Rebels with a cause

Will Andor de-canonize Star Wars Rebels? Here's what the showrunner says

Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.

There’s a lot of new Star Wars media coming down the pipeline, which means more and more of the Star Wars timeline is getting filled in. From The Acolyte establishing what the Sith looked like a century before the prequels to Ahsoka bridging the gap between The Mandalorian and the sequel trilogy, it feels like we’ll soon have all the information we could possibly want.

But there’s bound to be some overlap as the gaps are filled in. Andor, which is set five years before Rogue One, has the potential to overwrite some of the fan-favorite series Rebels, which covers a similar timeframe. Luckily, showrunner Tony Gilroy has thought about this problem.

In an interview with SFX Magazine, Gilroy addressed fan concern about Rebels potentially losing its canonical status by pointing out that Star Wars has always had overlapping canons. From the formerly official Star Wars Legends to the dubious canon of the holiday special to other “official” work, there’s plenty of space for Rebels to live in.

“Within Star Wars, within Wookiepedia, there’s got to be four or five levels of canon,” Gilroy said. “There’s film canon, cartoon canon, fan-fiction canon and all these different things - and for the larger issues we deal with Pablo Hidalgo.”

Andor Lore Adviser Pablo Hidalgo onstage at Star Wars Celebration 2016. Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Pablo Hidalgo is the Star Wars Lore Advisor, and yes, that’s his official job title. He’s a member of the Lucasfilm Story Group, which is the brain trust that decrees what is and isn’t canonical in Star Wars. Gilroy, who’s best known for writing the Bourne Trilogy, isn’t exactly the biggest Star Wars fan, so knowing there was someone on hand to answer any canonical questions is a comfort.

In fact, Gilroy was insistent that Andor wouldn’t reverse any existing parts of the canon. He described Mon Mothma’s role in the series as an expanded role to how she cultivates her own rebellion, saying “It’s not that we’re reversing canon or anything, we’re just going to tell you that, wow, you had no idea what some people were really about - and maybe you don’t understand why she’s doing it all.”

Andor could overwrite Rebels, but don’t lose sleep over it.Lucasfilm

Gilroy is clearly taking the Star Wars canon seriously, and the broader strokes of Rebels will remain untouched even if some of the minor details may change. With Sabine Wren appearing in Ahsoka, we may even see some familiar faces from the animated series make their live-action debut in Andor.

As different as Andor may feel so far, it’s just another Star Wars series like all the others. Though the initial plot may feel isolated, it’s only one chapter in a greater story, and it doesn’t take precedence over any other franchise elements. And even if some of the finer points of Rebels are rendered unofficial, that won’t change how much love the show gets from fans.

Andor premieres September 21, 2022 on Disney+.