Andor Episode 1 Features A Beloved Droid Hiding In Plain Sight

In Episode 1 of “Andor,” our titular hero is living on the planet Ferrix, a desert world under Imperial rule. He seems to spend most of his time avoiding the repayment of outstanding debts to other locals, and sweet talking his way out of their wrath. He’s somewhat in league with a woman named Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona), who is up to her own secret agenda. During one scene, she runs what she calls an errand, but her suspicious coworkers tails her. During the chase, we see his path obstructed by a slow, blocky gray droid. Eagle-eyed fans may recognize it as a GNK power droid.

First seen in “Star Wars: Episode V — The Empire Strikes Back,” GNKs are also referred to as “gonk droids” due to the honking sounds they make. Mostly used as power generators, GNKs have a lower intelligence than most other droids, suitable to carry out the basic functionalities they serve. They have large, blocky bodies with stubby legs and no arms, and have most often been spotted in various cities on Tatooine, especially in the Mos Eisley cantina, though they are common in other underdeveloped worlds without reliable power.

At times, GNK droids have been modified for other uses, such as one encountered in the novel “Star Wars Adventures 3: The Hostage Princess,” which was found by Jedi Master Mace Windu on the planet Fondor and was equipped with a blaster inside of its boxlike shell. Meanwhile, in several “Battlefront” video games, GNK droids are used as ammo dispensers.

The presence of a gonk droid on Ferrix helps to emphasize the location’s poverty, subtly letting viewers know that the planet is underdeveloped. It’s a clever bit of exposition, and a nice reminder that we’re still watching something set in the “Star Wars” universe.

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