Andor review: Rogue One prequel is slow-burn Star Wars

Gareth Edwards’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is not the most controversial Star Wars film of all time, but it inspires many nonetheless passionate Debate among fans about its place in the popular sci-fi saga. A dark standalone war story set in the time just before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope2016 Villain One was always a risky bet, but it was one that paid off as it became the third highest-grossing film in the entire franchise.

Now the studio is doubling that bet as well Andora prequel-of-a-prequel exploring the formative years of Diego Luna’s rebel spy Cassian Andor Villain One. And much like the movie that inspired it, Andor delivers a very different – but welcome – Star Wars tale, with its smoldering spy story set in the early days of a galactic rebellion.

Diego Luna walks through a junkyard full of ships in a scene from Andor.

Street level sci-fi

Created and co-produced by Villain One co-author Tony Gilroy, Andor isn’t the action-packed adventure that’s rooted in the franchise lore and packed with deep cuts that Star Wars fans have come to expect The Mandalorian, Boba Fett’s bookand Obi Wan Kenobi. Instead, the series offers a more thoughtful, slowly developing story about the conditions and events that led up to the environment we were thrown into A new hopewith a small alliance of rebels engaged in a seemingly unwinnable war to overthrow the Galactic Empire.

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Andor you’ve experienced life under the Empire through Cassian’s eyes, passing memory after memory and taking one dire turn after another under a harsh, authoritarian regime. It’s the kind of ground perspective we haven’t seen nearly enough of in the Star Wars universe, and Andor shows what life is like for the people who don’t jet across the galaxy on grand adventures or use superhuman strength in epic battles.

From humble members of the Empire to denizens of overlooked planets who have become just another cog in the Imperial machinery, Andor does a good job of reminding us not only that these characters exist, but also that they can play a big role in some of the saga’s most important moments.

Diego Luna talks to a character in a bar in a scene from Andor.

Keep characters close

It lasts almost four episodes Andor In order for Luna’s character to find its way to the still-forming Rebellion, it will be interesting to see how patient Gilroy and the series’ creative team can be with the story that eventually needs to be connected to the events – and characters – of Villain One.

Although Luna’s character wasn’t necessarily the star of Villain One – Felicity Jones did a wonderful job directing the film’s cast as Jyn Erso – making for a compelling and unique lead in the series. Cassian is a product of his environment, and that particular environment forces you to either fit in or live on the razor’s edge each day, where one slip can land you on the wrong side of an Imperial blaster. Lunas Cassian can’t help but be the latter, feeling like a character in the shape of A new hope-Han Solo era, with a moral compass that generally hovers on the side of good, but just barely.

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Andor also introduces some intriguing supporting characters along the way, which serve to bring his trajectory closer to where we meet him in the film. Among them, Stellan Skarsgård’s mysterious rebel agent Luthen Rael is as reliably intriguing and multifaceted as so many of the actor’s roles, and will hopefully play a bigger role in the series as the season progresses. As an ambitious, but naïve, local law enforcement officer, Kyle Soller’s Syril serves as a nice counterpoint to Luna’s Cassian, examining what life is like for someone low-level who buys into the Empire Completely instead of rejecting it.

Diego Luna looks behind him while walking down a street in a scene from Andor.

shifting boundaries

Andors The first four episodes barely scratch the surface of the character’s arc and what brings him into the events of Villain Onebut they still provide many rewarding moments.

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Where The Mandalorian and Boba Fett’s book mixed pulp sci-fi adventure and classic western themes, but Andor filters the Star Wars universe through a much darker wartime spy lens. It’s a decidedly different atmosphere from the live-action Star Wars shows we’ve seen before, without the fantastical alien environments and spaceship battles, and it might not be the show some fans are expecting.

Still, there’s a lot to like about where Andor takes the Star Wars saga. projects like that Star Wars: Visions Anthology series and various canonical video games like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen command have all proven that the franchise offers a lot of flexibility in terms of the stories and cast of characters it can encompass. Andor does something similar and builds on the themes and tone that have been set Villain One apart from other Star Wars films as it holds its own unique place in the Star Wars canon.

The Star Wars series Andor Premieres September 21 on the Disney+ streaming service.

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