While Disney+’s Obi-Wan Kenobi might have brought back Hayden Christensen’s Darth Vader and his former master, Ben Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) for another epic battle, Star Wars: Andor brings the entire galaxy to the forefront of the war. And it’s epic!
RELATED: Andor Cast & Crew Believe It’ll Change the Star Wars Universe
2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was one of the Star Wars franchise’s darker and more mature movies that told the story of characters that are not particularly important in the greater scheme of the story. They are all ground-level foot soldiers who were fighting as hard as they can so they could get the Death Star plans to the Rebel Alliance and give them a chance against the Empire. It was also one of the first mainstream movies that showed the brutality of war and killed off the entirety of its main cast permanently.
The gritty Rogue One was such a sharp contrast to previous Star Wars movies and quickly became one of the favourites among fans, so when Disney+ dropped the first trailer for Andor, those same fans (myself included) were absolutely over the moon. Not only are we getting more content with everyone’s favourite (more morally grey) disgruntedly caring, spy and assassin, Cassian Andor (played by Diego Luna), but we were going to be returning to a grittier version of Star Wars than many of them had come to prefer.
Let’s take a look at Disney+’s new Star Wars series, Andor, shall we?
RELATED: Andor Trailer: Witness The Beginning Of The Rebellion
Andor is told at a much slower pace than Disney+’s other Star Wars TV shows. It takes its time to reintroduce us to a character that we haven’t seen in a while and presents us with the world that he lived in before we met him in Rogue One. But we are not only being shown Cassian’s story and everything that led up to him Rebel Alliance Intelligence Operative but also the story about the community of Rebels that was built during that time.
The creator of Andor, showrunner Tony Gilroy (who was also the one behind Rogue One: A Star Wars Story), as well as the numerous actors and crew members that worked together on this project, have put a lot of love and effort into the story they are trying to tell and that is made very clear by how captivating the new Disney+ series is.
The Complex Topics In Disney+’s Andor
Over the years, there have been a lot of shows and movies that have tried to address more complex topics and more often than not they will completely ruin the story with a very poor attempt. The creators of Andor decided to their hand at it and they did not disappoint. Some very real-world problems and topics are brought up throughout the Star Wars series, but they are done in a way that doesn’t break away from the story unnecessarily or take away from the narrative. In fact, at times the topic fits so well into the narrative of the story that it actually adds to it. The way topics are brought up flows nicely and are even used as a way to do world-building, or give us more information about a character. There are even some topics that aren’t directly addressed by the characters, but the way they have been included in the Andor story makes the message very clear.
Easy Flowing Dialogue
Unlike previous Star Wars series or films, where dialogue was more “punchy” (like in The Mandalorian) or awkwardly and cornily phrased, the conversation between characters has become more realistic and subtle. In Andor, they talk like normal people rather than in an overdramatized, spectacle-heavy and terse way that people have come to expect from the epic sci-fi adventure franchise. Dialogue is layered and done in a more nuanced fashion similar to that of Mad Men and other well-loved character-driven stories. It’s a nice change and makes for a more interesting, intriguing, and relatable story.
RELATED: Tales of the Jedi: What We Know About The Exciting New Star Wars Series
The Incredible Character Building in Star Wars: Andor
The way Andor is handling the build-up of its characters is fantastic. Nothing about the different character’s personalities is directly thrown into our faces, instead, it’s left for us to sift through and determine for ourselves. Everything from the small changes in facial expressions, to different characters’ mannerisms and speech patterns.
This can be seen specifically with the protagonist, Cassian. He is one of the quieter characters in the story, not speaking much and just silently observing everything around him so he can make a quick assessment of a situation. Fans spot it in small moments like the flashbacks to his childhood, when he watches the leader of his little village paint her face and proceeds to copy her and paint his own in a similar fashion. It also comes out in full swing when he reveals that he knows exactly what hand everyone shoots with and that he knows small unspoken things about the craft that they are planning to steal.
We also see it in Karis Nemik (a rebel hero played by Alex Lawther) in the animated way he speaks about things he cares about, and in the way that the rebels playfully roll their eyes at him when he over-explains stuff.
