Wednesday, September 28, 2022

‘Andor’ Review: The Gritty, Grounded Story That ‘Star Wars’ Has Been Missing

STAR WARS SERIESANDOR'Andor' Review: The Gritty, Grounded Story That 'Star Wars' Has Been Missing

The story of Cassian Andor awaits in Andor, a series which takes place five years prior to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While Rogue One was largely considered a success by Star Wars fans, it was unfortunate that the doomed trajectory of its brilliant cast of leading characters (and seamless lead-in to A New Hope) left no real opportunity to see more of them. However, with Rogue One‘s Tony Gilroy at the helm, Andor solves this issue by turning back the clock to trace Cassian’s steps as he becomes involved with the Rebel Alliance. Ahead of tomorrow’s premiere, we’ve had a chance to dive into the first four episodes.

This show is set to offer audiences the longest runtime thus far out of any of the existing Star Wars series on Disney+, with 24 planned episodes in total across a span of two seasons. Given the overall limitations when working with a smaller amount of episodes, it’s exciting coming into this series knowing that we’re guaranteed to get the in-depth, large-scale story that the Rebel Alliance (finally) deserves. Andor is truly a welcome departure from what we’ve typically come to know from Star Wars fare — it’s grittier, it’s darker, and in the first four episodes alone, it proves that it will absolutely be the franchise’s most grounded series (or film) yet.

Viewers that start off their binge of the 3-episode premiere shouldn’t despair by the lack of action in the first two episodes, which are meant to set the stage and plant necessary seeds for what’s to come. By the third episode, events will tumultuously come to a head in a chain reaction of events that will send Cassian barrelling down his story’s intended path.

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Diego Luna returns for the series, naturally falling back into his iconic role as Cassian Andor like no time has passed at all. Despite the fact that he’s not flanked by the rest of his Rogue One crew, Luna doesn’t miss a beat. He hits the ground running right from the get-go and leaves no room for argument that he’ll confidently lead and carry this show from beginning to end. Luna is wholly conscious of the layers of character development that needed to be carefully peeled back from Rogue One, because the Cassian that we meet in the first episode has yet to become the spy that will pull off one of the most important missions of the entire Rebellion. His in-depth understanding of his character becomes abundantly clear as we experience the overall familiarity of Cassian with edges that have not yet been shaped and hardened into the man we met in Rogue One.

Lucasfilm

Alongside Luna, Stellan Skarsgård is already on track to undoubtedly give one of the best performances that the series has to offer as the captivating character Luthen Rael, and Kyle Soller’s Syril Karn swiftly leaves an air of intrigue in his wake. Andor also takes care not to forget that for all of the men that have been touted as the heroic and villainous faces of Star Wars, there are plenty of strong women to be found across all facets of this universe as well — be it in the Rebellion, the Republic, or the Empire. There’s no shortage of important female characters here; Adria Arjona, Denise Gough, Fiona Shaw, Genevieve O’Reilly, and Faye Marsay have all collectively left an impression on the series thus far in particular. And of course, there’s also another new droid here to steal the show — B2EMO.

Taking its cues from Rogue One, Andor will stand tall alongside the other series and films alike. It’s a firm reminder that despite all that the universe of Star Wars has come to be known for in the years since its inception — grand things like tales of the Jedi and the Sith — there lies a rich, untapped well of potential in the background noise, too. Andor is an immersive, emotional, hard-hitting, detail-oriented series that intimately gazes into a galaxy far, far away like never before, and it’s exactly what the franchise needed.

The first three episodes of Andor will premiere exclusively on Disney+ tomorrow, September 21. Stay tuned for all of our series coverage, including episodic recaps and more.

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