The Rebel Alliance is such a hardcore organization of freedom fighters that, at some point, they decided to get matching outfits. Ever since a biting 1978 review written by Ursula K. Le Guin, in which she wondered why “everyone got into uniform” at the end of the original Star Wars, there’s been a few nagging questions about the logistics of the Rebellion. How is it organized, and how are people recruited to the cause?
The introduction of one new character in Andor could finally sort all of that out.
Andor and the Rebellion mystery
Ostensibly, the entire arc of Andor Season 1 is about how and why Cassian Andor joins the Rebel Alliance. But we’re also supposed to learn how Mon Mothma organized the Rebellion while also maintaining a public persona as a legitimate politician in the Imperial Senate. Despite a lot of Star Wars material focusing on the early days of the Rebellion (The Bad Batch, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Rebels, Rogue One) we’re still a little fuzzy on how all of this works out. How does the Rebel Alliance remain secrecy, but also become an organized military organization?
By the time of A New Hope and Rogue One, the Rebellion had ranks, uniforms, and a hierarchy that required a huge amount of administration. Essentially, the Rebel Alliance feels more like a gritty version of Star Trek’s Starfleet rather than a guerrilla fighting force. Rogue One gestured at this disparity by introducing the idea that Saw Gerrera’s rebels were too rebellious for the regular Rebellion, so at some point between Solo and Rogue One the Alliance becomes more buttoned-up.
But that raises another question: How does the Rebellion recruit people?
Stellan Skarsgård’s new Andor character might be a Rebel recruiter
Stellan Skarsgård’s mysterious Andor character may be the answer to that question. Although we don’t know much about Luthen Rael, the smattering of preview footage and photos all point to Rael being a recruiter for the Rebel Alliance. Over on Den of Geek, John Saavedra suggests Rael is a “pissed off Rebel talent scout.” In the trailers, Rael tells Andor “Soon enough, these days will end. There will be no rules going forward,” implying that Rael dislikes the rules of the Empire.
Because of his age, it seems likely that Rael worked for the Republic, and possibly for the Empire too. The idea that the Rebellion is populated by several former Imperial officers makes a lot of sense, considering they’re the biggest organization in the galaxy. Even Han Solo worked for the Empire at one point, and an Imperial turncoat just played a major role in Obi-Wan.
But the question of secrecy still seems slippery. Other than obvious “a-ha” moments — like when Jyn Erso joins the Rebels in Rogue One, or Luke Skywalker takes on the mission to rescue Leia — everyday recruitment for the Rebel Alliance is still murky. Will Andor change that? If Luthen Rael is going around to different planets and slipping people Rebel Alliance pamphlets, then the robust structure we see in Rogue One and A New Hope could be more explicable.
Andor is supposed to tell the story of Cassian and Mon Mothma, but if we’re lucky it could finally make the coalescing of the Alliance realistic, earned, and even more powerful than we could have possibly imagined.
Andor hits Disney+ on August 31, 2022.