Editor’s Choice: Enhance Your Andor Experience with These 5 Exciting Stories

Editor's Choice: Enhance Your Andor Experience with These 5 Stories

Andor is in full-swing, but it isn’t the only story in this dark era. Get the full picture of the Rebellion with these other Star Wars adventures.

As he said during Rogue One, Cassian Andor has been in the Rebellion since he was six years old, and now his very own Disney+ series has begun to explore that tragic backstory he alluded to. The first four episodes of the 12-episode first season have now arrived, planting the seeds of the movement that would ultimately bring Emperor Palpatine’s ill-gotten Empire to its knees.

However, this isn’t the first piece of Star Wars canon to chronicle the Rebellion’s earliest days. We saw an underground movement in Obi-Wan Kenobi, and we know how Cassian’s tale will end in Rogue One, but there are actually several great tales that further expand the Rebels’ origins, Cassian’s story, and the stories of other characters he might encounter. Check out these other pieces of the larger canon to enrich your enjoyment of Andor (and maybe help spot some of its Easter eggs).

(NOTE: Obviously Rogue One is a key part of Cassian’s life, but that’s too obvious to make this list. The novel adaptation by Alexander Freed is also recommended, however, if you want to get inside his head. I’ve also included the years in which these stories take place to better contextualize their relationship to Andor and the original trilogy—as shown in the first episode, the series begins in 5 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin), where Luke Skywalker destroyed the Death Star in A New Hope).

5) Solo – A Star Wars Story (10 BBY)

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Five years before Andor (and around the same time as Obi-Wan Kenobi), Han Solo was defying the Empire in his own way. On this week’s episode we learned that Cassian fought for the Empire on the planet Mimban, which—aside from being a storied location in Star Wars lore—is also the planet where Han met Chewbacca and Tobias Beckett’s gang, and defected to become a smuggler.

That’s a neat bit of trivia, and suggests that maybe Cassian and Han could’ve crossed paths at some point, but the movie’s ending may have bigger implications on the new series’ plot.

At the climax, Han gives the powerful coaxium fuel to Enfys Nest, the leader of her own independent, localized rebellion; Enfys in turn gives the fuel to Saw Gerrera, as shown in the movie’s novelization. Saw will play a role in Andor, but more importantly, it’s possible that Enfys could turn up in this new series in some capacity, hopefully alive and once again portrayed by Erin Kellyman (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier).

4) Rebel Rising by Beth Revis (13-0 BBY)

Editor'S Choice: Enhance Your Andor Experience With These 5 Exciting Stories

Speaking of Saw Gerrera, we know Forrest Whittaker will turn up in Andor‘s first season, reprising a role he’s played in Rogue One and another entry on this list. You may recall that he took in Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and raised her as a favour to her father, before abruptly cutting her loose at age 16. Rebel Rising recounts Jyn’s adolescence in that fledgling rebel cell of alleged extremists.

Not only does Revis’ young adult novel flesh out Jyn’s backstory, we also see the methods used by Gerrera’s group and the desperate struggle these rebels had to face—one of many groups that had to walk so the (capital-R) Rebellion could run. Jyn won’t show up on the show, but her presence might be felt if the show alludes to this phase of Saw’s campaign. It should help paint a better picture of this notorious resistance leader for when he shows up later on Andor.

3) “Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Special” (~3 BBY?)

Editor'S Choice: Enhance Your Andor Experience With These 5 Exciting Stories

Alan Tudyk stole the show in Rogue One as K-2SO, a reprogrammed Imperial droid turned Cassian’s sidekick. Though he hasn’t been officially confirmed to appear in Andor, it’s almost a certainty, since we know the series is planned as a two season/twenty-four episode tale that leads directly into Rogue One—and thanks to this Marvel Comics tie-in written by Duane Swierczynski and pencilled by Fernando Blanco, we have a pretty safe bet on how this friendship will be founded.

Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Special” was a one-shot comic published a few months after Rogue One, recounting how they crossed paths, and the circumstances that led to Cassian reprogramming the dour droid. With any luck, Andor will incorporate and expand these events without paving over them wholesale.

(You can also find this one-shot collected in Marvel Comics’ adaptation of Rogue One—like the novel, if you adore the movie or characters like Cassian, it probably wouldn’t hurt to check that out as well.)

2) Star Wars Rebels (5-0 BBY)

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This week’s episode also reintroduced audiences to Mon Mothma, once again portrayed in her younger, pre-Return of the Jedi years by Genevieve O’Reilly. O’Reilly inherited the role for Episode III, only to see her scenes cut from the theatrical release, but she was happy to return in several episodes of Star Wars Rebels. In one fateful third-season episode, “Secret Cargo,” Mon Mothma makes an epic speech aboard the crew’s ship, the Ghost, where she renounces her role as Senator and effectively declares the birth of the Rebellion.

Flash back three years from that point, and Andor shows us a live-action Mon Mothma who still works to undermine the Empire from within its power structure. Like the K-2SO comic, my fingers are crossed that Tony Gilroy’s series will incorporate established events, like Mothma’s time with the Ghost‘s crew, without retconning/contradicting them; if it does, it will be fascinating to see how Cassian might’ve experienced formative moments like this.

1) Catalyst by James Luceno (21-17 BBY)

Editor'S Choice: Enhance Your Andor Experience With These 5 Exciting Stories

Released days before Rogue One, James Luceno’s Catalyst is more of a prequel for Jyn and her father, Galen Erso, and the entire “Death Star plans” plot. It focuses on Galen and his efforts to subvert the Empire while designing their ultimate weapon, feeding directly into the plot of Rogue One and A New Hope by answering the age-old question, “why did the Death Star have that glaring weakness anyway?”

Catalyst enriches so much of Rogue One and the entire era, and remains one of my most highly recommended Star Wars canon novels today. It may tie into Andor less than any other title on this list, but it’s essential reading for anyone who enjoys this time period, a tent pole of the Rebellion’s storyline. The title is apt; without Galen’s efforts, everything that Cassian and the other rebels worked toward might have been undone.

Though it started out light on allusions and cameos (which feels like a blessing at this point), Andor has a lot of potential to weave through the other narratives that make up the Star Wars tapestry while telling its own worthwhile story. If the Disney+ series has piqued your interest, I suggest checking out any of these other tales; Star Wars thrives with larger connective tissues like these.

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