Who is Maarva on ‘Andor’? Her Relationship to Cassian, Explained

Editor’s note: The below contains spoilers for the first three episodes of Andor.With its three-episode premiere, Disney+’s Andor certainly proved that it’s unlike any Star Wars project that we’ve seen before. The gritty, underworld crime series has as much in common with Tony Gilroy’s work on the Bourne films as it does with the galaxy far, far away. Andor is essentially an origin story for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’s Cassian (Diego Luna), and the first three episodes intertwine moments from Cassian’s childhood that explain how he becomes the dangerous figure that we’ve already seen in his previous appearance.


Cassian isn’t quite the noble yet complicated hero that we meet in Rogue One yet; he still has a lot to learn about loyalty, empathy, and compassion. However, we do get to see Cassian growing through the ways that he interacts with his family. The third episode, “Reckoning,” reveals that a simple act of kindness on the part of the woman Maarva (Fiona Shaw) determined Cassian’s fate.

RELATED: When Does ‘Andor’ Take Place in the Star Wars Universe?

Maarva’s Rescue

Via flashback scenes, we see Cassian growing up on his homeworld of Kenari, where he trains as a warrior. Cassian’s biological family clearly opposes the military’s intervention on their home planet, no matter what flags they fly. After losing both of his parents at a young age, Cassian grows up in a small village consisting of other young people who have lost their families.

During some sort of Clone Wars-era battle that we do not see, a Separatist vehicle crash lands on the surface of Kenari. Several of Cassian’s fellow young people are killed. When he looks through the ruins of the ship, Cassian is noticed by Maarva Andor. Maarva and her husband, Clem (Gary Beadle), are scavengers looking through the wreckage of the battle. She fears that if Cassian is left on his own, he will be taken in by the Galactic Republic.

Maarva makes an intuitive decision and decides to adopt Cassian as her son. He takes on the name “Cassian” for the first time, as on his homeworld, he had been referred to as “Kassa.” He is given the surname “Andor” on all of his official records. However, Cassian’s true heritage is shrouded in secrecy. Maarva warns Cassian not to share his true home planet with anyone.

Cassian and Maarva Now

Maarva, Clem, and Cassian moved to the planet Ferrix as they set their smuggling days behind them. However, all hopes of a peaceful family life had to be abandoned when the Galactic Empire seized control of the planet. There is fear within the streets as Imperial officers monitor activities and frequent local hangouts. Cassian later mentions to Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) that Clem was executed in front of a crowd for participating in anti-war activities.

Given that she has seen what the galaxy is like during both the Clone Wars and the rise of the Galactic Empire, Maarva’s caution is completely justified. She clearly resents the Empire and knows that the day will come when the people of Ferrix will have to engage in rebellion. We get a glimpse of Maarva’s sense of humor through her interactions with her adopted son; she criticizes Cassian for frequently sharing the truth of his origins with others, and sleeping with multiple women.

Maarva becomes alarmed when it becomes clear that Cassian is responsible for the death of two Imperial officers on a street corner outside of a brothel. She realizes that the Empire knows a little too much about her son, as he’s identified as a “Kenari male.” Cassian ignores his adopted mother’s concerns and goes to meet with the enigmatic figure Luthen Rael. Although her fighting days may be behind her, Maarva shows her bravery when she’s cornered by the Preox-Morlana authorities.

Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) and his squad break into Maarva’s home and question her for answers about Cassian’s location. She refuses to give them information, and sits back in satisfaction as Cassian’s plan plays out. As signs of trouble in the streets can be heard, Maarva delivers the most powerful line of the series thus far: “that’s what a reckoning sounds like.” She sits back in satisfaction as Cassian and Rael trick the officers into surrounding a speeder, which has been rigged to detonate.

Who Plays Maarva Andor?

Irish actress Fiona Shaw is an incredibly versatile veteran of the stage, film, and television. Although Harry Potter fans may recognize her as Petunia Dursley, Shaw has received some of the highest praises of her career for her recent role in BBC’s Killing Eve. Shaw’s performance as the brilliant spymaster Carolyn Martens earned her two Primetime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Additionally, Shaw has shown her comedic abilities thanks to her hilarious performance as the Counselor in Fleabag, which earned her a Primetime Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. She’s also had roles in True Blood, Enola Holmes, Colette, The Tree of Life, and Dorian Gray.

Andor premieres new episodes weekly every Wednesday on Disney+.

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