How Andor Has Saved Star Wars: A Review

(Photo source: Kieran Belshaw)

(Photo source: Kieran Belshaw)

Ben Drescher, Writer

One could argue that on the whole, Star Wars has failed in quality storytelling ever since Disney took it over back in 2015. In my opinion, Disney’s handling of the Star Wars universe has been an absolute dumpster fire. Perhaps with the exception of The Mandalorian, the three movies and two tv shows that Disney has put out have been frankly mediocre and nowhere near as original or iconic as the original trilogy from the 80s. 


All of this butchery of Star Wars by Disney has changed completely in my eyes, however, due to their release of a new and original show: Andor. Star Wars has just been lacking originality and substance in their stories, but Andor has been a breath of fresh air. It’s a completely new type of Star Wars show, being more grounded and gritty than the universe has ever been before. A prequel to Rogue One,  it follows the story of Cassian Andor and how he eventually in the future is going to become an important figure in the Rebel Alliance against the Empire.


The Serious And Dark Nature Of The Show


Most of the time when people think of Star Wars, they imagine silly lightsaber fights and stormtroopers missing every shot they take. Andor couldn’t be any further from this. Realistic murders happen in this show, and a moral gray area is established when certain characters act in a survival-oriented, self interested way. Cassian is following his own dark, heroic journey that involves him searching for his long lost sister. 


One thing that Andor never does that all three movies of the new trilogy did is forcing humor. The overdependence of the new Star Wars movies on Marvel-like superhero jokes took away from the story itself. In Andor, humor never distracts from the grittiness of the actual story. Characters in Andor could easily pass as real life people who have jobs and duties to the society they live in. This brings me to the next part of the show that I love, which is the unbelievably rich and detailed nature of how real the show’s universe is. 


A More Detailed Look At The Star Wars Universe


No piece of Star Wars media has ever shown the nitty gritty of the universe quite like Andor has. Certain characters have working class and corporal jobs, just like on Earth. It reflects our life in a realistic way. Like I mentioned before, when you think of Star Wars, you think of the action packed lightsaber fights and starship battles, but Andor lacks in this. 


This is an original quality in the show that draws you more towards the slow burn nature of the story. It takes more time in establishing the deeper details of the story in such a slow and precise way. 


One character, named Syril Karn, is a realistic enforcer of law on an important planet in the show. He is a nervous and anxious leader who believes in everyday justice and the upholding of the law, and he can come off at times as extremely relatable. The details of his everyday life are shown, such as having breakfast with his mother or doing tedious office work.

 When has Star Wars ever shown these day to day activities in such a detailed way? It’s a unique trait to the show that really grounds you in its universe.


Good Practical Effects

Another way Andor is changing Star Wars is the use of practical effects and low budget sets to create a realistic and grounded atmosphere for the show. The show’s limited use of CGI means they incorporated lots of built-in sets into scenes to really portray a realism in the scene. For Ferrix, the main planet of the show, the producers built an entire city just so the scenes could be extra realistic. The background actors look and act like real people; they really created an atmosphere on this planet that resembles something you would see on earth. 


Not only are the practical effects amazing and grounded, the show nails the CGI whenever it uses it. In one of the show’s best episodes, a tie fighter chases a cargo ship through a vibrant meteor shower with many lush colors filling the screen, such as blue, green and orange. It’s one of the most beautiful Star Wars moments ever portrayed in my opinion, and it’s far more memorable than anything from the new trilogy.


How This Could Change Star Wars Going Forward


Since the reception of this show from fans has been spectacular, I would expect more realistic Star Wars stories such as this one to start coming out. The slow burn pace of Andor seems to be attracting way more positive reviews than anything else Disney has put out in Star Wars since The Force Awakens. If Disney can recognize that people naturally gravitate more towards a more realistic and authentic story with detailed writing, then perhaps more Star Wars shows like Andor will arrive in the coming years. 


After all the frankly mediocre Star Wars media that Disney has put out over the last 7-8 years, Andor is such a breath of fresh air. The show is slated for one more season that will probably consist of 12 elegantly written episodes, since I trust the producers a lot to keep on putting out great writing.