Andor: Season 1 a Star Wars spectacular


Diego Luna (front) plays Cassian Andor, and Stellan Skarsgard plays Luthen Rael on the latest in the Star Wars universe from Disney.

An incredible journey that expands the boundaries of what modern Star Wars can be.

“Andor” details the early days of the Rebellion and the true beginning of the end for the Empire. It shows the political and economic struggles that the Rebellion underwent, along with the guerilla fighters and small efforts that transpired into a galaxy wide movement against the tyrannical Empire.

This show is truly amazing and there are no lesser words that can describe it. Every episode became better than the last, and each episode was so engaging to watch that not a single moment seemed to be wasted in this show. We saw so many new characters introduced and then given so much development in such little time. Even the short-lived roles are so memorable to the audiences.

“Andor” made the sacrifice for the Rebel cause more prevalent than previous Star Wars entries. When Cassian Andor or another character goes up against an enemy we are seeing more than just a faceless or generic looking rebel. We see these legitimate people, with lives and emotions, that have aspirations and ambitions. We see them die in this fuming galaxy-wide war for just the effort of a rebellious act.

This show makes the Empire more than a dumbfounded bumbling bunch of fools. It makes them smarter, which in turn makes them more powerful than before. We see them not as just random stormtroopers, but as ISB officers and security companies. We see how cruel and inhumane their actions are against the people within the galaxy. The Empire in “Andor” is competent, something that Star Wars has failed to show for a while. They aren’t jokes like they are usually shown to be, and they’re a truly menacing force to be reckoned with.

Many fans of Star Wars have this belief that the Empire was right in their conquest. These fans after watching this show are sure to throw any sympathy towards the empire out the window. “Andor” proves their ruthlessness to be far too extreme for any audience member to side with them.

This ruthless nature is best shown in episode nine of the season, which shows Imperial prisoners at their most vulnerable and frightened. Their interrogation tactics utilized are actually shown now. Not only are the techniques shown, but the effect that it has towards the victims is too. The Empire utilizes torture, murder, and their complete disregard for citizens and prisoners.

This ugliness is not all there is to the side of the galaxy that “Andor” occupies. We see the citizens of the galaxy persevere and become rebellious against the oppressive Imperial rule. Many of the episodes show the building tensions between the galaxy and its overruling government. Eventually these tensions break and unravel through riots, uprisings, and revolts. Many of the actions made by the rebel groups in this show act like “the shot heard ‘round the world”. This show gives us a look at how people finally started thinking and acting for themselves under the dogmatic Empire.

This show made me feel for these Rebel activists and instigators that are merely side characters. Andy Serkis’s Kino Loy played the role of one of these instigators in this season. More than that, his performance, though short, left an impact that I don’t believe many other actors could replicate. Yes his inclusion was for only a short time, yet he left such an emotional impact that it’s hard to get a character like him out of the audience’s head. If anything he probably has one of the best scenes in the show. So to say, he was a very incredible addition to the show, and he made the message of going against the Empire all the more prevalent.

We see Diego Luna as Cassian Andor lean further into a darkness we got only a glimpse of in the opening scene of the series. His experiences being a part of the first sparks of the Rebellion across the galaxy gave way to some needed change for his new rebel life. It changed Cassian from an uncaring man looking just for a way out of the action, to a man that found purpose and passion for a cause. His arc is still far from being close to his “Rogue One” self. Cassian still has so much to learn, but clearly ready for that chance to learn.

Cassian, if anything, acts like a witness to most of the big rebel events he is a part of. He is never really the man taking charge of the situations he’s in. While it does sound like it could be a bad thing for his development, his roles in these situations lean more into encouraging others to fight. He acts as the person to bring the spark to each mini-rebellion.

Stellan Skarsgård as Luther Rael plays an expertly knowledgeable and stern rebel leader set to cripple the Empire by any means necessary. Whether he sacrifices his own people, breaks moral boundaries, or knowingly destroys his own self worth, he is dedicated to the cause of the Rebellion. While we do get to see a lot of characterization for who Luthen is, at the end we still are left wondering who he actually is. There is a season two on its way, so it’s not so disappointing to see his true backstory left for later on. Even without it we see just how indecent he is, and how close to being a villain that he may actually become if he stoops too low.

Not only does Skarsgård act in his A-game but he clearly cares for his performance. We’ve seen with other big name actors who star in films and shows like Star Wars that don’t really care for what they’re in and what they portray. Rather they care about being in it for the sake of being in it. Throughout the first season Skarsgård gives his all as the ruthless rebel organizer, and I cannot wait to see where his journey leads.

As for the music and score of this show, it was definitely more unique in many aspects. The opening theme goes from somber and even moving music to a very fast paced and hard hitting version of the same theme. Along with that are some pretty fun themes like “Niamos!” that are more fun and lively than the Star Wars themes we’ve seen before.

“Andor” finally let Star Wars grow up. It allowed the genre to expand into a more dialogue based drama series, rather than an action filled cgi blunder that does nothing for its plot. Yes there is action and cgi, but it’s used only when necessary. A lot of the show was filmed in London and on location around the UK. It’s quite obvious how real the sets are, especially around episode four, five, and six.

Episode 10 is a perfect example of what Star Wars evolved into with this show. This episode is by far one of the best written, acted, directed, and emotional pieces of Star Wars media that I have ever seen. I would even go as far to say that it was one of the best episodes of television that I’ve seen all year. That’s saying a lot considering many incredible shows like “Better Call Saul”, “Barry”, and “The Boys” came out with some amazing episodes this year. Yet “Andor” really hit it out of the ballpark with episode 10. It transpired so much emotion from Cassian and Luthen, as well as Andy Serkis’s Kino Loy who was only in those three episodes.

I do have to say “Andor” is a much better binge watch than its weekly release. It is a very dialogue heavy show compared to the likes of “The Mandalorian”. Action is very spread out in the show with a three episode arc format. Even for fans who like a very action-centric Star Wars show I would simply encourage them to keep an open mind. When the action hits it feels so rewarding and satisfying after all the build-up that leads up to it.

“Andor” season one provided one of the best stories that Star Wars has told in recent years.

The style and care that was put into each episode truly rivals every other show that is on Disney+. It didn’t care for how many cameos it could have, and it didn’t try to solely become a show lost in its own action. Instead “Andor” decided to tell its own story with some of the most impressive storytelling, directing, acting, and writing that a Star Wars show could ever have. It feels more like a show you’d find on HBO rather than on one of Disney’s streaming services.

“Andor” takes the crown as not only the best Star Wars TV series, but as the best Disney+ project to date.

“Andor” was created by Tony Gilroy and stars Diego Luna, Adria Arjona, Stellan Skarsgård, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, Fiona Shaw, Faye Marsay, Genevieve O’Reilly, Andy Serkis, and Forest Whitaker. “Andor” season one is now streaming on Disney+, and the first two episodes are now streaming on Hulu.