Star Wars series Andor came to Disney Plus on Wednesday, with the first three episodes landing together to give us a feature-length opening. The series is set five years before spinoff movie Rogue One, which took place directly before the events of original Star Wars film A New Hope.
It dives into the backstory of the darkly heroic Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who’ll go on to become a hero of the Rebel Alliance as it faces down the totalitarian Empire. This is a particularly bleak era in the Star Wars universe, with rebel forces scattered around the galaxy as Emperor Palpatine’s forces steadily crush ordinary people in their grip.
Let’s get to know Cassian and company by recapping the major events of this opening trio of episodes — a threecap, if you will. Prepare to enter the Rebel Alliance of SPOILERS.
Tears in the Rain
MORLANA ONE — On this cool-looking sci-fi dystopia of a planet, the series’ extremely Blade Runner opening sets up the emotional stakes, as Cassian tries to find his lost sister in a brothel. This reveals that he’s from the planet Kenari, which we see in flashbacks through these first three episodes.
He doesn’t have any luck finding his sibling, but catches the attention of two corporate security force goons (Corpos) who might as well have “BULLY” labels stuck on their foreheads. They try to shake down the wrong guy in Cassian, and he accidentally kills one and shoots the other as he begs for his life.
It mirrors our first encounter with Cassian in Rogue One, where he guns down a rebel informant instead of letting him fall into the hands of the Empire. Our hero isn’t part of the Rebel Alliance in Andor, so he kills these dudes to save his own skin rather than for the cause.
This proves to be the show’s inciting incident, since it catches the attention of the one zealous Corpo officer and a rebel recruiter.
CORPORATE SECURITY HEADQUARTERS — That Corpo officer turns out to be Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), who’s looking extremely well put together as he presents his report on the killings to his supervisor, Chief Hyne (Rupert Vansittart, whom you might recognize as Game of Thrones’ Lord Yohn Royce).
Hyne immediately recognizes that the two dead Corpo boys were dirtbags who got themselves killed. He reckons the incident should be swept neatly under the rug for all eternity, and offers a lovely cover story.
“I suspect they died rushing to aid someone in distress. Nothing too heroic, we don’t need a parade,” he says. “They died being helpful. Something sad but inspiring in a mundane sort of way.”
I’m mundanely inspired just hearing it. Hyne knows that highlighting Corpo corruption will give the Empire an opening to step in and seize control of the Morlani system. Classic colonialism, in an era when Palpatine’s totalitarian regime is expanding.
The naive Syril doesn’t consider the bigger picture and is quietly disgusted at the chief’s willingness to look the other way. On the face of it, it’s hard to argue with him — two of his colleagues were murdered. Soon empowered by Hyne’s absence, he gathers an enthusiastic but incompetent security team to hunt Cassian down.
Welcome to Ferrix
FERRIX, MORLANI SYSTEM — The bulk of these first three episodes focus on the drudgery of life on this tough industrial world, and the deliberate pacing shows that Andor is refreshingly patient with its universe building. Characters work ordinary jobs, and the more enterprising ones have side hustles (or multiple side hustles, in our hero’s case).
We’re also introduced to a bunch of characters in Cassian’s orbit, and it isn’t always direct about who they are. Let’s run through them so we can keep track:
Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw) is Cassian’s adoptive mom. She and her late husband, Clem, saved him from Republic forces on Kenari a few decades ago, during the Clone Wars (as seen in the flashbacks). Maarva isn’t in the best of health, but her defiant reaction to the Corpo raid suggests some of that old fire is still burning.
B2EMO — AKA Bee-Two or Bee (Dave Chapman) — is Maarva and Cassian’s extremely good droid. He’s a bit like a lovable old dog; still charming, but maybe not as reliable as he used to be. His boxy design is visually delightful, his color reminds me of the space suits in 2001: A Space Odyssey and that hound is just plain rude for peeing on him.
Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) is Cassian’s loyal friend and former flame. She’s running a busy garage, and acts as a fence to connect stolen goods with buyers. One such buyer happens to be a recruiter for the rebellion.