It’s even shown in the way characters in Andor present themselves. Characters like Dedra Meero (played by Denise Gough) and Syril Karn (played by Kyle Soller) are both shown to care about looking neat and proper, giving us hints about their ambitions and their need for everything to be done properly. Luthen Rael is a character that literally takes time to carefully adorn his meticulously sculpted mask, so he can play the part of an important individual in Coruscant without raising any sort of alarm. Even Cassian shaving his beard before he joins the Rebels is his own way of hiding. He removes something that was prominent back on Ferrix and is starting afresh
It’s wonderful to see all the small things that slowly build up over the course of the series and allow us to eventually paint a picture of the characters that we’ve grown to love in the exact way that the storytellers intended us to with the little hints that they scattered around for us. Star Wars: Andor isn’t spoon-feeding its audience and it’s something that fans who are actively paying attention to details when they watch something are particularly appreciative of.
RELATED: 3 Reasons Why Harry Potter Is A Star Wars Ripoff
The Gritty Feeling of the World
The world of Star Wars depicted in Andor feels a lot more lived in and the characters feel a lot more like they are actual people living the world rather than just more characters created for the sake of the origin story. Ferrix, the desert planet located in the Free Trade sector of the Star Wars galaxy, feels particularly real. You can feel the heaviness in the air, the rusting wear and tear on vehicles, and the mud on people’s boots as characters walk through town to carry on with their daily life.
You can feel how the Galactic Empire’s reign of terror has affected planets like Coruscant, which were once bright and culturally vibrant and are now dull and stark. Everything feels cold, grey, and lifeless. There’s no variation. It has become monotone and industrial, perfectly depicting the authoritarian rule that has come over the plant. The serious and durable architecture reeks a dystopian feel into the air and the frigid, loneliness of a bright city gone dark just shows that there is something very clearly evil afoot.
Even the tragedy of the state that the planet of Aldhani (where the Star Wars Rebels are hiding out) is felt through the screen. You can almost feel the characters’ exhaustion as they travel the terrain and have to deal with the less-than-pleasant living conditions and disgusting food. It’s a clear indication of their struggle and there’s a feeling of mournfulness when stories about the way the Empire cleared out and modernized the locals (which resulted in them losing a piece of their culture) so that they could better benefit from the use of the planet
Andor has also taken a significantly more realistic turn when compared to other Star Wars media. We can now hear and see that violence has a very real and very visible effect on different characters. Soldiers are seen calling for a medic after an explosion that was set off took out some of their men, and there are a number of people that are seen mourning over their dead friends and loved ones who are now staring blankly into nothingness. Violence and injury have become more than just passing elements of a story that can be fixed by giving a character a cybernetic limb. Instead, things like burns from blaster fire have become in-world elements that can affect characters. They are acknowledged and taken care of with care rather than completely ignore.
So many characters are on edge and beginning to crack under the pressure that the Empire is forcing down on them and audiences can feel it. They are broken, troubled, and scared for their loved one’s safety, as well as their own. No one knows when the lid is suddenly going to be blown off of everything, leaving everyone exposed to the Empire, but the anticipation is building.
Everything about Andor has made the world of Star Wars significantly more realistic and gritty than previous shows (yes, even The Mandalorian). It’s been redesigned to make certain elements feel like they could happen in the real world, even with all the sci-fi elements.
RELATED: Baby Yoda: Star Wars Launches Super Cute Grogu Tamagotchis
The Portrayal of the Rebels and the Empire in Star Wars: Andor
There is a stark difference in power between the Empire, which has been running smoothly for a couple of years without anyone trying to stand up against their reign of terror, and the Rebels, who are completely disorganized and have just started to stand up to them.
The Power of the Empire
They are an oppressive group of enforcers who have had years to establish themselves and train their forces so that they are easily able to take over an area and snuff out any form of resistance that dares to rise up from underneath them. They have got plenty of systems in place to make sure that their hold over the galaxy, and all its inhabitants, remains as tight as it has been since their reign began.
Andor’s depiction of the Empire seems to carry far more weight than what has previously been shown in Star Wars media. Their evilness has never been something that Star Wars has tried to hide. The Star Wars franchise has always been about the fight between ultimate good and ultimate evil, but there’s just something that is so incredibly jarring and real in certain moments that it feels like we’re seeing them Empire for the first time. The power that this oppressive force has over the galaxy is clear even without the addition of characters like Darth Vader and Palpatine, to help establish their presence.
