In Episode 6 titled "The Eye," Cassian and a band of rebels successfully infiltrate and then escape an Imperial base on Aldhani. But the Empire isn't the only threat he and the team face.
Tony Gilroy Talks Cassian Committing Murder
Played by Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Skeen is a seemingly loyal Rebel with serious doubts about Cassian from the start.
However, once the rebels complete their covert mission and appear to be safe, Skeen tries to persuade Cassian to betray the team with him to which, Cassian responds by simply shooting Skeen.
Since this occurs early in Cassian's own rebel conversion, the move surprised, and even confused, some Star Wars fans.
But according to Gilroy, it's the result of Cassian weighing the costs and running through "a very rapid mathematical algorithm:"
“Cassian’s doing a very rapid mathematical algorithm in his mind about what [betraying the others] would mean and what the risk would be and what his future would be. I’m sure that there’s a moment where he is considering it."
This isn't the first time Star Wars audiences witnessed Cassian shooting another in this way.
The character made his Star Wars debut in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by shooting an informant.
But at the time at which Episode 6 of Andor occurs, Cassian "is not a revolutionary," even though there "is some respect and interest" in the Rebellion:
"Cassian just wants to get his cut and get out. He is not a revolutionary at this point, but he’s seen their commitment and there is some respect and interest [in the rebellion] taking effect. Also, how could he trust this son of a b****? If he’s willing to do that to them, what else is he going to do? He’s dangerous.”
“I know what that is. But no. That’s not on my ledger while I’m working.”
Why This Brutal Andor Scene Works
Soon after Andor began streaming on Disney+, many Star Wars fans elevated Tony Gilroy to the small upper echelon of Star Wars creators in whom fans trust.
Much of the reason comes down to due to Gilroy's writing and understanding of his characters, and his explanation for why Diego Luna's Cassian shot Skeen is a prime example.
That moment between Cassian and Skeen is a layered twist. Not only has the audience experienced a false sense of security, but Skeen was a character few suspected, and few expected Cassian's reaction as well.
But in addition to shocking the audience three times in a single scene, the moment proves Cassian is still a survivalist. His arc has only just begun.
And, even though his mental calculations - or that "algorithm" - is motivated by self-preservation in this scene, by Rogue One, he won't be making the hard calls for himself but rather the Rebellion.
All in all, this Episode 6 closer serves as a key Cassian character check-up ahead of the second half of the 12-episode season.
The fact it blindsided audiences and upped the ante of the episode is both a bonus and a credit to Gilroy's craftsmanship.
All episodes of Andor Season 1 are streaming now on Disney+.