Timm Karlo (James McArdle) is Bix’s employee and current boyfriend, whose jealousy leads him to rat Cassian out to the security forces and ultimately gets him killed.
Big shoutout to the unnamed guy who strikes the gong/hammers the anvil to get everyone in town moving. He’s credited as the Time Grappler (Neil Bell), and makes everything 100% more atmospheric.
Kassa from Kenari
KENARI, THE PAST — “Suddenly the Rebellion is real for you. Some of us live it. I’ve been in this fight since I was 6 years old,” Cassian tells Jyn in Rogue One. “You’re not the only one who lost everything. Some of us just decided to do something about it.”
We learn a huge amount about Cassian in these episodes, including the childhood he alluded in Rogue One. Flashbacks reveal his childhood on Kenari in the time when the Galactic Republic ran things rather than the Empire.
Here, our hero goes by Kassa (played by Antonio Viña) and is living as part of a tribe along with his sister, Kerri (Belle Swarc).
I love that the Kenari flashbacks don’t have subtitles, since it forces you to pay attention to characters’ body language. It’s clear that Cassian was a bit of a sneaky chancer even as a kid, getting into situations where he doesn’t necessarily belong — like joining the group of older kids to check out the ship that crashes.
After one of the children is killed by a trigger-happy officer, Kassa checks out the vessel alone and finds everyone on board was killed by gas (presumably released when the ship sustained the damage that made it crash). It’s likely these people were part of a mining effort, probably strip-mining Kenari’s resources.
He runs into a young Maarva and Clem Andor, along with Bee (back when the droid was shiny and new), who’ve seemingly boarded the downed ship in search of salvage. Knowing the Republic is on the way and will kill Kassa if they find him on board, Maarva decides to take him with them. This is kinda kidnapping; I wonder if it was ever a source of tension between Maarva and Cassian?
The people on the ship have the logo of the Confederacy of Independent Systems (aka the Separatists, led by Count Dooku) on their uniforms, suggesting that they were transporting material for the war against the Republic. In the present, we learn that Kenari was “abandoned after an Imperial mining disaster. Abandoned and considered toxic — Imperial prohibition.” The Empire may have tried to mine the planet after the Clone Wars.
FERRIX — “Insurrection, destruction of Imperial property, assault on Imperial soldier.” Cassian’s rap sheet hints at his anti-Imperial leanings, and his attempt to sell a stolen starpath unit (which looks a lot like Darth Vader’s chest piece and contains Imperial coordinates) puts him on the radar of rebel recruiter Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård).
The show turns extremely intense and awesome when their paths cross. Luthen is impressed with Cassian’s ability to use the Imperials’ arrogance to slip right through their defenses, and pushes the younger man to join the rebels.
“These days will end, Cassian Andor. The way they laugh, the way they push through a crowd. The sound of that voice telling you to stop, to go, to move. Telling you to die,” he growls, oozing charisma with every syllable. “Don’t you want to fight these bastards for real?”
They flee the Corpo security goons’ effort to track Cassian down, which goes completely off the rails when the people of Ferrix push back against their bullying — the banging on metal is intimidating as heck.
The third episode’s final moments see Cassian fleeing Ferrix with Luthen, while Syril looks shell-shocked that his zeal has ruined his career, Bix mourn’s Timm’s death and Maarva sits with Bee in her cold apartment.
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Rogue thoughts, unanswered questions and Easter eggs
Where is Cassian’s sister? How and when did she get off Kenari?
Clem, Cassian’s adoptive father (Gary Beadle), was hanged by the Imperials, but why?
Composer Nicholas Britell (known for his work on Moonlight and Succession) gives this show an awesome synth sci-fi opening theme, especially as it bleeds into the Blade Runner aesthetics of the first scene. It changes slightly in each episode too.
