‘…Disney may not sell a lot of toys on the back on Andor… but they may win back some of the ill-served adult fans of the Star Wars franchise.’

Phew! After relentlessly rubbishing the recent Star Wars output featured on Disney+ it’s something of a relief to say in some confidence that Andor looks like the best thing to hit the Star Wars universe in some time. Disney may not sell a lot of toys on the back of Andor, a prequel series based on the Cassian Andor character previously featured in Rogue One, but they may win back some of the ill-served adult fans of the franchise. Those whose minds were blown by the ‘dirty space’ look of the 1977 film will appreciate how Disney have doubled down on the notion; we open in a brothel, there’s a sex scene, and people of various degrees of innocence and guilt are gunned down and stay dead. That’s very much the touch that Bourne–scribe Tony Gilroy brings to the tough, slow-burn feel of Andor; with the first three episodes dropping in formation onto on streaming, viewers can play straight through to a feature length Star Wars movie that, for once, plays deadly serious.

We open in a brothel, Amsterdam style, with potential alien partners displayed in dingy lit windows. Cassian Andro (Diego Luna) is seeking information about his sister from the madam, draws a blank, and is accosted by two corporate thugs on the way out, killing one by accident and executing the other in an alleyway skirmish. But while Andor already has a lengthy criminal record, this inciting incident sparks a man-hunt that forces Andor’s hand to get outta Dodge, or rather the planet of Ferrix, before the private security goons doing the Empire’s bidding come after him. Through his resourceful ex Bix Caleen (Ardia Ardrona), Andor manages to organise a trade for credits of some high-tech kit he’s pilfered from the Empire, and she arranges a meeting with Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård). Caleen‘s Glaswegian boyfriend (James McArdle) has his suspicions about Andor’s activities, as well as a jealous nature, and shops him to the authorities, who promptly send of squad of 12 men and two officers to intercept the meet. All parties converge in a health and safety nightmare shootout in a room full of hanging anvils, and the only way out is being good with a blaster…

So based on that description, you forget all about the Jedi, ewoks, Boba Fett, midi-chlorians, sand, Jar Jar Binks, force ghosts, baby yoda and all that guff; we’ve no time for that kind of whimsical sentiment. Even the Empire is a gauche early state, and when Andor and Luthern finally meet, there’s dialogue that ingeniously retcons how many key mistakes we know the Empire would go on to make. ‘When you steal from the Empire, you just walk in like you belong. They’re so proud of themselves, so fat and satisfied.’ That complacency is not yet seen, but Gilroy deals himself plenty of good cards, retains his ability to create scenes that reflect an eclectic knowledge of history; it’s very noticeable that this feels like the first time that the Empire’s subjugation of the galaxy has been seen in economic terms, and Andor is more wary of the local goon squads than the Empire itself. There’s also a flashback story for Andor himself that carries some of the desperate mood of Alejandro Landes’ harrowing child soldier drama Monos.

Andor suggests a universe on the edge of a revolution, ‘pockets of fermentation’ as one character observes, the onset of a fightback by the rebel alliance that hadn’t yet begun, and that’s a potent notion for 2022. With tonnes of fun ideas (from time-stamp BBY, to Nog, Revnog or Caf?) and a stark noir feel, Andor picks up the strongest suit of the Star Wars franchise (Rogue One) and makes it work as tv; for once, there ARE the droids we’re looking for, and for Star Wars fans, if you can’t find it here, it’s probably not worth looking for….


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  1. It was definitely wise to release the first three episodes all at once. A lot of these Disney Plus shows just don’t hook you in the first episode, and I can’t say that Episode 1 of this would have been enough for me to get invested in this.

    As long as the scripts are of high quality, this show should be excellent. I thought Diego Luna was excellent in Narcos: Mexico — he really has the ability to carry a show if he needs to.

    • Agreed on all points. This needed three episodes to catch fire, and I guess it’s still too slow for some people. But this will be a signature role for Luna, and some of the dialogue is choice. That ‘steal from the Empire’ the way he drops his voice. It should be great cinema, but at least it’s great tv.

    • Best not to have seen any of it. No knowledge required, entry level candidates preferred. Keen to hear what young people like yourself make of it.

      • Watched all 3 tonight sitting in our hotel room in Edinburgh! I am a fan of Diego Luna so that pulled me in, really enjoyed it, and no you don’t need to have seen any Star Wars to understand what’s going on. Great cinematography/CGI world building and good acting. A bit slow to start off with but it’s hotted up in No.3.

