Andor: Panacea for Mediocrity


Juan Lorenzo Gutierrez, Discoverer Opinion Editor

Andor walks home from the bar after a long day looking for his missing sister. The rain pours on his face as he attempts to make his way back to his ship. He is stopped by two officers, who are looking to steal some money off him. A fight ensues. It concludes with Andor responsible for the death of two Imperial officers. In two seconds, his life crumbles. There is nothing to do but run. 

Andor, the most recent Disney show based on the Star Wars franchise, premiered on September 21 the Disney + channel. It is about Cassian Andor, a rebel fighter who defies the Empire at every opportunity, an attitude that lands him imprison.

The reason behind Andor’s unexpected success amongst Star Wars fans, as evidenced by the constant praise it receives through Star Wars Twitter, is the way it presents itself to the audience. Instead of indulging in galactic shootouts that span decades over multiple movies, Andor is a much more personal story, notably lacking famous characters or epic battles.

Andor is a marvelous experience on many levels. Not only does it have fantastic action scenes, like the heist performed on the imperial outpost on episode 7, or the prison break on Episode 10. Each moment brims with love and care, but it also has a unique cast of characters without the exhaustive visuals and special effects, like The Mandalorian, or Darth Vader. The show manages to never come off as monotonous due in large part to the distinct direction each one of the three directors brings to the table.

Too often, the audience has been exposed to grandiose duels that determine the fate of the universe. Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter for Andor, famous for several James Bond movies, chose a “more is less approach” when writing the show. Andor is much more selfish, which exposes the audience to a more personal character. The problem with a previous show, Star Wars spin-off The Book of Boba Fett, was that it had little focus on the characters or story. Instead, it opted to force as many characters as possible on the overwhelmed viewer. 

Andor sees its titular character struggle as he attempts to continue his life, but is halted at every stop by the malicious Empire, who want to control of every inch of the galaxy. Throughout the show, Andor is forced to join a group of resistance fighters in order to escape Empire officials from arresting him for a crime he was not responsible for. Over time, this snowballs into a fight for his freedom and consequently, the freedom of his hometown. It is in scenes like these that we see screenwriter Tony Gilroy’s prowess.

Andor is played by Diego Luna, the Mexican actor who has portrayed the same character in previous Star Wars movies. Luna does an incredible job as Andor. Coming off the heels of Rogue One, a previous Star Wars film co-starring Felicity Jones, we’re able to see his acting skills in full force; portraying a man as selfish, caring, and loyal all at once. He can be cold and calculated, but also naive and innocent. His inner goodness is obvious when he must to escape his hometown, but risks his life to take his adoptive mother with him.

Luna has expressed his delight with the show via Twitter, retweeting, liking, and commenting under posts praising it, saying “#Andor: How a Star Wars deep cut became one of the best TV shows of the year”. The show has already been renewed for a second season.

Despite having a rating of 8.4, the highest Star Wars product rating, and highest-rated show on Disney + for 2022, it has also come under fire for being a slow-burn type of show. The initial few episodes are very slow, and at times, downright boring. At the very least, it seems someone in the midst of development was aware of how uninteresting the show became and managed to sprinkle in some excitement, regaining the attention of the viewer. However, by the time the third episode ends, the show manages to pull the audience back entirely.

In conclusion, Andor is a great show that manages to fulfill, and in some cases exceed fan’s expectations. Despite needing a few episodes to find its feet, it manages to quickly turn that around and deliver a satisfying story. 8.5/10