This show takes place “5 BBY,” which stands for “Before Battle of Yavin.” This is the climactic skirmish of A New Hope, where Luke Skywalker blew up the Empire’s first Death Star battle station, and a pivotal moment in the Star Wars universe. It’s when everyone realized that the Rebel Alliance wasn’t just foolin’ around.
For prequel context, Andor happens 14 years after the Empire seized control of the galaxy in Revenge of the Sith and four years after Obi-Wan Kenobi’s battle with Darth Vader in the Disney Plus series.
It’s unclear when the flashbacks take place — reference books say Cassian was 26 in Rogue One, so he’d be 21 in the present day part of the show. If he’s been fighting since he was 6, that’d place the flashbacks 15 years before that — the period when the Clone Wars were raging throughout the galaxy. Both Kassa and Cassian look older than those ages, I guess he’s lived a hard life.
If so, the intense mining operation on Kenari might be linked to the Republic desperately gathering raw materials to sustain the war effort. Thanks to William Devereux, host of the Star Wars-centric Ion Cannon podcast, for helping me organize my timeline thoughts.
Cassian’s jacket is extremely cool. Would it be too sci-fi to wear in real life? Maybe Columbia Sportswear or some other fashion brand will release one.
“No weapons. No comms. No credit. No nonsense.” The bouncer’s words are ones to live by.
Syril is the kind of a character we regularly see in Star Wars novels — a middle manager with an inflated sense of importance and low self-esteem who steadily goes off the deep end, making life hell for the heroes. Kyle Soller performs this role magnificently.
Add Timm to the list of boring Star Wars names along with Luke and Ben. At least the extra m gives it a bit of sci-fi flair.
This show alludes strongly to sexuality in Bix and Timm’s relationship, as well as the brothel in episode 1. The latter is a familiar sci-fi image, but Star Wars has traditionally been pretty sexless.
It’s really cool that Bee is showing his age through a data lag and acknowledging that lying requires more processing power. Classic Star Wars droids R2-D2 and C-3PO are in service for decades, but they’re clearly well cared for. Cassian and Maarva don’t have the money to do so with Bee.
Cassian’s papers say he’s from Fest, a snowy world you visit in the non-canon 1995 video game Dark Forces. In the current continuity, it’s only previously been mentioned in By Whatever Sun, a story written by EK Johnston and Ashley Eckstein in 2017 anthology From a Certain Point of View, and some reference books.
The one Corpo’s slow clap after Syril’s limp speech is glorious. Ouch.
You might be wondering why Cassian’s fellow Rogue One hero Jyn Erso doesn’t have a show. Between that movie and its prequel novels Catalyst and Rebel Rising, her life story has been pretty comprehensively told. Catalyst in particular will make you way more invested in Rogue One’s Erso family and Director Krennic.
The shipyard at the start makes me think of the start of 2019 video game Jedi: Fallen Order.
The dropships used by the Corpos look like converted Republic Gunships, as first seen in Attack of the Clones.
“Rule No. 1: Never carry anything you don’t control.” Luckily, we don’t all carry devices controlled by giant megacorporations in real life. That’d be ridiculous.
Sergeant Linus Mosk (Alex Ferns) says the word “shit” when the Corpo operation starts to go sideways. It’s the first time we’ve heard that word in Star Wars, which normally uses its own selection of sci-fi swears (like “bantha poodoo”). This ain’t your daddy’s galaxy far, far away.
A hosting company has sued the Indian government, challenging newly implemented orders Targeting virtual private networks. As first reported by Enttrackr’s Aroon Deep On Wednesday, Pune-based company SnTHostings argued in its petition to the Delhi High Court that the new government guidelines undermine the fundamental operation of VPNs by requiring companies to track and store user data.
Although VPN services for India’s users are still operated remotely, SnTHosting’s lawyers pointed to the withdrawal of VPN servers in the country by major providers such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark. The firm said the order by India’s Computer Emergency Response Team, known as CERT-in, not only belies the whole point of VPNs, but also defies precedents protecting online privacy and violates the country’s constitutionally protected business rights.
