Much like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars franchise has been experiencing exponential growth since the Lucasfilm rights were acquired by Disney in 2012, and so far the possibilities have appeared endless. Arguably the most prolific and well received expansions in both universes has been the introduction of series and streaming services. The status of the feature film has come under pressure from critically successful high-budget releases such as The Mandalorian and Obi Wan Kenobi, but that does leave a tricky wake to navigate for shows down the line.
Enter Andor and the return of Cassian (Diego Luna), the fan favourite Rebel Alliance hero from 2016’s Rogue One. A natural reintroduction and series lead with his oozing charisma and courageous spirit, it was only a matter of time before we saw him return with an arc of his own.
The series begins five years since Luna’s last appearance, now wanted for the murder of two authoritarian enforcers who tried to rob him, and being hunted by the authorities. We find out more about Cassian’s roots and where he came from as a child, but in the present day, a rebel alliance is forming in opposition to the growing Galactic Empire, and Cassian, with help from friends, finds himself on the path to joining the Rebellion.
Andor is darker and grittier than other Star Wars series, with much of the action taking place in bustling city streets as Cassian is hunted by the authorities (led by Kyle Soller as Syril Karn, an officer craving justice and career advancement). In fact, the show could well be set in the East End of London with all of the cockney English accents flying around. It is bursting at the seams with superb actors, including Adria Arjona, Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgard, Fiona Shaw and Forest Whitaker; however, despite some dedicated performances, the show is a bit of a slow burn, with two timelines running in tandem in the early episodes as the plot begins to weave a thicker web.
The set design is as creative as ever and the series does successfully expand the universe even further than before, but there is undoubtedly something missing. It isn’t that the narrative isn’t interesting enough, just it that doesn’t necessarily have that Star Wars feel to it and lacks the depth, charm and marketability provided by characters such as Din Djarin and Grogu. This said, there is always faith to be found when this franchise is concerned, and Andor has already been approved for a second season that is reportedly already in production. Creator Tony Gilroy clearly has big plans for Cassian, and fans will wait with bated breath to see where this ship ends up and which other recognisable characters eventually show face.
Andor is released on Disney+ on 21st September 2022.
Watch the trailer for Andor here: