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Why Maarva From The Andor Series On Disney+ Looks So Familiar

"Andor" is a Disney+ series set within the "Star Wars" canon, somewhere between "Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith" and "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," and will serve as a prequel to the latter productions. This new adventure will see the return of Diego Luna, once again portraying (the now titular) Cassian Andor, and will follow his role through the creation of the Rebel Alliance. Along with Luna, the cast includes Genevieve O'Reilly, Alex Fern, and Adria Arjona.

Although, strangely, not listed on the IMDb page, there's another talent attached to "Andor" that audiences will no doubt instantly recognize, even if they aren't sure as to why. From the stage to the voice-over booth, from the big screen to streaming services, her credits are rarely the top billing, but they're exclusively comprised of unforgettable performances. 

Enter Fiona Shaw, who portrays Maarva Andor, adoptive mother to Cassian, and what follows is a brief highlight reel of her successful, decades-long career in the acting industry. 

Fiona Shaw is spurned lover in Super Mario Bros.: The Movie

Starting off STRONG — in 1993, Buena Vista Pictures released "Super Mario Bros.: The Movie," a live-action film adaptation of Nintendo's beloved video game series. The story follows a pair of Italian-American plumbers in Brooklyn, New York, Mario Mario (Bob Hoskins) and Luigi Mario (John Leguizamo), as they traverse an interdimensional portal to Dinohattan to rescue Luigi's girlfriend, Daisy (Samantha Mathis), from the evil clutches of King Koopa (Lance Henriksen). Now, fans of the "Super Mario" games will know that this movie shares exactly nothing in common with its source material outside of the character names, and the kindest reviews considered the resulting product to be something of a dumpster fire. 

In this truly unforgettable film, Fiona Shaw portrays Lena, King Koopa's assistant and sort of love interest. It's immediately clear that there is an almost-partnership of convenient proximity for Koopa, while it's more meaningful and valuable to her. At every possible turn, she tries to win Koopa's affections and he dismisses her. Don't feel too sorry for her. Lena isn't a kind Pterosaur (oh yeah, she's not human, just human-shaped), and she channels her distress into those around her. Ultimately, she's vaporized by an interdimensional power surge when her last attempt to win over her erstwhile lover fails. 

Fiona Shaw is a turncoat spy in The Avengers (not that one)

In 1998, Warner Brothers released "The Avengers." No, that's not a mistype; the studio that owns DC also owns a film entitled "The Avenger." Despite the misleading name (although, arguably, it wasn't misleading at the time), the movie has nothing to do with superheroes, but rather it's a satirical take on the spy genre and serves as a modern adaptation of a British television show of the same name from the 1960s. The story follows John Steed (Ralph Fiennes), a secret agent, and Dr. Emma Peel (Uma Thurman), an honest-to-god meteorologist, as they deal with evil weather, teddy bear costumes, and sinister clones. Also, Sean Connery is there as an eco-terrorist because, of course, he is. 

In the midst of all this, Fiona Shaw portrays Father (don't question it, Jim Broadbent is there as Mother, too), the second in command at the secret agency for which Steed works. Father reveals herself to be in league with Connery's villainous plans, and ultimately she dies in a hot air balloon crash, which is a nice way of saying that she goes splat against a billboard. Look, this might not be any member of the cast's favorite credit, but it's easily one of the most hilarious ones, and we as the general public deserve to relish in that.

Fiona Shaw was an abusive aunt in the Harry Potter series

Yes, dear reader, this is almost definitely why she seems familiar.

In 2001, Warner Brothers released "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," the first of eight films based on the seven fantasy novels written by J. K. Rowling (the last book got two movies, a move which everyone in Hollywood is still copying and pasting almost two decades later). The overarching story follows young Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) as he discovers that magic is real and that he's a wizard and that a quasi-immortal eugenicist, Lord Voldemort (hey, there's Ralph Fiennes again!) wants him dead. But before he ever steps foot in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy, before he ever meets his best friends Ronald Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Hermione Granger (Emma Watson), he has to deal with his very abusive, very non-magical extended family, the Dursleys.

