SPOILERS.
Home to sneak
FERRIX - There's an atmosphere of oppression on this desert planet, as Dedra arrives in her fascist uniform, Cassian's buddy/ex-girlfriend Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) suffers post-torture trauma in Imperial custody and storm clouds rumble ominously.
We also cut to Wilmon (Muhannad Bhaier) as he constructs a bomb to get revenge on the Empire, who subjected his dad, Paak, to same horrors as Bix. Then they went a step further by hanging his corpse in town, as a warning to the locals.
Our cold-blooded Imperial baddies set up a kill box to trap Cassian for the funeral procession, but Dedra wants him taken alive so he can identify Luthen.
The locals are all abuzz about the possibility of Cassian returning for the funeral, and he is indeed sneaking around and connecting with some of his trusted friends. Crucially, he learns where Bix is being held and decides to free her.
Which is fair enough, she's there partially because of her association with him.
Cassian also visits the funerary stone containing the ashes of his adoptive father, Clem (Gary Beadle), who was killed by Imperial troopers after trying to calm protesters in the regime's early days. He flashes back to a warm memory of Clem teaching him about the importance of being observant.
"People don't look down to where they should. They don't look down, they don't look past the rust," the mechanic tells his son of scavenging parts. "Not us though, eh? Eyes open, possibilities everywhere."
Diego Luna is awesome to watch in this scene, shifting from fond reminiscence to sadness over all he's lost and ultimately to steely determination.
"The Imperial need for control is so desperate because it is so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort -- it breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle, oppression is the mask of fear," the fallen rebel says.
"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."
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Andor family friend Brasso (Joplin Sibtain) rounds out Cassian's rebel motivation by delivering Maarva's last message to her adopted son.
"Tell him, he knows everything he needs to know and feels everything he needs to feel." Brasso says. "And when the day comes, and those two pull together, he will be an unstoppable force for good."
Cassian may have lost Maarva, Clem and Nemik, but all three live on through him as he carries their lessons and philosophies. Since we know he'll play a vital role in saving the galaxy from the Empire in Rogue One, it works out pretty well.
Funeral for a rebel
The wily Ferrix locals kick off the funeral early to mess with the colonialist Imperials, causing them to panic a little as they try to restrict its movements. This sequence is astoundingly cool, with the tension racheting up as the music increases in tempo and the procession strides towards Imperials. Luthen and Syril watch from the sidelines.
Beloved droid B2EMO (aka Bee, voiced by Dave Chapman) leads the crowd, with Brasso holding Maarva's funerary stone.
"Stone and sky," they chant.
Our true hero Bee projects a prerecorded message from a massive holographic projection of Maarva, who looks rather dashing all decked out in her Daughters of Ferrix robes. She delivers an inspiring speech for the ages, noting that they've been "sleeping" while the Empire's influence grew and encroached on their lives.
"The Empire is a disease that thrives in darkness, it is never more alive than when we sleep. It's easy for the dead to tell you to fight, and maybe it's true, maybe fighting is useless." she says as the music swells. "Perhaps it's too late. But I'll tell you this: if I could do it again, I'd wake up early and be fighting these bastards from the start. Fight the Empire!"
I got properly choked up watching this moment, just like Maarva's grieving friends. Then jerk Imperial Captain Vanis Tigo (Wilf Scolding, who played Rhaegar Targaryen in Game of Thrones) makes the mistake of knocking Bee over to stop Maarva's speech, which was 100% gonna start a riot.
It escalates when Wilmon flings his bomb, setting off a bunch of explosions, and Tigo orders the troops to open fire on the crowd. We're so used to blaster fire and explosions in Star Wars that they normally wash right over us -- they feel like a bigger deal here because the episode built up tension so effectively.
Thankfully, Bee is pulled to safety by Cassian's friend Pegla (Kieran O'Brien). Unfortunately, his other pal Xanwan (Zubin Varla) is gunned down by a stormtrooper. The camera lingers on his lifeless face for an uncomfortably long time -- it's the kind of editing that makes this show feel so believable and emotionally resonant.
Escaping the chaos
Dedra briefly looks like she's gonna be torn limb from limb by the furious people of Ferrix, but is rescued by Syril… a guy who kinda sorta stalked her across the galaxy. Eep. They sure seem to form a bond here though; could it be the start of a beautiful, toxic relationship?
Realizing he won't get the chance to kill Cassian, Luthen slinks away.
