- Science Fiction
Fix: Space Adventure; Morally Gray Main Character; Search For Answers; Star Wars Prequel, But Not Those Prequels
Long before the mission to secure the Death Star plans made him a hero of the Rebellion, a reckless Cassian Andor searches for information about his past. This obsession takes him to the seedy quarters of a world where an encounter with authorities brands Cassian as a wanted criminal. His attempt to lay low on planet Ferris brings his problems home.
Before he was Jyn Erso’s doomed love interest and valued member of the Rebellion, Cassian Andor was an orphan, adopted by a loving-but-not-overly-sweet mother who wasn’t exactly always on the right side of the law. As an adult, Cassian followed in her footsteps, doing what he needed to to make ends meet and playing all angles to get things done. He wasn’t interested in becoming part of any sort of rebellion, but life has a way of turning the most scruffy-looking Nerf herders into heroes.
And elsewhere in the galaxy, folks are chafing against Palpatine’s Empire and going to dangerous lengths to fix the wrongs they see with their society, even if it means putting everything on the line.
Stellan Skarsgård as Luthen Rael; Diego Luna as Cassian Andor
If you’ve ever seen Rogue One, you’ll recognize Diego in the role of Cassian Andor, but perhaps only physically. This prequel version of the character is much more early Han Solo than the dedicated Rebel we meet in the movie, although there are hints of the man he eventually becomes. (Of course, I’m not saying Cassian is perfect in any story, but he’s a more morally gray character in the show.) I can’t imagine anyone else in the role; Diego brings a depth of emotion to it that can’t be denied. It’s easy to get swept away in his story, to want to be him or love him—or both.
And Stellan’s no slouch, either. (Side note: Is there a Disney company equivalent of an EGOT award? Because he’s now played integral roles in Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and a Disney franchise (Pirates of the Caribbean) …) Luthen is a complex individual with many faces, and Stellan does a superb job of bringing them to life, both figuratively and literally. His switches between personas—a necessary part of his in-universe life—is truly a master class to watch.
Adria Arjona as Bix Caleen
Does anyone remember the Wizard of Oz reimagining, Emerald City? (With the super hot Scarecrow character played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen? Just me?) That’s the first time I remember seeing Adria, and I thought to myself that she was going places. She still has yet to break out to A-list levels*, but I truly think it’s only a matter of time. As with all of the other characters in this show, she infuses a lot of passion and emotion into Bix, making her a character who, while new to the Star Wars franchise, becomes a solid part of the universe after just a few scenes. Adria even carries her through a torture situation that had my heart in pieces. (I cry a lot more these days. Thanks for that, kiddo.)
*I also loved her as Anathema Device in Good Omens, so maybe she’s content with the quieter, quirkier roles.
Andy Serkis as Kino Loy
Andy Serkis is an actor who can do pretty much anything, from playing a villain with no remorse to a sentient ape to, well, Gollum. (He, too, has completed the Disney trifecta.) At first, Kino seemed like a pretty standard mid-level manager/yes man, but leaving the character flat like that wouldn’t have fit the show. It was great seeing Cassian sway Kino to the side of the just and watch Andy slowly shift the character from an Empire apologist to a nuanced human being. And just like Stellan, his face can do wonders.
Fiona Shaw as Maarva Andor
I know I’ve seen Fiona in loads of things, but she stands out in my mind as Petunia Dursley, who’s a far cry from the great mother—and badass revolutionary—that Maarva is. A speech she “gives” (if you’ve seen the show, you know what I mean) in the last episode of the season had me in tears and also wanting to find an anti-Empire protest to join.
(Fiona’s not the only Harry Potter alum in the show; I spotted
James Potter Adrian Rawlins in a couple of episodes, too.)
Couch-Sharing Capability: All (Nerds) Welcome
Some Star Wars shows don’t make sense unless you have a ton of background into the larger universe and the various other shows and/or movies specific characters have been in. Andor, and to an extent Rogue One, stand pretty well on their own; they’re more impactful for their contained stories than the effect they have on the larger universes down the road. (Although that effect is very, very great, eventually.)
Andor is character-driven and serious and is a show that people who might scoff at the often silly natures of other Star Wars movies or shows will get sucked into easily and quickly—it’s a powerful and moving series more akin to Blade Runner than Spaceballs. That said, the show still has some light moments, and it wouldn’t be a Star Wars property if it didn’t have a droid with a distinct personality in it. (And B2EMO certainly lives up to his name.)
Recommended Level of Inebriation: From Blue Milk to Trandoshan Ale
Andor, unfortunately, occasionally falls prey to the recent (crappy) movement to make shows impossible to see (because of darkness) and impossible to understand (unless you’re ready to turn the sound up and down every five seconds), so I wouldn’t recommend getting too sloshed. But there’s no reason not to lean into the theme!
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Worth The Additional Subscription Fee
If you’re not already a Disney, Marvel, or Star Wars fan, you likely haven’t bought into Disney+. But if you’re at all interested in a show that stands apart from its peers, you might want to give it a try. And if you, like me, have had the streaming service for ages because you’re a fan of all three, you might have already seen this show. But if not, please do yourself a favor and fit it into your schedule. It’s a truly great series that stands apart (in a good way) from its franchise.
All this said, I love pretty much everything Star Wars, so my opinion is obviously biased. But Andor is objectively a good show, not just a good Star Wars show.
2 thoughts on “Andor (Season #1)”
I absolutely agree with you! My son and I love everything star wars, but this show felt more like a drama show set in space. That’s not a negative. It will appeal to a broader audience. If people are turned off by star wars, they’ll still like this.
How old is your son. Alison? I am trying to figure when to introduce SW to my kiddo (he’s not quite 1, haha). And yes, exactly—I’m here for more dramas in space, SW or no!