Andor takes us to the dark side of the Star Wars universe. Not necessarily that side of the force, but the darkness of war and rebellion.
Andor stars Diego Luna as the titular hero, reprising the role from Rogue One. Joining him are Stellan Skarsgard as Luthen Rael, Kyle Soller as Syril Karn, Adria Arjona as Bix Calleen, and Denise Gough as Dedra Gough. Also returning are Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma and Forest Whittaker as Saw Gerrera.
While most of Star Wars is consumed by the conflict between the Dark and the Light, Andor drops us squarely into the gray. Andor is a mercenary with allegiance to nobody but himself. He doesn’t get along with all of his friends and he doesn’t want to fight the Empire. But life had other plans for him, as the mysterious Luthen recruits Andor to help him plant seeds of rebellion.
Andor is unlike any Star Wars show that has come out ever. It felt like watching Blade Runner meets The Constant Gardener with a Star Wars aesthetic. The setting is Star Wars, and the locations are Star Wars, but the story feels so contemporary and intricate.
There aren’t any Luke and Leia type heroes in this show. Every character has some level of moral ambiguity, even the more pure of heart characters like Mon Mothma are forced to make tough decisions. Nobody’s hands are clean in a galaxy at war.
This show has some of the most well-developed heroes and villains of any show right now. Every character has their own motivations, and when those motivations clash, the show is at its best. Not everyone in the Rebel Alliance or the Empire has their own cause’s best interests in mind, and they’ll step over people to get what they want, literally and metaphorically.
Star Wars is chock full of gunslinging scoundrels, and Cassian Andor is the coldest of them all. He’s more ruthless than Han Solo and less quippy than Poe Dameron. He’s the kind of guy you’d call when either of those guys won’t cut it. It’s why he gets sought out by Luthen in the first place.
Like all the Disney shows, its planets and sets all look amazing. The indoor sets specifically are all intricately detailed and really feel like the original trilogy. Even Coruscant, a prequel trilogy planet, has that tinge of classic Star Wars.
If you’re looking for the big gun blasting of The Mandalorian or the lightsaber combos of Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’ll be a little disappointed. What drives this story forwards is the characters. There are shootouts and space battles in Andor, but they happen once every three or four episodes. They are some of the best I’ve ever seen, which is good considering the showrunner worked on the Bourne films.
Before I get to my final thoughts, I want to praise Disney for letting the creative minds behind their Disney+ Star Wars shows just make what they want to make. Jon Favreau, Deborah Chow, and now Tony Gilroy all got to freely bring their creative visions to life. Even if not every show is a winner, you have to admit that each show was allowed to be itself.
Andor not only gave us well-written entertainment, but it took Star Wars in a new direction. It has the potential to expand more on its unique place in the universe. It’s kinda refreshing to see Star Wars stories like this because it allows the franchise to really mature and breaks away from the sameness of some of the newer films. I highly recommend it and can without a doubt say that this is excellent, premium Star Wars storytelling.
Andor Season One: 9.1/10
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