“Andor” is easily the best “Star Wars” story since “The Empire Strikes Back.” This is a story that gives complex characters, an ensemble cast and explores fascism and oppression and how rebellions are formed. The show is beautiful with lots of on location filming rather than using the Volume and the soundtrack is fantastic. If you are looking for a high stakes story with consequences this is a show that I highly recommend and I can’t wait to see where they take season 2 as they accomplished so much this season.
The series was created by Tony Gilroy.
Five years before the events of “Rogue One” Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) returns home to Ferrix as he finds himself hunted by the Pre-Mor Authority for killing two of their officers on Morlana One.
The Soundtrack – Nicholas Britell’s soundtrack has a “Blade Runner” feel to it which is perfect for this show that is full of espionage and spies as Imperial agents hunt rebels and rebels fight against the Empire. The music captures the tension of it all so well.
The Action – The action in this is amazing with rebels inflirtrating an Imperial Armory, a prison rebellion and a rebellion on Ferrix as well as some great action in space with Luthen Rael when he faces off against an Imperial Cruiser. This is some of the best action to come out of “Star Wars” and part of why it works it has consequence and the characters who are in the action you get to know.
The Threat of the Empire – This is the most threatening the Empire has felt in a long time in anything “Star Wars” related. It helps that they aren’t the first level of oppression either as Pre-Mo Authority and corporations are what they use first to oppress planets and not Imperial stormtroopers. It shows just how complex and dangerous the Imperial machine is and just how how much the rebellion is up against.
The Characters – The characters are great in this and dynamic. There are some I’ll be giving individual exploration of below but for ones I don’t mention below there are Brasso and Bix who are Cassian’s friends with Brasso being one of the first to start the rebellion on Ferrix and Bix being captured by Imperials and later freed by Cassian at the end when the Imperials are hunting him in the finale. There is also Cassian’s adoptive mother Maarva who’s funeral starts the rebellion on Ferrix and his adoptive father Clem who was killed by Imperials when they first arrived on Ferrix earlier in Andor’s life. We also get to know members of Vel’s rebel group who infiltrate the armory and the prisoners at Cassian’s table. This is a character rich drama and to go into all of them would turn this blog post into a book. There is also Syril Karn who is obsessed with catching Cassian for killing the two Pre-Mo Security agents and whose failure to capture him leads to him losing his job though he continues to help Dedra Meero and hasn’t given up his obsession with capturing Cassian. There is also Cinta Caz who is girlfriend to the rebel leader Vel Sartha and fully devoted to the rebel cause.
Dedra Meero – Dedra Meero is an Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) officer and one who sees the big picture of how the rebellion is stealing from the Empire and organizing. She is a huge threat and is up against the Imperial bureaucracy that doesn’t want to change. Denise Gough does a great job and she is a fantastic villain who I’m curious about where her story goes next given on her watch Ferrix rebelled and Cassian freed Bix from her.
B2EMO – B2EMO is Maarva’s droid who has a stutter. He is the sweetest and nervous droid who just wants to be around people. I’m glad he escapes Ferrix at the end as him sharing Maarva’s final speech at her funeral to the city is what sparks the rebellion on Ferrix.
Saw Gerrera – Forest Whitaker is amazing as Saw Gerrera and what we see here with him actually leading his group known as the Partisans is great as we see he doesn’t trust anyone but is all in in fighting the Empire. I hope Cassian can meet him at some point as I think it’d be a fascinating conversation.
Mon Mothma – Mon Mothma’s arc in this is trying to use her family fortune to fund the rebellion. She keeps running into trouble as the Empire is auditing her funds. She us cousin to one of the rebel leaders Vel Sartha. In this we see how trapped Mon Mothma feels and how her arranged marriage with her husband is toxic given he is at the very least an Imperial sympathizer. In this we see the lengths she is willing to go to support the rebellion and I’m curious if next season we will see when she has to leave the Imperial Senate and because a threat to the Empire beyond her protesting their atrocities on the senate floor.
Vel Sartha – Vel Sartha is a great character. She is the leader of the group that steals the Imperial payroll in a heist and is later an assassin for Luthen Rael and hunting Cassian. She is the one calling out Mon Mothma the most but is also her ally as she knows what Mon Mothma is going through. She was one of my favorite characters in this and Faye Marsay did a good job in the role.
Kino Loy – Andy Serkis is wonderful as Kino Loy. A prisoner on the Imperial Prison leading one of the Floors until he realizes thanks to Cassian that there is no escape so fully embraces leading the prison revolt against the Empire. His arc is powerful and I hope we potentially see him again. He went from cruel and all business to compassionate and a leader.
Cassian Andor – Much like Kino Loy, Cassian Andor starts out as a selfish thief and mercenary who slowly comes around to becoming a major fighter against the rebellion after he works with Vel’s group and his time in an Imperial prison where he helped lead the revolt and escape. In the end he frees his friend Bix and outsmarts Luthen to the point where he offers Luthen the chance to kill him or let him join the rebellion and of course Luthen lets him join. His character is so much more dynamic now and we learn he was a Kenari, a native on a planet whose people were destroyed by the Empire after an Imperial mining accident.
Luthen Rael – Stellan Skarsgard’s Luthen Rael is probably one of my favorite characters in “Star Wars” at this point. This is a guy who gave his entire life to fight the Empire so has no friends or connections but is using all his contacts and resources to fight the tyrannical regime. I hope we get more of his backstory next season as he is a collector of ancient artifacts so I’m curious what brought him into that line of work and when he started making contacts to form the rebellion against the Empire.
The Empire’s Destruction of Indigenous Peoples – A major thing that Empire’s and fascist regimes do is destroy indigenous communities. In “Andor” we see this in their genocide of the Kenari, their planned genocide of the Aldhani for an airbase and I suspect we’ll see the destruction of the people of Ferrix next season.
An Education in Revolution – The main arc of the show is the education of Cassian Andor to become an anti-fascist. He starts out as a selfish thief and mercenary and changes over the course of the show after experiencing the Empire’s oppression first hand and in the words of his adoptive mother in her funeral speech and from the manifesto written by the rebel Nemik. In it he learns that every act of resistance matters and pushes against oppression. It is powerful and I bet we will see this education furthered next season.
I highly recommend “Andor.” This is an amazing show is an ensemble character drama, a political thriller and more. I can’t wait to see what season 2 brings as Tony Gilroy clearly knows what he is doing. This is some of the best writing and direction to come out of “Star Wars” in a long time and I hope we see stories of this level of quality in the future. If you are a “Star Wars” fan you should definitely check this show out.
Final Score: 10 / 10