“VPN services anonymize outbound traffic by encrypting online activity. This ensures that financial data such as bank account, credit card (and) debit card details are not accessible to third parties, thus promoting cybersecurity,” the company’s lawyers said in the 33-sided suit.
Other VPN companies have continued to remove servers within Indian borders in response to the CERT-in policy, including providers PureVPN and ProtonVPN. The latter has offered a surveillance countermeasure called Indian Smart Routing, which gives the user an Indian IP address from servers physically located in Singapore.
SnTHosting’s lawsuit is scheduled to begin on December 9th.
what just happened From the start, there were fears that Stadia would end up in Google’s notorious graveyard of terminated services. Those fears have now come true, but the death of Stadia is far from the end of cloud gaming as competing services continue to expand.
Google has announced It will shut down Stadia permanently on January 18, 2023. The company has already shut down all Stadia-related transactions in its store, and it is prepare full refunds on most Stadia purchases.
Anyone who purchased Stadia hardware like the controller or a Stadia Chromecast bundle through the Google Store should be eligible for a refund by January 18th. Unfortunately, those who bought Stadia products through retail stores like Best Buy are out of luck.
The company will also refund Stadia games and in-game transactions, but not Stadia Pro subscriptions. Current Pro subscribers can continue to use premium features for free until the date of shutdown.
Stadia was launched in 2019 to play high-end games over the cloud without spending hundreds of dollars on a gaming console or powerful PC. The service included a free tier, a subscription with a selection of games, and a library of titles that could be purchased outside of the subscription.
Unfortunately, Stadia struggled to find a large enough audience interested in its games and not preferring to run them locally on console or PC. Google shut down Stadia’s first-party game studio in February 2021.
A year later the company panned Stadia plans to offer backend cloud services to companies like Peloton, Capcom, and Bungie while maintaining its customer-centric streaming service. Google will continue to use Stadia’s underlying technology for this purpose after next January, and will also use it to support YouTube, Google Play and augmented reality technology.
It wasn’t until the end of July that Google denied reports that Stadia has shut down, but it seems like a lot can change in just two months.
Meanwhile, other cloud gaming services like Nvidia’s GeForce Now and Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming are showing no signs of slowing down. Earlier this year, both services offered a workaround for playing Fortnite on iOS after Apple banned the title from its App Store. GeForce Now and Xbox Cloud are also coming for devices like Samsung TVs and Logitech’s forthcoming G Cloud handheld.
Customizable sound isn’t something I’d expect from a pair of affordable earbuds, but the Deluxe Air3 headphones pack a surprising array of features. Thanks to a range of in-app controls, you can tailor it to your own musical preferences, including adaptive EQ technology.
Combine that with gaming mode, a loud, punchy sound profile, and a small, sleek charging case, and you’ve got a superb pair of earbuds that suit you best iPhone. With all of that, the reasonable price is enough to seal the deal, especially if your budget is tight. Here are the facts about price and availability:
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Earbuds: Price and Availability
SoundPEATS earbuds are available from several major retailers, including Amazon, Walmart, and Newegg. The Air3 Deluxe model costs around $50, although the best deal you’ll find right now is at Walmart, where you can pick it up for $48. It’s available in either black or white colorways, and the white one looks quite similar to Apple’s AirPodsif you’re into it
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Earbuds: Big bang for little money
When it comes to audio accessories, the most important thing is the sound. The SoundPEATS Wireless Air3 Deluxe Earbuds deliver surprisingly good sound quality for this price range. They have a lot of volume capacity; In fact, these earbuds are LOUD. You may want to use them with Apple’s headphone safety settings to ensure they don’t get too loud. Sound is clear and detailed, with a reasonably wide soundstage that sounds great in spatial audio.
If you listen to hip-hop or other bass-heavy music, you’ll find that these earbuds put out a deep, extra punchy bass you can almost feel. Some songs even seem a bit bass-heavy. If you love good deep bass then you probably won’t mind, but there are also several ways to adjust the EQ on the Air3 earbuds to find a sound profile you like better. That’s one of the things I like most about these earbuds.