    • Phew! Finally the correct answer. I didn’t stick with The Mandolorian, and wish I hadn’t stuck with Obi Wan or Boba Fett, so I guess I’m casual too.. But this is really doubling down on the bleak, political view of Rogue One, it’s not for kids, but for grown ups, this really is essential viewing. It’s one of the few current franchises that’s saying anything about life in Sept 2022, and that has to be welcome.

              • Not fact! Any clear reading of the evidence clearly indicates that Saoirse Ronan is the next Kate Hepburn.

                Both have played the iconic roles of Mary Queen of Scots and Jo March.
                Both have delightful accents
                Both look kick ass in pants.

                The defense rests, your honor.

                • You make an interesting point, and the evidence provided is conclusive. Bangs gavel; you win your case! Now, who is the new Barbara Stanwyck? I’ve got Hilary Duff written here, but open to offers…

                  • Okay. This is a tough one. I actually think there is no equivalent to Stanwyck. Even in her day, she was one of a kind.

                    I’m going to say today you would have to mix Maggie Smith ( long career, and a comeback as the aging matriarch in a beloved long running TV show) and Alexis Bledel (who shuns publicity in a way Stany would respect)

                    • Hmmm…so far so good. Which of the following to you agree with? Put in order of credibility.

                      Timothy Charmolet is the new Spencer Tracy.

                      Mark Wahlberg is the new Cary Grant.

                      Florence Pugh is the new Myrna Loy.

                      Melissa McCarthy is the new Greta Garbo.

                    • Okay, I’ve put a lot of thought into this one…..

                      I think I’m with you on Florence Pugh being the new Myrna Loy.

                      For the others I am compelled to tinker!

                      Timothée Chalamet is the new Montgomery Clift

                      Colin Firth is the new Cary Grant

                      Melissa McCarthy is the new Carole Lombard

                      And as a side note, I think Hillary Duff is the new Audrey Hepburn!

                    • Here are the results.

                      1. Yes.
                      2. No. Colin Firth is not the new anything.

                      3. Yes, I can see that. It the new Mae West.

                      4. No, I’m just messing. I’ve seen too many Hilary Duff movies.

                      So the publicity shy Rory seems to have left Handmaid’s Tale and got divorced in the last few weeks. I knew Logan Huntzburger was a bad influence. She should have stick with Jess. Or Dean. Or anyone other than telescope guy. Where did it all go wrong for Rory Gilmore?

                    • It went wrong for Rory when she got it in her head she was going to be a journalist. She’s booksmart but doesn’t have the stones for reporting. She’s got Yale Classics Professor written all over her. And all of her boyfriends sucked, Jess most of all!!!!!!!

                    • I guess that was the point, from a mom’s pov, all Rory’s suitors were not good enough. I doubt ASP ever worked at any kind of student newspaper because these scenes has me rolling my eyes to Yale and back. That’s NOT how student journalism works anywhere. She’s have been better picking litter or stealing boats. It’s many things, but GG is not a useful guide to journalism. Mrs Gilmore should have set Rory on the right path…

                    • Yes. I always felt Lorelai was the more interesting of the two anyway. And that Lorelai-Emily was the more interesting mother-daughter relationship. Forget anymore sequels, I could be talked into a prequel of Lorelai growing up with Emily and Richard and cut out Rory’s character completely (even though Rory reminds me very much of myself growing up!)

                    • I’m treating The Betsy and an unofficial prequel about Richard’s pre insurance career. We can expand the universe from there…

                    • Also….I’ve not seen any Hilary Duff movies, but she’s quite the clothes horse in the TV show “Younger” which I quite like, and links her ever so distantly to the fashion icon Audrey.

                    • No Raise My Voice? No Cinderella Story? I saw them in the big screen, that’s my commitment to the Duff. But in retrospect, she’s rubbish. Lohan took the teen princess thing to another level snd left her for dust/Duff.

                      Surely no point in holding a candle for Colin Firth in 2022?

  2. We watched The Mandalorian and loved it. Then we heard Disney had like 100 other Star Wars series in development. Nope. This franchise is so damn watered down now it is under water. We’ll stick with The Mandalorian, but that’s it. I’m sure Disney will do well without our participation.

  3. Star Wars, as a franchise, is dead to me. I will watch my gold edition dvds and enjoy them until I die. But I will never pay money or attention to anything else bearing the name Star Wars.

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