Andor Exposes the Impact of Colonialism Through the Empire

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Andor.The plot thickens quickly Andor. After completing the gorgeous first arc in the third installment, the new war of stars Show carefully lays the groundwork for Cassian (Diego Luna) to eventually morph into the accomplished rebel spy we know to be Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. As expected, the overall tone of the series is highly political, emphasizing the gulf that exists between the might of the Galactic Empire and its subjects, and how profoundly the lives of ordinary people are affected under an authoritarian regime.

war of stars is at its best when it takes actual elements from our own world and discusses them as plot points. So it was with the original trilogy and its analogy to the war in Vietnam, the prequels criticized the war in Iraq and even the sequels addressed the rise of fascist movements after decades. Now, Andor continues this tradition by addressing one of the practices that shaped our world today: colonialism. In the four episodes released so far – but especially the fourth, “Aldhani” – the series effortlessly raises this theme, seeing the Empire colonize worlds, explore them to the point of exhaustion, and then let them happily rob them of their resources.


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The Mimban campaign

At the beginning of the episode, Luther is Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) and Cassian discuss joining the rebellion against the Empire – which is still not the Rebel Alliance, but is fast growing into it. During the conversation, Cassian reveals that he served as a cook in the Mimban campaign, a bloody and chaotic conflict that saw the Empire take over this world. We had seen that before in Solo: A Star Wars Storyas the young Han Solo (Alden Ehrenreich) was in the Infantry of the Imperial Army. Bounty hunter Beilert Valance also fought against this campaign, as seen in bounty hunter comics by ethan sacks.

As Cassian relates, the Empire made the people of Mimban fight among themselves. The planet had seen its fair share of conflicts during the Clone Wars and was once again the battlefield in a war over its natural resources. The planet was home to many species, and those who preferred the Empire’s presence were of great help to Imperial troops. The conflict eventually became so bloody that both Cassian and Solo abandoned their posts and deserted. Cassian even mentions being one of only 50 survivors.

The strategy of fomenting conflict within a nation’s population is one of the most commonly employed by colonialist forces. Of course, the power of the Empire could easily quell the resistance in Mimban, but it’s better to let the locals do most of the work – not only is it cheaper, but it also ensures that a faction allied with the colonizers emerges as the winner.

Throughout history there have been many instances when the presence of foreign colonizers divided people for their own benefit. The British used this strategy in many of their colonies at the height of their empire, most notably Nigeria and India. Even after the end of colonial rule, these tactics left a lasting mark on the population. The division of the Rwandan population into different ethnic groups by the Belgian colonial authorities, for example, led to the genocide in Rwanda decades later.


The tactics used by the Empire in Aldhani were slightly different than in Mimban, but no less effective. As Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) explained, more than 40,000 villagers lived in the Aldhani Highlands, and all of them were herded into the southern corporate zones by the Empire to work in factories and on construction sites for wages. Instead of natural resources, the Empire takes advantage of the planet’s strategic location. “Aldhani has the unfortunate trait of being close to nothing and not very far from everything, it’s a perfect distribution hub,” says Vel.

As it turns out, money is also used as a colonization tool. By promising easier access to basic necessities and the opportunity to improve their way of life, the empire drove people to leave the country and move to the city. The offer of progress is hard to resist, especially when combined with the prospect of climbing the social ladder. However, this rarely happens as providers usually do not intend for people to get to the same level as them. Money only works as an instrument of power when there is an imbalance and one side has more than the other.

Another important consequence of the imperial colonization strategy in Aldhani is the decay of local traditions. Vel tells Cassian that “there are still a few herders in the hills, nature lovers, mystics, dead ends,” people who still cling to the old traditions, but the Empire’s presence has all but swept away traces of local culture habits and immediately replaced them with the idea of ​​working for a living. The offer of a decent life through wage earning is usually enough to reconsider life in favor of a “true and superior” way of life.

In reality, this process took place mostly in Africa, where ancient cultures were decimated to accommodate the way of life of the European colonizers, making them rich while the locals became poorer. Latin America also saw most of its native peoples decimated by Portuguese and Spanish colonizers with the same intentions but also with a religious twist supported by the Catholic Church. Vel also mentions the remains of a temple as part of her mission to Aldhani, drawing a direct parallel to how religion and ideology are forced upon the natives through money.

Maintain your power

When talking about colonialism, it goes without saying that every colonial power strives to maintain its influence over its colonies. Always. It might eventually become independent, but the price a colony pays is often too high to maintain their self-sufficiency, and they only begin to fully develop as nations long afterward. in the war of starshowever, this is a far-off dream for most systems and planets in the galaxy, as the Empire is very effective at establishing and maintaining its presence in conquered territories.

So far all war of stars Movies and series set in the Imperial Era show different ways in which the Empire maintains its dominance and power in the galaxy. In the animated series The bad batch, we see Imperial Chain Codes being issued to every single citizen, a way to keep track and control people better. in the soloThe only way young Han can leave his homeworld of Corellia is to enroll in the Imperial Academy, as he simply cannot afford a ticket for official transport due to the social inequality between Imperials and their followers and the rest of the population. Villain One shows exactly how oppressive the Empire’s authority is, especially in Jedha. Now, Andor further explores this theme by showing the internal workings of Imperial dominance in worlds like Aldhani and beyond.

Andor starts new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+. Andor Exposes the Impact of Colonialism Through the Empire

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