Why Are There No Subtitles in Andor When Characters Speak in Kenari?

Don't worry, Disney Plus isn't broken.

by J.R. Waugh

Andor-Disney-Plus

Andor is out now on Disney Plus and has been airing since September 21, 2022. It is possibly the most exciting new streaming series for the Star Wars universe on the platform, blending the usual science fiction of Star Wars with a welcome dose of spy thriller aspects. It follows Cassian Andor in the earlier days before he famously joined Rogue One, the rebel unit responsible for stealing the plans to the Death Star. Andor chronicles the 5 years before the events of 2016’s Rogue One, where the title character is fighting to unearth his past as a native of the destroyed planet, Kenari. But in his flashbacks, Why Are There No Subtitles in Andor When Characters Speak in Kenari? Read on to find out!

Why Are There No Subtitles in Andor When Characters Speak in Kenari?

Andor-Kenari-No-Subtitles

The decision to leave out Kenari subtitles was intended so that the viewers would pay more attention to the body language of the characters in Cassian’s flashbacks to understand the events going on. It’s not difficult, either, as you can quickly determine that these characters, such as in the first episode, are reacting to a ship entering their planet’s orbit, and about to crash. This limits the otherwise clunky exposition and overacting, letting the cast focus on communicating visually their thoughts and feelings. They gaze in awe, one of them even beckoning the ship over to them, while others discourage her. So no, the show didn’t properly load those captions, it was a conscious decision.

This is not a new idea, either, as showrunners have chosen to omit subtitles for languages other than English, even in the case of real-world languages such as Spanish in Dexter. For viewers who spoke Spanish, they could understand, but in the instance where this is relevant to the case of Andor, you can infer what they are saying due to the context around them.

Beyond this decision, it seems unclear what the plans are for how long these flashbacks will carry on with no proper captioning of the Kenari language. Currently, even if closed captions are turned on, it only shows as “(SPEAKING KENARI)” even with the effective body language, and even other characters being audible and understood. It feels as though this could also be intended as a way to immerse the viewers in the role of the scavengers who find Cassian, equally unable to understand what he is trying to say in Kenari, a dead language of a newly dead planet.

One thing is for sure, however — Andor is proving to be an excellent viewing experience so far, with its characters, storytelling, and worldbuilding demonstrating to fans that Star Wars can easily be a compelling show even without the presence of the Jedi, Sith, or the Force. It shows the growth of Cassian Andor, previously a cynic who didn’t believe in the cause of a revolution, possibly due to his trauma as a child, into a passionate member of the rebel cause as we saw in Rogue One. It’ll be exciting to see him unite with familiar faces from the film and form the famous rebel unit responsible for exposing the Death Star’s fatal weakness.

Andor premiered exclusively with a 3-episode premiere on Disney Plus on September 21, 2022. It will air for 2 seasons of 12 episodes, leading up to the events of Rogue One.

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