With the Empire distracted by the riot, Cassian rescues Bix -- who seems to be gradually recovering from her tortured state -- and gets her to a ship. Joining Bee, Brasso, Willmon and some of their other friends, she's being flown to safety. Cassian stays behind though.
"I'll find you," he promises his friends before they leave.
Is this last time Cassian will see Bix, Bee and the others? It felt oddly final.
Throwing off the Empire
CORUSCANT -- After attending a party (and looking suitably unhappy about it), Mon Mothma accuses her jerk husband, Perrin Fertha (Alastair Mackenzie), of returning to his old gambling habit. It's a big old ploy, since she knows her dirty ISB spy driver knows Kloris (Lee Ross) is listening in. Perrin denies it and Mon says she's afraid to ask where he's getting the money.
She's creating a cover story for the missing money, and is willing to burn her feckless husband to do so. It's quite delicious to see Mon acting like an ice-cold badass. Probably won't do wonders for her home life, though.
Sneaky boy Kloris reports Mon's accusation to Dedra's ISB rival Blevin (Ben Bailey Smith), and the foolish fools fall for it. It happens as the ISB celebrates the killing of unseen rebel Anton Kreegyr and his crew, whom Luthen determined had to be sacrificed. Oh Kreegyr, we hardly knew ye.
Dedra isn't happy, since she wanted Kreegyr interrogated. Her boss Major Partagaz (Anton Lesser) suggests she should accept this smaller victory.
"Today was about wiping Aldhani from the Emperor's mouth," he says, before demanding she find the recruiter. And we know how that goes -- Dedra is no closer to catching Luthen.
Unfortunately, Mon's plan was just a temporary solution and our last glimpse of her is the introduction of her daughter Leida to Davo Skuldun's son Stekan (Finley Glasgow). The rebel senator is visibly uncomfortable as they approach their guests, and the defiant Leida picks up on it -- she might be down for a betrothal just to annoy her mom. How infuriating.
A rebel gambit
FERRIX -- The final scene sees Luthen arriving back at his ship in the desert. The super stealthy Cassian has beaten him there, and offers Luthen the chance to complete his mission.
"No game," he says. "Kill me or take me in."
Luthen smirks, a rebel duo forms and the season ends. Luthen is like a surrogate father to Cassian, offering him direction now that both of his parents and his home are lost. A surrogate father who was planning to murder him.
We cut to some droids affixing the parts Cassian and his fellow inmates were making in prison to a larger machine. Whatever could it be?
The camera pulls out to reveal the Death Star hanging in space. This superweapon will ultimately kill Cassian and his Rebel Alliance ally Jyn Erso on Scarif in Rogue One, but not before they transmit the plans that'll lead to its destruction in A New Hope.
It's unclear when season 2 will air, but filming has started and it'll probably hit Disney Plus in 2023 or 2024. Expect to hear more during Star Wars Celebration Europe next April.
If you want more of this era, I recommend Rogue One prequel novels Catalyst and Rebel Rising, which reveal Jyn Erso's backstory. Catalyst in particular features loads of delightful Imperial sneakiness.
It's so satisfying when Brasso whacks an Imperial with Maarva's funerary stone, she'd like that.
The awesome looking/terrifying Death Troopers debuted in Rogue One.
Luthen's arrival on Ferrix mirrors Maul on Tatooine in The Phantom Menace. Both characters land their ships in the desert, use a speeder bike to traverse the planet and are unsuccessful in their hunts.
Daughters of Ferrix is a local "social club," according to the Empire, and Maarva was a past president.
Wilmon's name is likely inspired by Beau Willimon, one of the series' writers.
It sure looked like Vel broke up with Cinta. I wasn't super emotionally invested in this relationship, but I liked the idea that they might be happy one day.
I imagine Cinta released some of her frustration when she brutally stabbed that ISB spy.
Seeing the Time Grappler (the cool Ferrix hammer guy) kicking a stormtrooper out of the bell tower is wonderful. It also solidifies the tower as a symbol of Ferrix's defiance.
Syril and Mosk seem like they've formed a cool dude partnership at the start of the episode. Our last sighting of Mosk finds him drinking in an alley, with Syril having abandoned him for Dedra. Not cool Syril, he was your wingman.
Mon mentions Canto Bight to Perrin -- Finn and Rose visited this space Vegas in The Last Jedi.
We also catch sight of Davo's wife Runai (Rosalind Halstead). Hope she and Stekan are less sleazy than Davo.