SoundPEATS offers a companion app that allows you to tweak and customize the way you hear and use the earbuds. Not only does it offer an adaptive EQ that adapts the sound to your listening habits, but it also allows you to create a custom EQ profile so you can tune the equalizer to your liking. There are also ways to customize touch controls, in-ear detection, and usage settings within the app.
In addition to good sound quality and custom controls, the SoundPeats Air3 Deluxe Earbuds also feature a game mode and ENC (Environmental Noise Cancellation) during phone calls. That means they’re great for both gaming and working from home. Game Mode is a low-latency setting that ensures perfect synchronization with the game’s visual graphics and sound effects. ENC, on the other hand, uses four microphones to isolate your voice during a call so others can hear you over any background noise. Extras like these only add to the fact that you can use the earbuds for a variety of activities beyond just listening to music and videos.
Finally, after considering all the features these earbuds have to offer, you have to admit that the price is surprisingly cheap. Most headphones under the 60 euro mark leave a lot to be desired, especially in terms of sound quality. I was surprised and pleased with the sound quality of the Air3 Deluxe and the additional custom features and benefits that came with it.
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Earbuds: Tiresome for little ears
While this isn’t a problem with the earbuds themselves, the fact that I have a small and oddly shaped ear canal causes me a problem when wearing these. The traditional design means there’s no option to swap out the earbuds, and after a few hours of wearing the Air3 Deluxe buds I start to feel some ear fatigue. This is the same issue I’ve had with AirPods and many other earbuds, so it might just be me. Luckily these allow me to wear them loosely without inserting them fully and they hold up pretty well. So as long as I don’t insert them all the way into the ear canal, the feeling of fatigue can be avoided.
And while the charging case is small and slim enough to fit in even the smallest jean pocket, it doesn’t support wireless charging. I’ve gotten used to charging all my devices on mine Wireless charger for multiple devices, so this is a slight annoyance. At least it charges quite quickly via USB-C cable
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Earbuds: Competition
Although there are many wireless earbuds on the market, they vary greatly in price, features, and sound quality. I haven’t found many brands that offer decent sound quality and lots of extra features in a similar price range to the SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe. However, a very similar example is the JBL Tune 225TWS. This set of earphones also has good sound quality with nice booming bass, as well as an accompanying app for adjusting EQ and sound profile. Like the Air3, the JBL set doesn’t offer case wireless charging or active noise cancellation, although it does have ENC for phone calls. It’s a comparable product, but the JBL 225TWS is $10 more expensive. So if I had to choose between the two, I’d save $10 and go for the Air 3 earbuds.
SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Earbuds: Should You Buy It?
You should buy it if…
You need affordable earphones with good sound quality
You like a bit of bass in your music
You also use your earbuds for gaming or virtual meetings
You shouldn’t buy it if…
They have exceptionally small or oddly shaped ear canals
You need a charging case that charges wirelessly
For anyone looking for affordable earbuds that offer quality sound and additional features, these are an excellent choice. You won’t find the same sound quality and customization options for a similar price. Since the Air 3 Deluxe Earbuds also offer a game mode and ENC for phone calls, they are also great for gamers and home workers. Although they caused some ear fatigue for me, these should be perfectly comfortable for anyone who likes the fit Apple’s AirPods.
To me, the Air3 Deluxe is an ideal purchase for audiophiles on a tight budget, especially if you like strong, punchy bass. Hip-hop and classic rock sound beautiful on these earbuds, especially in spatial audio. For everyone else, the in-app EQ controls make it easy to tailor the sound to suit your musical tastes. This is a unique set of features that offer great value for money.
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SoundPEATS Air3 Deluxe Earphones
Bass lovers can rejoice
SoundPEATS brings big sound for a small price. Along with good sound quality and extra bass, you can enjoy custom EQ controls and low-latency gaming audio.