First announced in 2018, Star Wars: Andor was released in September of this year with three episodes. After 11 episodes, the show’s finale concluded on November 23rd, with a second season set for 2024. The show is set five years before the events of Rogue One (2016) and is a prequel to both that movie and A New Hope (1977). It follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), whom one might consider to be a scruffy-looking nerf-herder, and his escalation from a small crime to a galaxy wide rebellion. The show was created by Tony Gilroy, co-writer of Rogue One. So far, the show has been highly acclaimed, with the audience and critics alike praising the 12-part series.
The show begins with Andor looking for his sister only to be confronted by two men he kills. He returns home to Ferrix as a fugitive and needs to get out. He meets with his mother, Maarva (Fiona Shaw), and her droid, B2EMO (Dave Chapman). Andor then goes to his friends Bix Caleen (Adria Ajorna), who can connect him with a black market buyer, and Brasso (Joplin Sibtain), whom he can confide in. All the while, there are continuous flashbacks to Andor’s childhood on Kenari. Because of his crime, Cassian falls under the eyes of Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), a diligent deputy for Preox-Morlana, a corporate agency in charge of security in the sector. Andor is also indirectly connected to Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), a Chandrilan senator struggling to stand against the might of the empire. An Imperial Security Bureau supervisor named Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) catches wind of Andor’s lawlessness and leads the Imperial charge after him. Andor goes on to join a Rebel attack on an imperial garrison. By the end, Luna’s character hardly resembles the shadowy figure at the start of the show.
The highlights of this show are the characters’ depth and development from start to finish. In the first few episodes, most of the main characters generally seem one-sided: Andor is a selfish fugitive, Caleen is the nice but disappointed friend, and Karn is a die-hard rule follower. However, with the culmination of episode three, the whole facade is shaken off. As it is then and throughout the rest of the show, the revelations mostly come through loss and trauma, shaking the viewer along with the character. Karn stands aghast at the carnage of his assault team, unresponsive to the pleading of his lieutenant. Andor’s resolve hardens once he realizes he has been left to die in an imperial prison. Vel Sartha (Faye Marsay) understands her need to continue on past the death of her innocent young friend. These character developments, whether it be at the beginning, middle, or end of an episode, seem more unique to this show, given its freedom to stray away from the high-minded ideals of the Skywalker Saga and the opportunity to delve into the murky depths of the average galactic citizen. Also, because of this freedom, the show minimizes its “all-star” cameos, featuring only the legendary Mon Mothma, while under a much more human lens, and the anarchist Saw Gerrera, playing a similar role to his appearance in Rogue One. The lack of big names allows for this show’s main characters to take the spotlight, and they are carried by both their acting and the writing by Gilroy as well as Stephen. Nevertheless, the show is not without its trademark Star Wars plot holes: the Imperial tie fighters happen to crash into each other, or the blaster bolt just misses a character’s head. Regardless, Star Wars: Andor is definitely one of my top three pieces of Star Wars media, and I highly recommend that you check it out. I give it a 9.4/10. It’s available for streaming on Disney+.