Redeeming the Franchise

Set in the original trilogy’s timeline, “Andor” takes Star Wars back to its roots and features impressive technical aspects.


The familiar sound of TIE fighters zooming through space, blasting their iconic lasers revitalizes Star Wars in the new “Rogue One ” spin-off, “Andor,” which aired on Disney on Sept. 21.

Many fans thought the sequel trilogy was a cash grab to promote Disney’s latest action figure, and I couldn’t agree more. From Kylo Ren’s sword-like lightsaber to Ray’s sassy one-liners, the latest Star Wars movies have been nothing but a series of subpar plot lines meshed together. In contrast, the new series “Andor” shatters the status quo and breathes fresh air into the Star Wars universe. 

The first episode drops the viewer deep into the plot, providing no context. It starts in the pouring rain as the main character Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) walks through the trenches of an unknown planet, determined to find his sister. Unlike the sequels, “Andor” provides minimal dialogue and lets the visual discography speak for itself. From the dark alleyways illuminated by the reflection of the silky rain to the gloomy galactic bar filled with extraterrestrial life, the detailed and emotional imagery through every scene is breathtaking.

This style of storytelling captures my attention and keeps me wanting more. But while this style might have intrigued me, many others found it confusing and stopped watching after the first episode. 

“I tried, believe me, I did, but if I don’t get it within the first ten minutes I don’t want to watch it anymore,” popular podcaster Howard Stern said. 

Viewers like Stern, who are used to thirty-minute choreographed lightsaber duels, may not be interested in the kind of story “Andor” has to offer. Even though “Andor” is not heavy on computer-generated imagery (CGI) like the movies, its indie nature allows it to be a meaningful Star Wars story without twenty-five different space explosions happening at once. 

As select viewers might have tuned out 30 minutes in, my eyes were glued to the screen as I tried to piece together Cassian Andor’s story. It’s not until the second episode that viewers understand that Andor is on the run. While we don’t know why Andor is running, the show does an excellent job of adding to Andor’s fugitive character. Whether it be his beat-up clothes reeking with the stench of struggle or his “Han Solo-like” demeanor portraying his charm, the show doesn’t miss one detail of Andor’s character. Even though he lives “in a galaxy far, far away” the show humanizes Andor, and his character captures the hearts of viewers who stook around. 

Though it is easy to fall in love with Andor based on details alone, his character is brought to life by Deigo Luna. Reprising his role as Cassian Andor, Luna made his first appearance in “Rogue One,” stealing the show every time the camera pointed in his direction. While “Rogue One” laid the foundation for “Andor’s” plot, the two niched stories delivered a similar message within the Star Wars universe. Both stories focused on the realism of Star Wars, detailing real-life issues such as poverty, and just outlandish struggles revolving around force magic. Luna excelled as Andor, cherishing every word of dialogue like a precious treasure. As Andor, he effortlessly embodies the character of a loner wandering the galaxy in search of purpose and hope.  

Unfortunately, “Andor’s slow plot prevented it from reaching a more mainstream audience, but the show has carved out a niche within the Star Wars universe. In many ways, I feel this show was a love letter to Star Wars fans like me who appreciate the raw details and story, regardless of how many shoot-outs, or explosions, there are. However, even though “Andor” took a different approach to a Star Wars project, it also brought back the foundations of what the Star Wars franchise is. While the sequels happen in the far future, “Andor” returns Star Wars to its roots, taking place during the original trilogy, when the Millennium Falcon was still new.

Although “Andor”’s plot may take time to unfold, the show is simply too good to pass up. The stellar acting and character development paired with the raw set design makes this series a visual and technical masterpiece.