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What Star Wars: Andor teaches us about rebellion

Lessons about rebellion and resistance from Star Wars: Andor.

Andor Season 1
Image credit: Lucasfilm

What does it mean to rebel? The word has been said so many times throughout the Star Wars saga that some of us might take it for granted. Rebellion is more than a team name for the heroes, it’s an idea. It’s about taking down an oppressive force and overcoming adversity. The Disney+ series Star Wars: Andor explored these themes, showing us the difficult choices that come with rebellion.

The discussion was a central topic at the 2023 San Diego Comic-Con in a provocative panel called Star Wars Andor: Making a Rebel, Making a Rebellion. The spirited discussion explored what rebellion means, and what drives people to do it.

“Terms like rebellion and resistance always felt like great titles for the group. It wasn’t really until we got to Rogue One and Andor that those words started to get a little more meaning,” Jake Rowlett (San Diego State University) noted. “It’s how you find your place in the system, and actions you can take that throw a wrench in it.”

Robert A. Dagnall (San Diego State University) spoke about the Galactic Empire’s role in shaping rebels.

“It’s not like the Empire gives you a choice. The Empire is a progressive machine that gradually invades every part of everyone’s life. They don’t ever step back. They don’t ever step down. Eventually they are going to affect you, and oppress your life as well,” Dagnall noted.

Desmond Hassing (San Diego State University) reminded us that rebellion is also about self-preservation.

“To resist is to persevere. It is a way to naturally complete and continue your own existence. But rebellion isn’t resistance, it’s a roll of the dice. It’s not about protecting your own personal self; it’s about attempting to create something better than what currently exists,” Hassing said.

Author and biologist J. Dianne Dotson explored the relationship between rebellion and hope.

“Rebellions are built on hope, and hope is a choice. When an empire gives you no choice, you can take action. You always have a choice whether you want to go along with being oppressed, with being abused, with being forgotten, with being less than. You have a choice always in how you act, and you have a choice for hope. You can build a rebellion on that alone, but you can’t do it alone.”

“How much do you have to take before you start to rebel,” Hassing asked. “One of the reasons that we accept oppression from any type of circumstances, is because it’s become a habit to do so. You don’t start a rebellion by handing someone a rifle and telling them to rebel and find someone to shoot. You do it by teaching them habits of resistance.”

.From the captivating discussions on the importance of rebellion in storytelling to the insightful exploration of lessons drawn from the series, attendees were left with a renewed appreciation for the power of rebellion as a driving force for change. As we reflect on the panel's lessons, let us remember that rebellion is not just confined to a galaxy far, far away, but holds the potential to ignite hope and inspire action in our own lives. May the force of rebellion continue to guide us towards a brighter future.

Not done with Star Wars yet? Dive into the films and TV shows with our Star Wars watch order, or debate on which was the best with our ranked list of the best (and worst) Star Wars movies. And since it's now upon us, follow along with Popverse's coverage of The Acolyte.

About Comic-Con International: San Diego 2023



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Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Joshua Lapin-Bertone: Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.


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