Review: Booting the flashy heroes, ‘Andor’ turns the spotlight on ordinary people

Carter Mudgett, Editor in Chief

When you hear Star Wars, what do you think of? Classic blue and red lightsaber duels, the ever-evil Empire and good-looking Jedi are probably some of the first things that come to mind. Toss all that aside with Disney and Lucasfilm’s new TV series: “Andor.” 

Slightly toned back from the typical Star Wars universe—known for those lightsaber-swinging, force-wielding heroes—season one of Disney+’s “Andor” may happen in a galaxy far far away but it hits much much closer to home. 

Taking place several years before the events of Rogue One and A New Hope, Toby Hanes’s new series wrenches the spotlight away from large-scale battles, high-profile villains and heroes, and back onto ordinary people.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Andor. (Courtesy of Lucasfilm)
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Andor. (Courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+)

In “Andor,” we reunite with Diego Luna, who reprises his role as Cassian Andor from “Rogue One“, to experience a more down to Earth story of a migrant stuck in the gray area between the Rebellion and the Empire. 

Importantly, as the main character, Cassian feels real—someone you could run into on the street (if we lived in the Star Wars universe, at least). By all accounts, he’s just a normal dude trying to survive, aside from being objectively attractive.

A gritty depiction of life ruled by the Empire, this 12-episode series traverses several unique arcs as fans meet characters up and down the social pyramid, from galactic prisoners to political figures and everyone in between. 

“Andor” is a step away from the classic Star Wars films, which painted a picture of the Empire that blows up planets and goes on multi-galaxy manhunts for Jedi. Side characters in those movies were just that: side characters.

Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) in Andor. (Courtesy of Lucasfilm)
Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) in Andor. (Courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+)

Those behind the scenes running the Empire hardly ever got their time on the big screen. That all changes now. Ordinary citizens are at the story’s center, and evil dictators take a back seat this time around. 

Where the series delivered a powerful portrayal of fascism, it also offered an equally powerful portrayal of resistance. 

Heroes aren’t just born from nothing; they must come from somewhere. That ‘somewhere’ is regular people. Here, watch characters’ frustrations grow into discontent and, eventually, anger, a breeding ground for resistance. 

The Empire’s utter disregard for the people it seeks to control and exploit is a point driven home, proving that a rebellion was inevitable, hero or no hero. 

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering,” Yoda said in The Phantom Menace. In “Andor,” we see the Empire’s day-to-day impact more clearly.

Of course, rebellion doesn’t come without its sacrifices. Lives are lost, and promises are broken, but the TV series gives fans a new perspective on the Star Wars universe.

ISB Supervisor Lonni Jung (left, Robert Emms), Major Partagaz (center, Anton Lesser) and ISB Supervisor Dedra Meero (right, Denise Gough) in Andor. (Courtesy of Lucasfilm)
ISB Supervisor Lonni Jung (left, Robert Emms), Major Partagaz (center, Anton Lesser) and ISB Supervisor Dedra Meero (right, Denise Gough) in Andor. ((Courtesy of Lucasfilm and Disney+)

Overall, the story feels real. The characters are relatable and flushed out, which makes the guessing game of “who’s going to survive till the end of the season” more surprising and less predictable. 

Even with impactful, no-joke topics included in its first season (namely murder and torture), “Andor” is unafraid and, frankly, confident in itself. 

However, given that the show is streaming exclusively on Disney+ (more often than not, a family-friendly streaming service), it sometimes feels unsure of itself, seesawing between family and mature content at times. 

Regardless, with 12 episodes down in this first season and another 12 planned for the second, the tale of Cassian Andor is far from over and is a definite must-watch.

4.5 spinnaker sails

Spinnaker rates “Andor” 4.5 out of 5 Spinnaker Sails. 


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