Written by Duane Swierczynski and illustrated by Fernando Blanco, Star Wars: Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO is a Marvel one-shot that shows how Cassian Andor met the reprogrammed Imperial security droid K-2SO prior to the events of Rogue One. It was released August 9, 2017, and then again as part of the Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation on December 12, 2017.
ROGUE ONE: CASSIAN & K2SO is part of the current Star Wars canon. Check out the timeline.
Putting the official continuity stamp on a simple bit of head-canon, what Marvel has managed to accomplish with Star Wars: Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO is making a fun and fast-paced one-shot special feel frustratingly like it only scratches the surface of something much greater.
It depends what you’re looking for. The nuts and bolts of how Cassian Andor met and reprogrammed K-2SO are there, and it’s hard not to be entertained by the tale, simple as it is. But the single issue also contains so many kernels of bigger ideas and concepts that it’s a bit of a disappointment there isn’t more beyond that final panel.
The specifics aren’t surprising in any way. Cassian, on a mission to obtain current Imperial Security Protocols, finds himself in a bit of a jam and is forced to improvise by reprogramming K-2SO to help him and his allies escape. This Cassian is still the likable, easy-going chap we met in Rogue One; just as quick to act without properly thinking things through. He’s accompanied here by two new aliens, Kertas and Rismor, who communicate almost entirely through producing different smells for the other to sniff. This is mined for some effective humor, as you’d imagine, as are the darker quirks of a pre-reprogramming Kaytoo.
That, by the end, the relationship between Cassian and Kaytoo feels just like it did in Rogue One is the consequence of a one-shot rather than a miniseries. It’s a sudden development as presented here, and it feels like to get there the story brushes aside some stuff that might have been more interesting to address. The possible discussions about a droid’s agency and sentience are heavier, harder sci-fi ideas that Star Wars is necessarily used to dealing with, but at one point in this comic, Kaytoo explicitly asks Cassian if he has a choice in whether he’s freed from Imperial control.
Whatever. For all the inklings of more challenging ideas, this one-shot functions exactly how it’s supposed to: as an expertly-paced little aside with sprinklings of humor and adventure. The writing of Duane Swierczynski should be commended for how well it transplants the personalities of the title characters onto the page, and the art, by Fernando Blanco and Marcelo Maiolo, provides great close-ups and action sequences. It’s not much, but it’s probably a little bit more than enough.