Andor, Disney Plus’ excellent Rogue One prequel series, brought back two more characters from Gareth Edwards’ 2016 movie in episode 8, “Narkina 5.” Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor has been here all along, of course (as has Genevieve O’Reilly’s Mon Mothma), but this week he was joined by an old friend and another special guest.
[Ed. note: Spoilers follow for Andor and Rogue One.]
“Narkina 5” is named after the planet that Andor, currently going by the terrific alias Keef Girgo, is imprisoned on. It’s a rough place with a terrifying floor manager played by a jacked Andy Serkis, and Cassian is assigned to a worktable with six other inmates.
One of those inmates will be familiar to Rogue One fans — Ruescott Melshi (Duncan Pow), who was one of the key team members who stole the Death Star plans in the climactic final act of Rogue One (he’s the one wearing the floppy hat and glasses). Melshi and Andor are close friends in Rogue One, and here in Andor we get to see their first meeting.
This version of Melshi is beaten down by the harsh conditions on Narkina 5, warning Cassian that freedom is a dream with the harsh new Imperial mandates, and that even if they promise release at a certain point, it would be foolish to believe them.
The other Rogue One guest was a bit higher profile: Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera. The extremist Rebel leader makes his first Andor appearance when Stellan Skarsgård’s Luthen meets with him. Luthen wants to sell him stolen Imperial parts in exchange for Gerrera meeting with someone named Anto Kreegyr — a proposition Gerrera is very reluctant to accept, both because of his opinion of Kreegyr and his desire to work alone.
Gerrera first appeared as a minor character in the Clone Wars TV show, before appearances in Rogue One, Rebels, The Bad Batch, and the Jedi: Fallen Order video game. Trained by Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and Ahsoka Tano, he is a divisive figure among the rebel forces in the Star Wars universe for his group’s (known as the Partisans) violent and extreme resistance tactics. In Rogue One, he is also the foster parent of protagonist Jyn Erso.
Andor is more than Easter eggs and references, which is what makes it such a thrilling watch and a refreshing change of pace for the Star Wars universe. And even in these moments it feels more true than opportunistic; both Melshi and Gerrera play important roles in the arcs of our main characters in Andor, and seeing those relationships develop over the course of the season and the show will be a real treat.