The overwhelming power of their forces is made starkly clear by Karis when he says, “The pace of oppression outstrips our ability to understand it.” The Empire is committing so many atrocities at such a fast pace that people aren’t actually able to keep up with what is going on. They become so overwhelmed with information and all that the Empire is doing that people begin to become hopeless and feel no motivation to carry on, and that is where the strength of the Empire lies.
Their influence and power are even seen in organizations that are affiliated with the Empire such as Preox-Morlana (a corporate authority that kept tabs on the Free Trade sector of the galaxy and investigated when necessary). This was seen in short but hard-hitting scenes, such as when Cassian is followed and stopped by two guards who feel like they need to teach him a lesson or when Bix Caleen’s (played by Adria Arjona) boyfriend (Timm Karlo – played by James McArdle) is killed by one of the members of Pre-Mor Enforcement when he doesn’t comply with an order to stay back.
Characters like Dedra and Syril are two more great examples of why the Empire is so dangerous. Both have been raised in a time where all they know is the Empire. Dedra is someone who is insistent on following up on every little thing that looks like it might be going against the Empire. She will do everything she possibly can even make enemies of her fellow officers if it means making sure that the organization she believes in will remain on top. Syril Karn seems to be a character who idolizes the Empire and structure and may end up becoming a major thorn in Cassian’s side if he decides to continue to pursue him in an attempt to win back a spot of power.
The Struggle of the Rebels
In high contrast, the beginnings of the Rebel Alliance are a disorganized rag-tag team of nobodies from nowhere. None of them have had any prior training or experience in war and no matter how long they’ve spent trying to prepare themselves for an attack they are planning to make on an Empire Garrison, none of them are truly prepared. All they are, is a small, mismatched team of people who have been hurt by the Empire in different ways, don’t seem to completely trust each other, and are terrified, but they have banded together and united under the same cause so that they can try to make a difference for the galaxy.
Not a single one of them is a force-sensitive, lightsaber-wielding powerhouse, but they have chosen to be part of the little Rebellion. They’re going into this firefight together despite the knowledge that there will be no backup for their team and no assurances that anyone is actually going to make it out alive.
They are going to go in, show the Empire exactly how weak they are by stealing something from right under their noses, and hope that their actions will give people the push they need to stand up against the Empire.
RELATED: Guardians of the Galaxy Is a Better Star Wars Story Than Modern Star Wars
Disney+ Andor Season 2 News
While there are still 7 episodes of the 12-episode-long season to go, Andor fans are already wondering if and when there will be a season 2 on Disney+. Fortunately for them, Season 2 had already long since been confirmed. Unfortunately for fans who just can’t seem to get enough of the “unwilling to admit just how caring he is” pilot, we will be left hanging after the season finale for a while. In an interview with The Wrap Tony Gilroy said:
“We start shooting in November on Part 2. And I don’t know if…Our past pattern was two years, but I mean, I’ll be on… We’ll shoot from November to August. And then our post(-production) last time was about a year.”
This means that after the finale for season 1 airs in November on Disney+, fans shouldn’t expect to see any more Andor content until at least 2024.
With so much having already happened in the first five episodes and way more still to come, this is definitely one of the Star Wars TV series you should add to your watchlist on Disney Plus.
Andor stars Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, Stellan Skarsgård as Luthen Rael, Alex Ferns as Sgt. Kostek, Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma, Kyle Soller as Syril Karn, Wilf Scolding as Captain Vanis Tigo, Antonio Viña as Kassa, Joplin Sibtain as Brasso, Dave Chapman as B2EMO, Adria Arjona as Bix Caleen, James McArdle as Timm Karlo, Abhin Galeya as Salman Paak, Alastair Mackenzie as Perrin Fertha, and Elizabeth Dulau as Kleya Marki.
RELATED: The 10 Best Star Wars Scenes & Moments From Each Movie
What are your thoughts on the Andor series and who are you hoping to see make an appearance further into the Disney+ Star Wars show?