What is Preox-Morlana in Andor?
Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for Andor Episodes 1-3.The new Disney+ series Andor takes place in the year 5 BBY in the star wars chronology. This means that the Galactic Empire has ruled the galaxy with an iron fist for over a decade since the events of Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. In the early episodes of the series, civilians on the streets are seen to be terrified of raising their concerns. The mere thought of the word “rebellion” is enough to strike fear into their hearts, for they know the Empire will respond with ruthless force.
The Empire’s influence has reached every corner of the galaxy. Even areas not strictly under Imperial command have a form of authoritarian force that strikes terror into the hearts of their subjects. In the Trade sector of the galaxy where Andor takes place, a business conglomerate called Preox-Morlana serves as the main political body. Preox-Morlana takes his orders from the Empire and relishes the chance to enforce Imperial laws.
Preox-Morlana is a different type of antagonist than what we’ve seen before in the star wars franchise. Unlike the Sith Lords or dark side force users, they are just normal people who have been seduced by fascism. It will be interesting to see how Andor deals with relevant societal themes such as security and brutality, radicalization and political protest.
Infrastructure of Preox-Morlana
Preox-Morlana controls Ferrix, the planet where Cassian (Diego Luna) lives in the early episodes. Although we know that they also control the planet Morlana Four, it is possible that there are other planets nearby that are also subject to their role. Preox-Morlana has its capital on the planet Morlana One, which is seen briefly in the first episode of the series. The trailers have indicated that we’ll see more of the ruling political body and its relationship to the Galactic Empire in the rest of the first season.
The Preox-Morlana security force, known as the “Pre-Mor Authority”, maintains tight control of the area. Citizens are required to have an identity card that allows security forces to search for details of their background; this ends up causing problems for Cassian when his true home planet is revealed. Although Ferrix is not regularly patrolled, the planet is suspected after Cassian kills pre-Mor officers Verlo Skiff (stephen wight) and Kravas Drezzer (Lee Boardman) outside a brothel in one of Morlana One’s recreation areas.
While killing two officers is a crime that raises red flags, we see that Preox-Morlana are willing to cover up this kind of activity in order to cover up any misbehavior on the part of their officers. In the first episode, Chief Hyne (Rupert Vansittart) orders Assistant Inspector Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) not to pursue the investigation. Acknowledging the death of these officers would shed light on the fact that they frequented a brothel.
The mission of the Pre-Mor Authority
Despite his orders to drop the case, Karn ends up investigating Cassian further. When Hyne temporarily leaves his post to meet with his superiors in the Empire, Karn takes the opportunity to seek Cassian’s information and deduce that he is on Ferrix. Karn assembles a security force to search the planet. Although he claims to have noble intentions, it is clear that the officers under his command simply cannot wait to brutalize local civilians.
However, we see in the fight sequence of the episode “Reckoning” that these officers do not have the proper military training that Stormtroopers have. They are really just thugs who have been given weapons; they know nothing of carrying out an actual raid, and Cassian and Luther Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) outsmart them by rigging a speeder to explode. We see signs of resentment from the other inhabitants of Ferrix. They are empowered that someone was finally able to stand up to the pre-mor authority.
The future of Preox-Morlana
Even though they’re just thugs, pre-mor officers are still dangerous. They brutally beat Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) in the streets as they search for Cassian and Rael. They even shot her boyfriend, Timm Karlo (James McArdle), leaving him to die. Karlo is not necessarily a likable character; he betrays Cassian to the Pre-Mor Authority out of jealousy. However, Karlo realizes at the last moment that bringing the pre-mor officers’ attention to Ferrix only puts everyone in danger.
Unfortunately, Ferrix is unlikely to escape these events without any consequences. The battle in the town square resulted in the deaths of several pre-mor officers, and Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw) indicated that the townspeople would be keen to form a resistance movement. This puts Karn in a difficult position; his disastrous plan to capture Cassian ended up killing the men under his command. Since he went behind his superior’s back to do this in the first place, Syril and Cassian might attract the attention of the Empire.