Andor Series Review: Going into Andor, there was quite a bit of skepticism as recent Star Wars shows have basically turned into a fan service schlock that fail to provide any intimacy in their stories. So, to my surprise, it was refreshing to see when Andor actually turned away from the formula and set up a worthy story where the characters actually felt human. Tony Gilroy has basically taken the bones of Star Wars and placed them in water with some potatoes, and boy, do they have a delicious stew going on over here. PS – the review is based on the first four episodes provided to us by Disney. Andor: Review, Release Date, Time, Where to Watch – All You Need to Know About Diego Luna’s Star Wars Disney+ Series!
Created by Tony Gilroy, the man who was brought in to reshoot a significant chunk of Rogue One, comes Andor. Taking place five years before the Battle of Scariff, Andor brings back Diego Luna’s morally ambiguous Rebel to the forefront as the show focuses on his origins. From the opening of the show, you can tell it’s a different experience as Cassian Andor walks into the shady underworld to locate his sister. With things not exactly going in a peaceful manner, he ends up killing two people in cold blood while a manhunt begins.
A Still From Andor (Photo Credit: Lucasfilm)
Cassian over here is even more of a loose cannon than he was in Rogue One as the ambiguity of his persona is brought to the forefront. Luna is better than before with more time given to flesh out his background and he is joined by a merry bunch of folks with their own personal issues that really makes the series feel grounded. Adria Arjona’s Bix Caleen is trapped between a triangle as her past with Andor causes issues with her romantic partner, while Stellan Skarsgard’s Luthen Rael has more to him than meets the eye.
With a political undertone too as the show is set in the grimmest timeline of a “galaxy far, far, away…” Genevieve O’Reilly returns in the role of Mon Mothma and the political pressure can be seen weighing on here. There is a more intimate aspect to the empire as well where Kyle Soler’s Syril, an imperial officer, can be seen failing to live up to the own high standards set by him. It creates for an interesting conflict the likes of which haven’t been seen since Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith.
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While the structure of the first few episodes can feel a bit awry with a feeling like a 90-minute episode cut up in three parts, there is still something to take away. It never feels like a movie pretending to be a TV show, and that’s the biggest compliment I can bestow upon it as many of the Disney+ series have suffered from this aspect.
This in turn creates for a story where characters can shine. Majority of the time is spent on developing them and getting out of a situation and it creates for a tense and bleak atmosphere that really makes you root for these people. One specific scene which is already available to watch on Disney+, saw Andor and Luther engaged in a gunfight trying to escape imperial forces. While it sounds like your normal Star Wars scuffle, there is some intriguing context behind it and the desperation of it all makes it so much more worth. It’s like it took the best parts of Rogue One, and built upon them. It’s almost like a drama in certain parts.
A Still From Andor (Photo Credit: Lucasfilm)
The other thing Andor ditches is the Volume, a volumetric way of using LED screens to build visuals that we saw in The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lucasfilm goes to back to the good ol’ concept of green screens and some on the location shooting, and in turn, we receive movie-level visuals that makes Andor stand far apart from rest of the outings on Disney+. The skylines of Coruscant and the damp and dirty streets of the planet Cassian is living in, there is personality within the locals which is mixed in with Nicholas Brinell’s score which perfectly compliments the character driven aspect of Andor. Andor Review: Diego Luna’s ‘Star Wars’ Spinoff Series Blows Away Netizens, Receives Positive Early Reactions.
The world feels dark and mature and it finally feels like something related to Star Wars knows what it wants to be. While I appreciate my tension breaker with our heroes walking into a cantina for a good drink, it’s refreshing when that mold is broken to focus on the smaller people of the galaxy affected by the empire.
First Three Episodes Structure Can Be a Bit Awry
Personal, intimate and refreshing, Andor is the series that Star Wars needs right now. Ditching the fan service of a Skywalker or a niche alien species with a five-syllable name showing up every second, it focuses on the smaller-scale struggles of the people affected by the Empire. If this is what the rest of the series is going to be, then count me all in. Andor starts streaming from September 21, 2022 on Disney+ Hotstar.
(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Sep 20, 2022 09:31 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website freshheadline.com).