In the first three episodes of Andor, as the storyline that’s set in 5 BBY is being told, we also get several glimpses at flashbacks to Cassian’s youth.
As a child on Kenari, Cassian (then known as Kassa) is part of a tribe that witnesses a ship crash landing on their planet, and he joins a group in investigating. They find several dead men, but one of them is still alive and kills a member of the tribe. The others quickly kill the officer, and carry their deceased comrade back to their village. But Kassa stays behind, infiltrating the ship and taking out his anger on the controls.
That’s when Maarva Andor, her husband (Clem), and her droid (B2) find Kassa, having boarded the crashed ship to scavenge it. Maarva decides to take Kassa with them, and thus he gets new, adoptive parents. It’s a pivotal storyline in the opening episodes of this series, filling us in on key details about Cassian’s backstory. But there’s also a small detail that has had some Star Wars fans wondering what’s going on, and it pertains to what this crashed ship was up to in the first place.
Maarva says that the tribe “just killed a Republic officer,” and B2 is keeping Maarva and Clem updated on a “Republic frigate approaching” that is “orbiting now.” In other words, Maarva’s justification for taking Cassian is that, when the Republic arrives and finds that he’s responsible for the death of a Republic officer, they would kill him. So she’s saving his life.
But interestingly, the officers actually bear the emblem of the Separatists instead. And that has led some discussion about what’s going on here, and whether there’s more to the story than we’ve seen.
To that last point, I think the answer is absolutely. I’m quite confident that this isn’t a random coincidence, and I’m even more confident that it wasn’t a mistake. It’s not like Tony Gilroy and his team decided to have it be the Republic, but the costume department messed up and put the Separatist emblem on it. I’m quite sure of saying that. So I’m guessing there’s more to it that will be filled in.
I’m less confident about this, but I’d also guess that Maarva actually knows what’s going on. She has no reason to lie here, and she certainly seems like the time who might have some good intelligence about these matters. She knows about this ship that’s crash landed, she knows there’s some things worth scavenging ahead, and she knows that there’s another “Republic” transport arriving. There’s enough here to make us wonder how she knows what she knows.
So this has me wondering if this actually might be the Republic disguised as the Separatists. I could see a couple of possible scenarios as to why this might be the case. (1) It seems like this transport might be carrying some sort of biological or chemical substance or weapon, and if so it’s possible that the Republic would want it to be a covert operation in case they were caught. That way the Separatists look bad, not the Republic. (2) Or, another possibility, is that this happens at a specific point in the timeline. We don’t know when it takes place (just within the Clone Wars), but if it’s near the end of the war this could be a deliberate ploy by the Republic (by Palpatine) to drum up sympathy for the Republic by almost framing the Separatists as the ones responsible for this disaster.
But whatever the case, we’re also seeing a different take on the Republic. We’ve often seen them presented as the obvious good guys, but the Andors are people who seem to be aligned with the Separatists instead. They speak of the Republic killing Kassa, and they might be right. It would be interesting to explore the other side of the conflict a bit.
In all of this, I’m thinking that it’s very likely that we’re supposed to wonder about these things, and that future episodes will fill in the gaps quite a bit. There’s still a ton we don’t know about Maarva and about Cassian’s backstory, and I think we’ll come to learn that there’s more to it than we’ve seen so far.