If you’re familiar with Star Wars, or with many other literary and cinematic works such as The Lord of the Rings, The Wizard Of Oz, Iron Man, The Matrix, Lost or The Lion King, you’ve come to be pretty familiar with the a common template of stories, hero myth pattern studies popularized by Joseph Campbell: The Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth. While divided into several steps, all of which are incredibly flexible, it has three main parts that can be easily summed up as 1) The Separation 2) The Initiation 3) The Return. These are the fundamental components of each Hero’s Journey, and they can be applied in a number of ways to strengthen, examine, and develop vastly different narratives on vastly different subjects.
With the first three episodes of Andor having been released, it becomes clear how Cassian’s journey has, for now, managed to fit the steps of the journey included in The Separation. It’s interesting to notice how a show with such a tonal departure from the most recent set of Star Wars properties, still manages to capture the essential spirit of the franchise. With little to no bells and whistles, it demonstrated that there are a number of valid approaches that can be taken when developing a project within this universe, as long as the true foundations that led to the franchises’ success are still addressed and given room to serve the story being told.
- Ordinary World
The first step isn’t as much a step as it is a starting point. Although it may be hard to qualify Cassian’s life when we find him as ordinary, it is still the life that he has become accustomed to. Living in Ferrix, scouring the galaxy for his long-lost sister. His attempts to lay low when traveling to other planets like Morlana One are obvious, all things that help to clearly define the world he lives in.
- Call to Adventure
The moment when he must decide whether or not to take a step outside his comfort zone, in order to answer the appeal of his inner quest, comes when Cassian, still on Morlana One, is faced by the two Pre-Mor Authority employees. By deciding to engage them, and later to kill them off in order to leave no witnesses, Cassian clearly goes beyond his initial mission statement and, even if inadvertently, sets in motion events that will lead to him leaving his ordinary life behind.
While making preparations to leave Ferrix for good, Cassian decides to meet with Bix Caleen’s contact, Luthen Rael. Someone who initially was to only serve the purpose of handing Cassian the necessary credits to follow through with his intentions of leaving his life behind, ends up offering Cassian something more: the opportunity to fight the Empire not as an individual, but as part of something greater. Cassian, being true to himself, initially refuses to do so, questioning Rael’s true reasons and how futile such an endeavor would be.
- Meeting with the Mentor
This is also the moment where Cassian, albeit unbeknownst to him, meets what is sure to become an essential figure in his forming years as a Rebel intelligence officer. Luthen Rael demonstrates to have a special interest in Cassian, admiring his capabilities and basically offering himself to provide him with all the tools that will allow him to become the fighter he was always meant to be.
- Crossing the Threshold
When leaving Ferrix, Cassian is overwhelmed by memories of him leaving his home planet of Kenari, knowing that his life is about to change, maybe even more than it did then. At this point, Andor genuinely enters the domain of adventure, stepping outside of his world’s known bounds and into a perilous new world with unknown laws and boundaries.
The next step.
Following these initial steps in the Andor storyline, and if the Hero’s Journey is to continue, Cassian will undergo an Initiation of sorts, where a Road of Trials will come before him, as he proves himself worthy of continuing on the path that The Separation has led him down. It will be interesting to understand how the way his story develops in Rogue One will affect the way Andor’s structure over its two seasons is approached. Will Rogue One serve as a metaphorical Ressurection and Return, or will those final steps be addressed in the series with the movie serving as a worthy epilogue to the story of Cassian Andor?