Fiona Shaw portrays Petunia Dursley, Harry's gossip-loving aunt. She's a cruel, jealous woman who cherishes her bitterness against her late sister — Harry's mother, who had fantastical powers while Petunia did not — by taking it out on her nephew. Very briefly, toward the end of the series, it almost seems as though she might regret her actions, just a little bit, but in neither the movies nor the books is there a true redemption arc for this wretched person. 

Fiona Shaw is a dangerous necromancer in True Blood

In 2008, through HBO, Warner Brothers released "True Blood," an equally dramatic yet far more sexually charged iteration of The CW's "Supernatural." In broad (mostly safe search appropriate) strokes, the story follows Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), a telepathic waitress, as she exists in a world that is suddenly cohabitated by vampires. The shift begins — a moment that the series loves to call "coming out of the coffin" — with the creation of a synthetic blood alternative, a gross little drink called Tru Blood, that vampires can use as a substitute for their otherwise predatorial nutrition accruing practices. As the world adjusts, the status quo is constantly threatened with the revelation of werewolves and faeries and demons and, ironically for Fiona Shaw, witches.  

For the fourth season, in 2011, Shaw portrays Marnie Stonebrook, owner of the Moon Goddess Emporium and a Z-List Medium. It's this last bit, plus a curiosity for necromancy (the fictional art of raising the dead), that gets her into trouble. Marnie goes from being a kooky lil' witch to being a mighty, malevolent force after she becomes a vessel for Antonia Gavilán de Logroño (Paola Turbay), the powerful spirit of a long-deceased witch. The real twist, however, is when Marnie reveals that Antonia is under her control and not the other way around.

There's a LOT going on here that can't really be summarized intelligibly or succinctly ... but that's pretty much the standard for these sorts of things. The important takeaway is that, for a brief period of time, Fiona Shaw got to be the witch that Petunia Dursley never had the chance to be, and that's actually kind of beautiful.

Fiona Shaw is a work obsessed agent in Killing Eve

In 2018, through BBC America and BBC Three, Sid Gentle Films released "Killing Eve," a British spy thriller series about an ongoing obsession between a killer and the woman in charge of catching her. On one end, there's Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), an M15-turned-M16-turned-vigilante desperate for something interesting. On the other end, there's Oksana Astankova (Jodie Comer), aka Villanelle, an elite, psychopathic assassin who's also desperate for a challenge. The two both find a solution to their monotony in each other, and a lethal game of cat and mouse thereby ensues. A lot of people die; it's all very serious. 

In "Killing Eve," Fiona Shaw portrays Carolyn Martens, M16's head of the Russia Desk (a term here which means head of the Russian branch of M16). It is through her that Eve becomes ensnared in the mission to capture Villanelle. Carolyn is a woman obsessed with her job, a truth which is further evidenced by the trail of ex-husbands in her wake. Despite the ruination of her personal life, Carolyn's sense of duty, professional expertise, and ability to cultivate the best assets (agents) have led to her saving the world on more than one occasion. She is, in short, an absolute badass.

Fiona Shaw is a strict head mistress in Enola Holmes

In 2020, Netflix released "Enola Holmes," a mystery film adapted from the first novel in Nancy Springer's ongoing "The Enola Holmes Mysteries" series, which is, in turn, an adaptation of Arthur Conan Doyle's classic works. The story follows the titular Enola Holmes (Millie Bobby Brown), the gifted younger sister of Mycroft Holmes (Sam Claflin) and Sherlock Holmes (Henry Cavill), as she fights to prove her mettle and solve the mysteries that allude her more famous brother. Perhaps obviously, she butts heads with nearly every figure of authority she comes into contact with, an issue best represented by her clashes with Fiona Shaw's role, Miss Harrison. 

Miss Harrison is the headmistress of a strict finishing school that Enola Holmes absolutely despises. For clarity, the answer is both — Enola very much despises both the woman and the school, as Mycroft uses them to control and subdue her. For her part, Miss Harrison does not view her trade as a punishment but rather as a privilege which better shapes young minds into something worth being. Her only soft spot seems to be Mycroft himself, but, to be fair, anyone who doesn't have a soft spot for Sam Claflin needs to have their vision checked.