“Star Wars: Andor” – Maggie’s Review

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Coming to Disney+ Wednesday is “Star Wars: Andor,” the origin story Cassian Andor, the enigmatic male lead of “Rogue One.” While viewers of “Rogue One” knew Andor to be a faithful, if slightly disillusioned, warrior for the Rebellion, “Andor” sheds light on his home planet, his less than heroic early activities and the scheme that brought him into the Rebellion.

(L-R): Tony Gilroy and Diego Luna on the set of Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Starring Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and created by Tony Gilroy, “Andor” will tell the story of the five years prior to Rogue One’s mission to retrieve the Death Star plans. These first 12 episodes will cover one year, and the next twelve will follow the remaining four. Genevieve O’Reilly reprises her role as Mon Mothma, while actors such as Stellan Skarsgard, Adria Arjona and Denise Gough join the universe members of the Rebellion, the Empire and the worlds in between. Casting announcements indicate the return of Forest Whitaker as Saw Gerrera, but Alan Tudyk’s K-2SO likely won’t reappear until season 2.

Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

“Andor” has a decidedly darker tone than prior “Star Wars” film and television projects. Cassian Andor’s childhood was disrupted by violent invasion, while his rogue adulthood occurs in the seedy underbelly of the galaxy. The first installment of the series introduces its protagonist as someone set on survival, and willing to go to violent ends to defend himself. Tethering him to humanity are his adoptive mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw) and friend Bix (Adria Arjona). After a violent incident, Cassian becomes wanted within the Empire and the target of a search led by the simultaneously power mad and ineffectual Syril (Kyle Soller). Andor’s escape is treacherous, and leads him to Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard), who puts him on his path to the Rebellion.

(L-R): Sergeant Mosk (Alex Ferns), Chief Inspector Hyne (Rupert Vansittart) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

“Andor” is slow to start and, I suspect, structured more like a very long film. Four out of the 12 episodes were given as advanced screeners, and they certainly have the structure and pace of a first act. Cassian’s character and quest are established, he leaves home, and a team forms for the quintessential “Star Wars” “gathering around a 3D projection to explain the plan” scene. Cassian Andor has a lot of Han Solo in the bones of the character: a rogue willing to circumnavigate the law for his own gain, willing to do the right thing for the right price. In this origin, Andor doesn’t have nearly the swagger of a young Han Solo, and cuts a deadly serious presence in the series. His scenes are less about plots and quips, and more about brute strength and intimidation. Andor’s desperation to survive bleeds through the screen.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Given that “Andor” will launch its first three episodes, followed by weekly premieres of each episode, I’m hopeful the the shows pace and excitement will pick up. The bones of the show are solid, if slow to develop, but the promise of a story and character as satisfying as that of “Rogue One” is worth sticking with the series.

“Star Wars: Andor” premieres Wednesday September 21 on Disney+.

Maggie Sharpe

Maggie is a high school math teacher in South Los Angeles. She is a huge fan of comic books, Star Wars and all things Disney.

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