What is ‘Andor’ about? Kenari reveals the show’s secret Star Wars politics

Andor introduced several new elements to Star Wars during its three-episode premiere, but one of the biggest additions has been the influx of new planets. From Morlana One to Ferrix, Andor doesn’t have a single familiar location yet, making a refreshing change from the supposed backwoods of Tattoine as host to an endless series of important adventures. Of all these new planets, the most interesting was Kenari, where Cassian Andor was born.

What is the story of Kenari and why have we never heard of it? Its existence in Star Wars offers far more than just a backdrop – it’s a turning point for the entire franchise.

The Kenari shown in the flashbacks of Andor is made to look foreign. There are no subtitles when Kenari characters speak and if you turn on subtitles you will only see “Speak Kenari”. This isn’t like the Star Wars planets we’ve seen in the past.

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But what happened to all the adults on the planet? Today we hear about a “mining accident” that wiped out the population, but is that just Reich propaganda? Did the Empire really take all the adults and draft them into the military?

Young Cassian on Kenari.Lucasfilm

These Kenari scenes underscore the colonial themes that have long simmered beneath the surface of the Star Wars saga. Every space exploration story inherently revolves around colonialism, as native populations come into contact with interstellar explorers, but Star Wars has often sidestepped the issue by showing planets long after they’ve been colonized.

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The very first planet we see in Star Wars, Tatooine, is the perfect example. Luke, his aunt and uncle live as moisture farmers alongside Tusken Raiders and Jawas, but humans were originally invaders and colonizers.

Even the Tatooine we know was created by colonialism.Lucasfilm

Andor does not hide the fact that Kenari culture is rich and unique. We see rituals we don’t understand and hear language that isn’t translated for us. Then all society will be wiped from the face of the planet save for Cassian and possibly his sister. When we see flashbacks to Kenari, we see her from Cassian’s point of view because he is the only one who still remembers her.

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The Kenari people, who are losing their culture due to Empire interference, recognize that colonialism is a central pillar that sustains the world-building of Star Wars. As Diego Luna has often reminded fans, Andor is a refugee story; the story of an unlikely survivor of a predatory regime who learns not only to thrive in harsh conditions, but to resist them.

Andor is now streaming on Disney+.

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