Star Wars is a space epic, and its scope is set to “huge” by default. Every movie covers massive swaths of galactic events, with epic battles and sweeping coups unfolding in about two hours. Even TV shows that start small, like The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi, evolve into having massive stakes. Andor is unlike any of those stories. “Small storytelling” is its raison d'etre, and the proof of this is in the last place you’d look: The toilet.
While Andor covers the start of the Rebellion, it never claimed that its story would be told on the same scale as Rogue One. Tony Gilroy’s series is about Cassian Andor as he becomes one of the Rebellion’s top agents, but it’s the moments that transform his life that matter as much as the broader consequences of his decisions.
Cassian’s personal saga begins with an escape from Ferrix, moves on to the robbery of an Imperial Base on Aldhani, then follows him as he organizes a prison riot through ingenuity and solidarity. A key part of his plan was to short out the prison’s electrified floor, which required a lot of water. That came from breaking a water main in the bathroom, and we see the toilet briefly in Episode 9.
It may not seem important, but that’s one of the first times we’ve seen a toilet in Star Wars. Presumably, everyone from Darth Vader to Yoda needs a toilet, but the main “Skywalker Saga” has never revealed one. Why would it need to?
Andor, however, has different storytelling priorities, as executive producer Sanne Wohlenberg explained to Polygon by using the toilet as an example.
“As Tony always says, we’re in the kitchen and not in the restaurant. [Andor is set] as this revolution forms, and we have these very ordinary people, ultimately, from all walks of life that find themselves caught in a peculiar situation. So the storytelling must bring you into back rooms and the home of Mon Mothma and the toilet of the prison.”
It’s not even the first time basic bodily functions have come up in Andor. If you cast your mind back to the Aldhani heist arc, an Imperial officer relieves himself while Cinta and Vel are hiding nearby. It’s a detail that would never make the cut in a mainstream Star Wars movie, but Andor isn’t like anything the franchise has done before. Its narrow scope, combined with its vast 24-episode length, allows all these details to shine through. The toilet may be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but it’s a microcosm of what makes Andor exceptional.
Andor is now streaming on Disney+.
Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that Andor is not technically the first toilet in Star Wars. That honor belongs to The Mandalorian.