What Makes Cassian Andor a Good Spy? The International Spy Museum Tells All

Andor Screening

Washington, DC’s International Spy Museum hosted an after-hours screening and discussion of the highly anticipated premiere of Andor season 1.

Spoiler Alert: This article discusses plot points for the first three episodes of Andor.

On the heels of the highly anticipated premiere of the Disney Plus series Andor, the International Spy Museum in Washington, DC celebrated with a special screening and discussion on September 21, 2022. The museum is no stranger to events that discuss espionage in popular culture. They have also previously hosted discussions analyzing espionage in Star Wars, from A New Hope to Rogue One.

The overall experience was well done, featuring a Stormtrooper photo opportunity, a raffle of Andor merch, hors d’oeuvres, and a drink bar. Getting to view the series’ first three episodes with a crowd really added to the experience. After the screening, the museum hosted an espionage-themed panel with Star Wars and Intelligence expert Dr. Vince Houghton.

The panel opened with a discussion of aspects of the first three episodes. When asked about how he acquired the Imperial artifact he tries to sell, Cassian explains that he infiltrated the Empire and avoided suspicion by blending in. Houghton explained that real-world spies can infiltrate top secret areas by simply acting like they belong there. Most people don’t question those who blend in and any questions by security guards can be resolved by pulling rank on them.

On the nature of the Empire in the series, Houghton compared the workings of the Empire to real fascist regimes. He noted that historical regimes have used corporations to help maintain control. In addition, he asserted that the series’ villains are very accurately written for a fascist establishment like the Empire.

Houghton took time to discuss other aspects of espionage in the first three episodes. These include Bix sending a coded message to Rebellion leader Luthen to bring him to meet Cassian, Luthen’s process in recruiting Cassian to the Rebellion, and Luthen’s own work to confirm that Cassian is not actually an Empire spy attempting to dangle information to the Rebellion. Houghton indicated that all these instances are accurate to real-world espionage.

Though Cassian and Luthen escape the Empire’s officers in an impressive action sequence, Houghton told the audience that real-life operations are not action-packed. The most successful operations are ones that nobody knows occurred, and leaving a trail of bodies behind would more likely be grounds for firing than celebration.

When asked about Cassian’s potential as a spy, Houghton indicated that his ability to act well under pressure and easily lie makes him a good candidate for the Rebellion. On the other hand, Houghton argued that his temper and the hints of womanizing presented in the first three episodes would be a detriment to him in how things operate in our reality.

Despite taking place in a galaxy far, far away, much of the Star Wars universe draws parallels to our world. The International Spy Museum’s Andor screening and discussion was a fun experience that really brought these parallels to light.

Did you watch the premiere of Andor?

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Author: Jessica Wolff

Jessica Wolff is a graduate of Drexel University with a BS in Film/Video. She has a passion for entertainment and representation in entertainment. She currently resides outside of Washington, DC.

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