Andor: A New Hope

Manny Hernandez, Scribe Reporter

Disney+

Andor, the latest addition to the Disney+ Star Wars universe, wrapped up its 12-episode run on November 23rd, and without a doubt, Andor easily proves to be the best Star Wars live-action series to date. With a refreshing take on the typical Star Wars story, Andor instilled a revitalized sense of hope for the future of Star Wars

Having already been introduced to its main character, Cassian Andor, in the 2016 blockbuster Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the show focuses on telling Andor’s backstory by portraying the grittier, more realistic side of Star Wars. This choice to really strip away the fantasy-like portrayal of Star Wars and introduce this more grounded perspective of what it means to be a typical person under the tyrannical rule of the empire is what gives Andor the feel that sets it apart from anything else — introducing the audience to an entirely new world.

But most importantly, the show’s carefully crafted story propels it to another level. 

Andor is the ultimate palate cleanser for those dissatisfied with the lackluster path taken by many of the franchise’s most recent installations. The superb production quality of the show successfully deviates from the artificial manner used in making new Star Wars media.  By opting to use practical sets, Andor provides its audience a grounded realism that has been sorely lacking.

The score for the series is yet another standout in the show – enhancing the show’s ability to portray an engaging story without the need for fancy special effects. It even more surprisingly creates a completely organic story without the need to include the typical “crutches” many shows utilize such as returning characters, Jedi, or even lightsabers.

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What really shines in particular about this show, however, is its character-focused plot. Instead of building the show around a particular plot line like many other shows, Andor takes a chance and focuses on taking the time to flesh out its characters. The way the show portrays its characters as being morally “grey” only adds to the realism, making the characters feel more real and human—the viewers connect to them on a deeper level. Every single character in the show also has their own unique, complex story that helps bring the drama to another level. 

Diego Luna, who portrays Andor in the show, does a phenomenal job of expanding upon his existing character — who we saw as the accomplished rebel leader in the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Andor’s layers are peeled back, revealing his true nature as a hustler, mercenary, and (occasionally) dishonorable villain. Andor is by no means a good person, but one still finds themselves cheering him on as his character arc is so complex — and despite the evil, he’s committed, the viewer doesn’t see a lowly criminal; he’s just trying to make his way through the galaxy.

Andor also gracefully provides its audience with an easy-to-understand continuity. A problem that most recent live-action Star Wars shows shares concerns the structure their plot — jumping from one story to another, almost feeling like they are cramming three shows into one. But what Andor does so well, is how each plot point can be traced back to the first decision Andor made, which then led to him embarking on this continuous journey of peril and character development. This means that each episode is crucial to the understanding of the whole story — something that is nonexistent with recent shows that contain run-on, homogenous storylines.

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Overshadowed by the releases of other more hyped shows, Andor was disregarded as the origin story of a character no one cared to consider. Do not make the regrettable mistake of brushing off this show as yet another lackluster money grab, however. This series was truly a masterpiece. If you’re on the fence about watching this show and have lost hope for the direction of Star Wars as it stands — have some hope. Rebellions are built on hope.

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