Star Wars fans are definitely overly concerned about retcons, by and large. For the most part, a show coming along and offering a minor and innocent retcon isn’t that big of a deal, and it shouldn’t be made into one.
As an example, the vast majority of people watching the first three episodes of Andor surely didn’t even know that there was a small retcon that was included in the story. But even though it’s insignificant – maybe especially because of that – I was thrilled about the explanation given for it. I think it’s exactly the kind of attention to detail, and the kind of approach to retcons, that is much needed and very commendable.
Here’s what happened. The series explores Cassian’s backstory by including flashbacks to his youth, when he lived as a kid with his tribe on Kenari. But in the Rogue One Visual Dictionary, we read that Cassian was from Fest. So there’s an obvious discrepancy, and his home world has been changed. There’s no way around that.
And yet the show took care to, with just a brief moment of dialogue, give a perfectly reasonable explanation to it all. As the Pre-Mor Authority zeroes in on searching for a Kenari human male, Maarva questions Cassian about who he has told. “We have always said Fest,” she tells him. “Every doc I’ve ever submitted has always said you were born on Fest. Have you ever said anything other than Fest?” To that, he responds, “Officially, no, I don’t think so. But people, yes.” And he then admits that he was the one who let it slip that he was from Kenari.
It’s really a simple explanation, but I greatly appreciate how the episode took the time to address it. Cassian is from Kenari, but in order to protect his identity (for reasons that don’t seem immediately clear quite yet) Maarva and the rest of the Andors spread word to everyone wondering that he was actually from Fest. So, then, if the official documents were all part of a cover-up about his true homeworld, it makes sense why it’d show up in this reference book.
See, there’s really nothing significant that’s lost with Fest not being his home world, and it makes sense that this show would want to establish a new planet and a fuller backstory there. Because it sounds like Kenari has had quite the history. When Xanwan reads the report on Kenari to Cassian later, he says, “Kenari. Mid-rim. Abandoned after Imperial mining disaster. Mining. Everyone died. Abandoned and considered toxic. Imperial prohibition.” Creating a new world makes it easier to tell a brand new story that fits the story best, and I’m totally good with that. I’m not upset about this retcon, and that wouldn’t change even if they didn’t acknowledge it.
But the fact that they took the care to actually give us a perfectly good and totally understandable reason for the discrepancy in-universe is the kind of added detail and careful touch that helps to make the show so much stronger.