Review: Star Wars Andor Season 1 – Prelude to Rogue One

The Star Wars universe is a vast place, with many things to see and stories to follow outside the movies we’ve come to know. In a galaxy far, far away that feels lived in, there are many things going on besides the Skywalker saga. This is at the very core of Andor, a Disney Plus show that removes the idea of Jedi and the Force to focus on the origins of the Rebel Alliance. And while this is a very interesting concept that is filmed and framed very well for the series, there are a few major issues that will prevent some Star Wars fans from fully enjoying what aiming to accomplish.

 Andor takes place five years prior to the events of the spin-off film, Rogue One. Many of the big events from the Clone Wars have already taken place and the galaxy is suffering the aftereffects of it. Under the rule of Emperor Palpatine and the Galactic Empire, Cassian Andor and the rest of the galaxy have to live in a galaxy with little to no hope. A lot of what we see is the desperate citizens of the galaxy trying to make due under the Empire’s rule, while others are less than complacent with how bad things have gotten. It’s a very neat lens to view the Star Wars galaxy, as it’s a very mature and nuanced look at this universe we’ve come to know over 40 years.

With this story stepping away from the mysticism of the Force and Jedi, every character that shows up feels much more grounded. They have a more serious tone with every action they take and every word they speak, often with subtext that refers to other things than what is very obvious. Many long-time Star Wars fans might not like such a dire take on Star Wars, despite the franchise having darker elements in its display of good vs. evil throughout its history. Some parts of the show edge close to mature elements that borderline being an imitation of sci-fi films like Blade Runner or The Fifth Element, but go beyond a breaking point. This is a time when the galaxy has little to no hope whatsoever, and it displays that often in ways we’re not accustomed to seeing in Star Wars.

But does all of this help to make a good story told over twelve episodes? And do the characters we see become interesting enough to follow that entire time? Diego Luna plays Cassian Andor exactly how we remember him from Rogue One, with an ability to manipulate people around him and survive whatever scenario he finds himself in. As the star, he delivers a lot of what is the foundation of the series. But it’s the rest of the supporting cast that doesn’t always have interesting parts to play in this story, let alone fit within the rest of the Star Wars galaxy.

Stellan Skarsgård is intriguing as Luthen, with many layers behind all of his actions that are motivated by his goal of fighting against the Empire. Every time he shows up and talks with different characters, the story is moving along and sets up more for later. He also happens to own a shop with a bunch of relics that are Star Wars Easter eggs and references, eagle-eyed fans will be able to spot some really cool ones that nod to different parts of the franchise. But beyond him, other characters have a big problem feeling important or following through with any satisfying impact on the story being told throughout the show.

While no actor plays their part badly, it’s the situations their characters are put in and the shallow payoff by the end of the season that make them feel lackluster in comparison. The worst character to suffer from this is Syril Karn, played by Kyle Soller. He seems to be set up to be a major antagonist for Andor, and a possible new recruit for the Empire, but ends up not going very far by the season’s end.  

While the dialogue between characters is better than in most other Star Wars projects, the underlying problem with Andor is how different the show wants to be from everything else in Star Wars. You might be seeing TIE Fighters or Stormtroopers on the screen, but the tone and pacing of everything don’t help make the show feel like part of the same universe. There are episodes where things don’t seem to be moving forward at all, despite dialogue or setup taking place. There is some action to mix things up, and when it finally happens everything comes together well. But often the show will feel like way too much setup is taking place with little to no forward action to be the payoff.

Andor will not be for everyone and will be very divisive among Star Wars fans depending on their perspective. The way scenes are shot, characters and backgrounds are framed, and special effects are displayed all are top quality. Andor displays a far better quality of filming than most previous Disney Plus shows. But for some viewers, none of that can really matter for a Star Wars-related show when it feels so far removed from the rest of the franchise it’s supposed to take place in. It is not the worst Star Wars show on Disney Plus, but it is far from perfect or the best Star Wars project to be made for Disney Plus either.

Have you gotten to watch Star Wars Andor in its entirety? What did you think about the show overall? Post your thoughts in the comments and let us know!

Star Wars Andor Season 1
  • 70%
    Star Wars Andor Season 1 - 70%
70%

Summary

This show looks great and has a lot of time and effort into how it was made, but won’t work for everyone who watches it. The biggest issues are the pacing and certain elements not matching up well with other elements of the Star Wars universe. There are some good characters, while others don’t have as interesting stories to keep some viewers’ attention.

Jakejames Lugo

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