There are many themes that Andor is addressing in its first season, making it a thought-provoking story while providing quality entertainment as well. And one of those themes that’s being addressed is the issue of how to fight against evil.
To begin with, there’s the question of what a person should do in the face of evil. There is the temptation of some in the series to want to lay low, blend in, and hope the Empire doesn’t notice them. Or the temptation of others to want to retreat and run away from the grasp of the Empire. We see people in the series who are loyal to the Empire, and for various reasons, but we also see people like Clem and Cassian who dislike the Empire yet aren’t necessarily looking to fight. Clem’s plan is to put his head down and do his job, but he’s killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cassian’s plan is to run away from it and try to escape the Empire’s grasp, but just like Maarva told him would happen, there’s no such place. He winds up wrongly arrested while on a beach vacation, and unjustly sentenced to six years in prison.
The option that isn’t available to them, then, is to simply sit by and do nothing. We don’t know the whole story with Perrin, Mon Mothma’s husband, but so far it seems like he’s content to live in luxury and doesn’t really care how the Empire affects others. In light of the rising threat of the Empire, it makes sense why some people would prefer not to fight it but to blend in and try to survive, yet this series is showing us how that won’t work. The Empire’s tyranny will catch up to everyone, on every planet, and in the meantime there are others in the galaxy suffering under it at the moment. That’s what Mon Mothma realizes. That’s what Luthen Rael realizes. That’s what others realize, and what Cassian will truly come to embrace too.
Yet there’s a second question being raised in all of this, and it’s this: even if you decide to fight, how do you do it? I think of what Yoda told Ezra in Rebels, with Ezra asking how they can win if they don’t fight back “Win? Win,” Yoda ponders. “How Jedi choose to fight, the question is.” But that question is not just for Jedi alone; it is a question everyone must wrestle with. If Andor has established that good people must fight back against the Empire, it is also in the midst of showing us how people will do so in drastically different ways. We see the difference in the ways that Luthen and Mothma approach it, and Saw Gerrera will be introduced in the series at some point soon too. These are different methods, different philosophies, and there’s enough truth and merit in each one to make it compelling. Yet at the end of the day, the question must be how do you fight this kind of evil without becoming corrupted yourself and compromising your conscience? Luthen tells Mothma that she can’t. But is he right?
In all of this, I think Andor is addressing some great questions that will provide context for the whole rest of the saga, and in particular the original trilogy, by looking at the way to fight back against this kind of evil.