With half of the first season available to the world, Andor has quickly become one of the most pleasant Star Wars surprises. Lauded by fans for its mature approach and exceptional writing, Tony Gilroy's series is setting the bar higher for all live-action content to come.
Part of the show's appeal has been the breaking of new ground with the exploration of various original characters, made possible by a familiar story structure. Fans of The Clone Wars are well accustomed to the arc formula, which devoted three or four episodes to tell a larger, interconnected narrative. Andor has done so similarly, having focused the first three episodes on Ferrix and the subsequent arc on the Aldhani heist.
It's a format that's largely here to stay - particularly with Season 2, which will devote an arc per year in the Star Wars timeline leading directly into Rogue One. But there will be a slight shake-up before this approach becomes permanent. While discussing the remainder of the series, Gilroy indicated that the forthcoming episode will stand on its own.
Andor Episode 7 Breaks the Arc Structure
In an interview with Empire, creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy revealed that the "really interesting" upcoming seventh episode of Andor will put a pause on the story arc format:
“We’re not… We were almost perfect in this one where we do three and then you saw Episode 4. Episode 4 is part of 4, 5, and 6. They really go together. There’s an interstitial episode, 7, which is a really, really interesting episode.
Following the next episode, the series will return to the arc structure for the remainder of the season:
"And then there’s three episodes that do go together and then there’s the final two episodes.”
“Diego would be too old."
The scale of the show makes for an "overwhelming" development and production process, rendering a Season 3 or beyond something Gilroy "physically couldn't do:"
“Seeing four episodes does not prepare you for how massive the show is going to be and how abundant it’s going to be and how overwhelming it is to make. I don’t think anybody’s going to begrudge us only doing the two because you just physically couldn’t do it, I don’t think. I couldn’t.”
Rigorous as the creative work might be, Gilroy insists there was "very little adult supervision" and interference when the team added mature moments previously unseen in Star Wars into the show:
“We’ve had very little adult supervision along the way. No kidding. We are very much left to our own devices here. It’s a very small brain trust of people that figure out what to do.”
Gilroy touched on Syril Karn with IndieWire, promising that the character's bumpy journey will "continue" while noting the need to "prepare Kyle Soller for the kind of fandom" his performance might attract:
Yeah, that’s gonna continue. On the show, we were very interested to see how — and we’ve tried to prepare Kyle Soller for the kind of fandom that he may be attracting."
The showrunner describes Karn as a "very, very powerful character" that audiences can resonate with - but wouldn't go any further:
"It’s a very, very powerful character that he plays, [and if it goes well] I think there’s going to be people that are really, really into what [he’s dealing with] and what he’s going through. More than that, I won’t say."
What Can Fans Expect from Andor's Stand-Out Episode?
When Disney issued the official press release for Andor, there was a notable oddity with the directors slate. Given the emphasis on telling the story in arcs, or blocks, as Gilroy calls them, Benjamin Caron being listed as the director for episodes 7, 11, and 12 appeared to be an error.
Toby Haynes, who helmed the first arc on Ferrix, oversaw the arc of episodes 8, 9, and 10, per the release, making Caron's work on the seventh an odd duck. As it turns out, that was entirely intentional, as the final episodes of the season were only crafted to be a duo. But with Caron attached to 7 and the last two, there may be some connective tissue.
After being thrust into a new direction from Ferrix and learning to be part of something bigger than himself on Aldhani, it stands to reason that the next episode will be introspective for Cassian. The manifesto left for him by Nemik will certainly play a role in pushing Andor towards joining the Rebellion, but that commitment isn't likely to come until Season 1 concludes.
What Caron's episode 7 could offer, though, is more extensive flashbacks to Cassian's past. Footage from the trailers has shown clone troopers on Ferrix, who were decommissioned long before the main events of Andor. Another thread that needs to be dealt with is the death of Cassian's adoptive father, Clem - a memory that could be sparked by the Aldhani mission and musings of Nemik.
The completion of Andor's backstory may only serve to push him to find Luthen Rael for another mission, whatever the next arc has in store. While Cassian may put on a front that it's for mercenary work, episode 7 will see his heart push him towards fighting for what he believes in. When Caron's last episodes come around to conclude Season 1, the heavy lifting will already have been done to justify Cassian's choice to join the cause.
The Future of Andor's Supporting Cast
Every new character introduced in Andor has been fascinating, and Kyle Soller's Syril Karn is among the top. The former Pre-Mor Deputy Inspector was notably absent from "The Eye," but he figures to have a large role moving forward - perhaps even in episode 7.
Karn is on the brink of living in utter failure, but his desire for justice will undoubtedly push him towards the Empire and Denise Gough's Dedra Meero. His heart is in the right place, but the Imperial machine swallows everyone. Gilroy's comments about the fandom are intriguing, suggestive of a frenzy for Soller similar to what Adam Driver experienced for his strong portrayal of the conflicted Kylo Ren.
One has to figure that a character with a strong moral compass like Karn will eventually turn his back on the Empire. His journey from tight-ass perfectionist to a Rebel finding a mutual understanding with Cassian is something fans will deeply appreciate if well executed - and thus far, Gilroy and his team have shown no reason not to think that will be the case.
The creator has teased a high body count for the show, but Karn and Meero, Adria Arjona's Bix Caleen, and Stellan Skarsgard's Luthen Rael should at least make it to Season 2. Many of the adult themes have followed these characters, particularly as their stories intersect with Cassian's, and that will appear to continue without studio meddling.
For better or worse, Cassian Andor will eventually lose each of these people in his life. It will harden the man as a Rebel spy and weigh on his heart until he decides to join Jyn Erso in stealing the Death Star plans. His journey on its own is intriguing, but the supporting cast is the catalyst for the man Cassian is destined to become.
New episodes of Andor stream Wednesdays on Disney+.