Maarva and Nemik Delivered ANDOR’s Greatest Lesson on Fighting Fascists

Spoiler Alert

Andor creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy described his series’ first season as “the education” of Cassian. But the season one finale offered an important lesson to people in every galaxy. Maarva’s rousing funeral speech and Nemik’s moving manifesto both got at the heart of why—no matter how impossible the task might seem—it is never too late to fight tyranny. Because the time to stand up to fascism, in any way you can, is always right now.

Nemik shows Cassian his technology in Andor
There will be times when the struggle seems impossible. I know this already. Alone, unsure, dwarfed by the scale of the enemy. Remember this: freedom is a pure idea. It occurs spontaneously and without instruction. Random acts of insurrection are occurring constantly throughout the galaxy. There are whole armies, battalions that have no idea that they’ve already enlisted in the cause.Karis Nemik

One day Cassian Andor will help bring down the Empire. The people he’ll free won’t remember him as one of the galaxy far, far away’s greatest heroes, though. Those accolades will go to famous figures like Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, and Mon Mothma, as names like Jyn Erso and Ruescott Melshi fade away in the scorched sands of Scarif.

Cassian looking over his shoulder in Andor

But Andor’s incredible season one finale highlighted—maybe better than any story in Star Wars history—what it truly takes to defeat an evil Empire. Or, more specifically, it highlighted “who” it takes. Successful rebellions require more than legendary Jedi and pilots. It takes regular people everywhere finding the will and courage to “wake up,” because fascism will never go away on its own anymore than a single individual will ever defeat it. And both of those things are true no matter how much you wish they weren’t.

As Maarva said, you can only ignore and hide from tyranny for so long. Eventually the “disease” of oppression will come for you and your people specifically because you have chosen to remain in darkness. Fascism “thrives in darkness.” It desperately needs people to close their eyes to the suffering of others.

Fiona Shaw as Maarva in Andor
Remember that the frontier of the Rebellion is everywhere. And even the smallest act of insurrection pushes our lines forward. And then remember this: The Imperial need for control is so desperate because it is so unnatural. Tyranny requires constant effort. It breaks, it leaks. Authority is brittle. Oppression is the mask of fear. Remember that.Maarva Andor

While Maarva entertained the possibility that Ferrix might have waited too long to oppose the Empire, Nemik knew there’s no such thing as too late when it comes to fighting fascists. His manifesto, so full of hope yet so clear-eyed and unsentimental, understood that oppression is inherently wrong and freedom is inherently right. Unlike tyranny, which requires “constant effort,” people yearn to be free. Freedom does not need stormtroopers and Death Stars to maintain its existence. It exists in the hearts of people everywhere, and manifests in unexpected ways without thought or planning. That’s why tyranny is so fragile and temporary while its opposite can never be defeated. It can only fall asleep.

Stormtroopers amassed in the streets of Ferrixx on Andor

That doesn’t mean fighting fascism is easy. Nemik recognized just how hard it can be, especially to an individual who can’t imagine a path to a victory that seems so unreachable. Standing up for yourself and others can—and will—sometimes feel all but fruitless. And the bigger the enemy, and the bigger the challenge, the easier it is to lose hope. But Nemik fundamentally understood something we all should about why we must fight back. It’s an idea that is at the heart of Andor, the Rebellion, Star Wars, and our own battle with fascism.

Standing up for what’s right iis not about a single blow or a single hero. It’s about doing what we can when we can, so that one day all those little acts lost to time make it possible for freedom to wash over the galaxy.

Young Nemik talks to Cassian on Andor
And know this, the day will come when all these skirmishes and battles, these moments of defiance will have flooded the banks of the Empire’s authority, and then there will be one too many. One single thing will break the siege. Remember this: try. Karis Nemik

In her final speech, Maarva said she “always wanted to be lifted” because she was “always waiting to be inspired.” That was the exact gift she left Ferrix, as she helped her community open its eyes to the evil that threatens them all. It’s also the gift Andor gave to viewers in its stunning season one finale. Every generation learns how fascism will spread if we let it. But the show reminded us of an even more important lesson: even when it seems fascists have won and darkness has taken over, we must remember that it’s never too late to wake up. No act in the name of freedom is ever insignificant or hopeless.

That even includes moving words of inspiration—shared with one person, an entire community, or a television audience—that can start a ripple that ends with the crashing of an Empire. Because tyranny will never be strong enough to oppose even the smallest acts of rebellion. You just need to wake up and try.

Mikey Walsh is a staff writer at Nerdist. You can follow him on Twitter at   @burgermike. And also anywhere someone is ranking the Targaryen kings.

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