TV Review: Andor: Some of the best Star Wars We Have Ever Gotten?



Cade Brunette

Star Wars is one of those cultural phenomena where some people couldn’t imagine who they would be without it, including myself.  Since Disney has cracked down on famous franchises such as Star Wars, the fan base has not always been particularly pleased with some of the decisions and directions they have decided to take (again, including me) . With the sequel trilogy encompassing episodes VII, VIII, and IX being incredibly lackluster, even the spinoffs with beloved characters like Obi-wan Kenobi and Boba Fett still were incredibly disappointing. With such an expansive literal galaxy to work with, the imagination, mythology, and storytelling that sparked from George Lucas’s original vision and has inspired millions of people, has slowly begun to decay. Of course, Lucas himself perhaps did not make the best choices after the original trilogy ended in 1983 and began work with the prequels, but that ambition, vision, and creativity were still very much present. Even in this past decade, we have gotten some really great stories like The Mandolorian. In 2022, however, we may have just gotten not only one of the best Star Wars stories in the Disney era but some of the best Star Wars ever.

One of the best post-Lucas stories that came out in 2016 is Rogue One created by Tony Gilroy. It acts as the direct prequel to the original Star Wars from 1977. In it, it gave a much grittier, darker tone and aesthetic than even The Empire Strikes Back had. The biggest problem that people had with Rogue One was its mostly forgettable characters. One of the biggest advantages a show has over a movie is that it is able to stretch out characters, plot, and themes in a much more intricate, slow-cooked way that can sometimes be hard to do when you want your audience to care about a large cast at once. Luckily, Andor was created as a twelve-episode show with potentially another season on the way. 

The show is a prequel to Rogue One and follows Cassian Andor, who will eventually become a major player in that film.  He is a selfish mercenary who must find his place in the galaxy that is sparking a rebellion against the Empire. To say that this is an “origin“ to Andor himself is just doing a disservice to the amount of rich, complex, and thematic elements Andor holds. This is Star Wars at its darkest.  Some people may have an issue with that, but I believe conveying the more dystopian aspects of our society, the better we can do to correct it. It’s safe to say that many people have gained more respect for Andor after seeing the show. 

An antagonist who has turned his job into an obsession, a true believer that thinks he knows how the galaxy works, the man behind the curtain sacrificing literally everything and doing some very questionable things for a greater cause, a slave prisoner who finally sees hope not by waiting to be released but by taking action, and at the center of all of this is Cassian Andor. Every choice he makes creates this web of opposition and soon enough, it’s clear everyone wants Andor for some grand purpose. The monologues are some of the most thought-provoking, morally gray words you will hear in a Star Wars story. It gives the impression there are real people within both factions from the Empire and those looking to start a rebellion. They may not always agree or want to be on the side they are supposedly fighting for. Beyond just a storytelling aspect, the production design, and effects are something that will take anyone’s breath away. This is mostly due to the fact that they shot on location rather than on the new experimental set as some of the other shows have.

One of the main reasons Star Wars took off is because of how it was able to transcend so many different genres from sci-fi to mythology, to coming-of-age.  Andor has done something like that too. Being made by the same person who created the newer James Bond movies, this show encompasses the aesthetics of crime and thriller while also being a sci-fi, myth, action, and even a little western sprinkled in.

What is really unfortunate however is that a lot of people, more specifically big-time Star Wars fans, are also skipping out on this experience because they just aren’t interested. I don’t blame them because of how “ehh…” of a character Cassian was in Rogue One.  But, believe me, it is definitely worth a watch. This is not the more kid-friendly version of Star Wars people typically see. This was made for a much more mature audience. It says a lot that a twelve-episode series gets people more excited for what is ahead compared to other, much more anticipated series that only had six episodes. Reading that final word of the last chapter, seeing the theater lights come back on, and seeing the credits roll one last time,  you should feel a new sense of enlightenment wash over you.

Andor was not just an amazing Star Wars series but just an amazing series all around. To those who prefer more fast-paced, right-to-the-point shows, this will not grab your attention right away, if at all. With that said, it is still absolutely worth the wait. This series builds tension and then releases over the course of three or so episodes and it is so, so rewarding. You’ll get butterflies, you’ll get goosebumps, and you’ll get genuinely emotional at the sight of characters that are either brand new to this show or have been around for less than a decade. If you are a Star Wars fan, a sci-fi fan, or just a fan of storytelling, this is most definitely a show to check out.