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In Rogue One, Captain Cassian Andor is assigned a mission to kill Empire Science officer Galen Erso. With Galen in his sights he hesitates to kill Galen. Why?

We know Cassian is a Rebel and has no qualms about killing people, even if they aren't Stormtroopers. In the scene pictured below, when he meets with a Rebel informant (on his side) he kills him, presumably to protect information.

So why does his conscience perk up with the assassination of Galen Erso, who is indirectly responsible for the destruction of Jedha City which he witnessed first hand?

Cassian is a killer

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  1. He was tired of killing people without being punished
  2. He saw Lily's eyes in Harry Jyn's eyes in Galen and that was the last straw, since he cared about Jyn.

Official novelization by Alexander Freed covered this in detail (being a book, it's easier to show what's in someone's head).

Destroying Jyn - that’s what it would be, you can admit that much—was his best option. If she did realize what he’d done, she’d turn that feral need against him. She’d want him dead, probably sway the Guardians of the Whills and Bodhi against him as well.
The engineers were arrayed in front of Krennic and Galen. Krennic’s retinue of black-clad troopers fanned out. A few more steps…
Maybe that wouldn’t be such a terrible way to go. He’d assassinated better men than Galen—an Imperial collaborator, the man who’d built a planet killer, remorse be damned. And if Jyn came after Cassian, he’d die for his crimes. There were worse deaths.
Was that what it had come to?
Galen stepped forward. Cassian had the shot.
But he was breathing too hard now. The rifle rose and fell. He clamped a hand on the barrel, lodged it firmly against the rocks.
He was tired of crimes he never answered for.
The Death Star is your answer. Finish this mission, and all is forgiven.
He looked at Galen Erso through his scope and saw his daughter’s eyes.
With a hoarse and ragged cry, he swept the rifle away from the rocks and set it in the mud at his side.

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    I doubt he could really see any eyes through that scope in a detail relevant for emotional considerations. While the first reason seems really reasonable and I don't doubt his feelings for Jyn factored into it, that whole eyes things sounds way too contrived, no matter what tertiary pseudo-canon bookifications claim the filmmakers to have intended for us to see. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 23 '16 at 3:02
  • @NapoleonWilson - you can lodge a complaint with Pablo Hidalgo – DVK Dec 23 '16 at 4:20
  • I don't know who that is how he is relevant here. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 23 '16 at 13:12
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    @NapoleonWilson - I don't mean to come off condescending, but if you don't know who Pablo Hidalgo is, how can you possibly have formed an informed opinion on what is and isn't "canon" vs "pseudo-canon" in Star Wars? FYI: he's one of the few people who literally decide what is canon in Star Wars - and he says books are real canon, not "pseudo". With all due respect, he's more of an authority than you on the topic. – DVK Dec 23 '16 at 15:42
  • I don't have an "informed opinion" about that, or likely not on an informedness level equal to yours. All I don't like is derivative works making up stuff that's just ridiculous and incongruent with the actual primary source material. I know Disney likely calls that stuff "canon", but once that includes contradictions and stupid toys, that word becomes nothing but neck-beard mumbo-jumbo. That's just my subjective opinion, uninformed as it might be. I never claimed to be an authority and you might have misinterpreted my subjective statements as some kind of claim of such authority. – Napoleon Wilson Dec 23 '16 at 17:04

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