Andor: Why Kenari May Be Important to Star Wars History

Star Wars: Andor has premiered on Disney+, and with it, we finally get Cassian Andor's true origin story. MILD SPOILERS FOLLOW: As it turns out, Cassian Andor was just an adopted name and cover story: Cassian began as "Kassa," a young indigenous boy who was part of a forest tribe on the Mid Rim world of Kenari. Cassian's story may not spend a lot of time set on Kenari, but the planet is definitely at the heart of the character's entire motivation for being who he is, and doing what he inevitably does. 

On a more macro level, Kenari is also quickly becoming another pivotal part of Star Wars history. 

What Is Kenari? 

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

The Mid Rim world Kenari isn't well known or densely populated, but is inhabited by at least one tribe of forest-dwelling people. Cassian Andor came from that tribe, as did his younger sister. 

When Did the Kenari Disaster Happen?

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Clues after Andor's first three episodes include that "Kassa's" tribe of people seem to consistent only of children and older teens – a hint that something drastic may have happened to the adults of the planet. The timeline of Cassian's childhood isn't officially established, but since Andor starts around 5 BBY of the Star Wars timeline, and Cassian is a boy of about 10 (or older) in the flashbacks, it's not hard to imagine the flashbacks sequences are occurring soon after 19 BBY, which is when Revenge of the Sith is set. 

The ship that is seen crashing on the planet is referred to as a "Republic" ship, but the logos on the outfits of the dead engineers on the ship hint that this was the time when the "Empire" was still masking itself as The Republic – so again, that would place the time window within the transitional first years of Emperor Palpatine's rule, when Mid and Outer Rim planets were still blissfully unaware of the dark times unfolding.

Why Is Kenari Important to Star Wars?

(Photo: Lucasfilm)

Other clues from the series first episodes hint that some kind of mining or excavating project was being done on Kenari – at great risk to the native populace. By 5 BBY Kenari has been quarantined by the Empire as the site of a "mining accident" that resulted in toxins overtaking the planet. However, flashbacks show that the Empire was working with some kind of dangerous or poisonous substance, as exposure to it kills all the engineers on the ship – possibly resulting in the crash. 

Once Kassa's group kills one of the surviving engineers in self-defense, the young boy is saved by scrapper Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw), who takes Cassian off-world, knowing that the dead engineer with blow darts in his back will cause the "Republic" (Empire) to slaughter the entire population. It's a noble sentiment, but also one that may side-step a deeper secret... 

Rogue One showed how the Empire destroyed the Planet Jedha, where it mined the kyber crystals Jedi used in their lightsabers in order to build the Death Star laser. Orson Krennic and Grand Moff Tarkin destroyed Jedha's holy city in order to wipe out Saw Gerrera's resistance forces, but also as means of covering the tracks of the Death Star's construction. After the destruction of the Holy City, the Empire used the cover story of a mining accident to keep people away. 

That's all to say: it seems like Kenari could've been another pivotal site for the Empire's engineering and/or weapons development plans. The question is: what toxic substance were they working with on Kenari, and what terrible purpose did it ultimately serve?

Those answers could become key details of the larger Star Wars Saga

Andor streams new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.