Star War Andor: what is the ISB?

What is the ISB? In the new Star Wars series Andor, the Galactic Empire's ISB organisation plays an important role, but what exactly is it?

Star Wars Andor ISB explained: Supervisor Blevin

What is the ISB? The Star Wars universe is stuffed to the brim with shady organisations on all sides, so you can be forgiven if you missed what exactly the ISB is. What you will have picked up, however, is that the ISB is filled with nefarious Star Wars villains.

These aren’t villains with flashy lightsabers, like the Sith, but instead are the day-to-day workers who maintain the supremacy of the Galactic Empire, and who work to snuff out any sign of Rebellion. So, it’s worth digging into exactly what is the ISB, what their aims are, and who the important figures are within the organisation.

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What is the ISB?

The initialism ISB stands for Imperial Security Bureau. However, that’s an intentionally broad, vague, and ambiguous title. Really, the ISB is the Galactic Empire’s equivalent of the MI5, or the CIA – except more snappily dressed. The ISB was founded by Emperor Palpatine following his successful restructuring of the Galactic Republic into the Galactic Empire.

Untethered from any sense or morality or ethics, it’s a ruthless secret service which investigates and roots out both internal and external threats to the Galactic Empire. It aims to support the objectives of the Galactic Empire, while maintaining its fearsome and intimidating presence in the galaxy, putting off those who might be interested in rebellion. So, perhaps the best real-life equivalent is the Gestapo.

Star Wars Andor ISB explained: Dedra Meero

Notable ISB officers and operations

Because of its nature as a shadowy, covert organisation, neither the Star Wars movies or Star Wars series have shed much light on the ISB and its operations. That is, until Andor.

The new sci-fi series Andor has given audiences their best look at the ISB yet. We’ve seen the workings and debates within the ISB, some internal friction, and have got a good look at how the organisation is structured and organised. In Andor, we see that the ISB employees supervisors who take responsibility over ensuring the activity of the ISB within a specific sector. These supervisors then report to a Major (in Andor this is Major Partagaz), who are themselves subordinate to an ISB colonel, like Wullf Yularen.

Star Wars Andor ISB explained: Colonel Yularen

In Andor we see this structure in the operation to hunt down ‘Axis‘, led by Dedra Meero. Dedra Meero had identified a pattern of suspicious activity across the galaxy, and had connected Cassian Andor to that activity. She also recognised that the activity was being coordinated by someone at the centre of it all. Unbeknownst to her, this person was Luthen Rael.

In Dedra Meero’s operation to hunt down Andor, and ultimately Luthen Rael, she utilises brutal ISB torture techniques pioneered by Doctor Gorst to extract information from whomever she needs to. Dedra Meero’s operation is the best example we’ve seen of an ISB plan in action, from its early formation to being implemented.

Star Wars Andor ISB explained: Corv and Heert

Alongside Colonel Wulff Yularen, Major Partagaz, and Dedra Meero, other notable ISB officers included supervisor Blevin, Corv, and Dedra Meero’s assistant Heert.

That’s all we’ve got on the ISB so far. We’re sure that we’ll uncover plenty more information with Andor season 2, and until then check out our guides to ISB-wannabe Syril Karn, and Mon Mothma, or the best Star Wars droids. Or, take a look at our Andor season 1 recap.