Toby Davies has nothing but praise for Andor, the new Rogue One prequel series from Disney+.
It’s a good time to be a Star Wars fan. We have been blessed with a torrent of new content, from instant classic ‘the Mandalorian’ to the beautifully animated fan-favourite ‘Tales of the Jedi’. Yet the latest entry into the Star Wars canon, Disney+’s Andor, was immediately divisive. So I want to communicate why I think Andor is, beyond doubt, a masterpiece.
The most immediately apparent element of Andor which sets it apart from other modern Star Wars content is its writing. Andor has a level of storytelling one would expect in places such as Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones; it does not lean on nostalgia, and familiar characters as other Star Wars spin-off shows have. These reasons are why I believe Andor was a guaranteed success; it takes a set of characters which are, for the most part, unfamiliar to us and allows them to develop organically without worrying about upsetting the fanbase. Stories can be told outside the confines of the ‘Skywalker Saga’, allowing the writers to exercise their brilliance. For example, the ‘Narkina 5’ prison episodes were a particular highlight, with the writers quickly introducing a new set of characters in an environment unlike any we have seen in Star Wars, and yet, we felt their fear, the tension, the desperation, in a terrifying and creative sub-plot.
However, be at no illusion – this is still Star Wars, as you know and love. Though there may not be any lightsabers nor appearances from Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, we are as immersed in the Star Wars universe as ever. And its subtlety generates this – colours, music, dialogue; all the finer details work to create a more authentic, vivid Star Wars like nothing we have seen before.
Though there may not be any lightsabers nor appearances from Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader, we are as immersed in the Star Wars universe as ever
As for the outstanding performances, Diego Luna is brilliant in portraying a conflicted, multi-layered main character who is not the ‘shining hero’ we have come to expect from Star Wars. However, for me, it was Stellan Skarsgård who stole the show. His monologue in episode 10 was genuinely incredible. Andy Serkis’ time on screen was similarly unfaultable – he remains a powerful acting force.
Some consider the show’s lack of well-known characters and a slower-paced, less-action-packed approach to be among the show’s flaws. However, these are the show’s highest strengths, for they set it apart and elevate it among the greats of television. Andor is a new Star Wars – and I want more of it.