Arms Race

Star Wars fans are mad about a "mistake" in Andor — here's why they're wrong

Our world has more influence than you think.

Star Wars may take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, but it borrows elements from our world all the time. Sure, there are lots of aliens, but there can still be allegories about racism and bigotry. And this influence is more than thematic: Some of the most important props in the Star Wars universe are heavily influenced by real-world technology, a fact that’s become obvious ahead of the release of Rogue One prequel Andor.

The Andor trailer inundated fans with information. In fact, fans are still finding elements to pick apart a week after it dropped. One moment that’s drawn special attention is the sight of what looks like a Rebel fighter carrying a weapon similar to an AK-47, complete with a magazine.

But why would a Star Wars blaster need a magazine if it shoots lasers instead of physical ammunition? Some fans are upset about this apparent gaffe, but there’s actually a simple explanation: The weapon does have physical ammunition.

A character in the Andor trailer seems to be wielding a gun comparable to an AK-47.Lucasfilm

In Star Wars, physical projectile weapons (aka slugthrowers) go a lot further than an Ewok stone sling. Tusken raiders in particular are known for two weapons: The gaffi stick we see Boba Fett train with in The Book of Boba Fett, and the cycler rifle we see them use during the podrace in The Phantom Menace. Even Din Djarin used a cycler rifle in The Mandalorian.

But why would this Andor character prefer a slugthrower over a blaster? The key may lie in the non-canon Star Wars Legends continuity. In the Legends novel Shatterpoint, one character says, “Slugthrowers. I hate ’em. But they’re easy to maintain. Day or two in the jungle and your blaster’ll never fire again. A good slug rifle, keep ’em wiped and oiled, they last forever.”

Din Djarin using a slugthrower in The Mandalorian. Lucasfilm

Considering this Andor character looks like they’re in a forest, a reliable weapon that’s resistant to humidity and moisture would be perfect. It may not be as powerful as a blaster, but we’re seeing the Rebellion in its infancy. They don’t have the luxury of an armory at their disposal.

Star Wars has a long history of modeling its weapons after real-world military equipment. Even Cassian Andor used a blaster that bore a passing resemblance to an AR-15. Why shouldn’t there be more of this “mundane” weaponry in Andor, especially with the plot covering the earliest and most rudimentary days of the Rebellion?

Andor premieres September 21, 2022, on Disney+.