Andor Is Amazing

I'm perhaps not the most discerning Star Wars fan, which is why I don't really get it whenever people get super upset about not liking some new piece of content. I'm generally happy if I derive some sort of enjoyment from it, even if it's not perfect, and I'm okay with not everything being good or appealing to me personally. I thought the sequel trilogy was ultimately disappointing, but I've been enjoying most of the stuff Disney's been producing for TV. I thought Andor was going to be just another one of those shows - not groundbreaking, but enjoyable enough.

And the first few episodes did start out that way for me - entertaining enough, with some interesting parts, and others that were a bit more meh (in my opinion anyway). However, something happened around episode four or five: things started to ramp up, tension started to build, characters got more interesting. Episode six had me glued to my screen. I had to watch episode seven a second time to make sure I hadn't missed anything important (and I had, so it was good that I did that). I started seeking out articles and conversations about it because just watching the show wasn't good enough anymore. Andor reminded me what it's like to not just enjoy something, but to truly be a fan.

Poster taken from the show's IMDB page.

Why is that? Well, I do think it can be said that it's objectively very well produced. The acting is good, the writing is sharp and clever, there are some great visuals and it's supported by a strong soundtrack. It presents a number of interesting characters with a lot of nuance to their actions, and it does a lot of world building - not in the sense of inventing new locations, though that's something that does happen as well, but in the sense that it really explores what it means to live under the Empire as a regular person, to work for it or rebel against it.

I get that if for you, Star Wars is all about the lightsabers and spectacle, this may not be your cup of tea, but for me as someone who's always been very interested in the wider setting, it's fantastic. I liked this about Solo as well.

Unlike Solo however, Andor leans heavily into a more serious interpretation of the setting, to the point that I feel it genuinely manages to shift genre. The core Star Wars films could be classified as family-friendly action adventures - sure, there are some serious themes and bad things happen, but we're not meant to think too deeply about e.g. what it means for a whole planet to get blown up and a whole civilisation to be eradicated. That's not a flaw; that's just a convention of the genre.

My fascination with Andor led to me rewatching Rogue One the other day as well, and while that tried to be grittier in many ways, it still feels like a traditional Star Wars film in most other aspects... which actually makes all the tragic deaths feel a bit weird, because all the heroes dying doesn't quite fit the genre, yet at the same time the film also doesn't go far enough to really pause and think about what it all means.

Andor on the other hand is a full-blown... drama, spy thriller? I find it hard to categorise actually, but it's definitely not just an action adventure. In fact, one of the criticisms I've seen levelled at it is that there hasn't been enough action, that it's "too slow" because we spend so much time just watching characters talk with seemingly nothing happening except character development, but I can't say that I've ever felt that way, even during the first few episodes that didn't really excite me that much.

Usually I'd wait to write this kind of post until a show or at least the season is over, but in this case my excitement has got the better of me and I couldn't really contain it any longer. At the time of me writing this there are four episodes left in the season, and for all I know the writers could still mess up horribly and ruin everything, but at the moment that doesn't seem likely to me. I'm pleased to hear that a second season is already in the works.

Assuming that the show can stick the landing, I hope that this will inspire Disney to allow more Star Wars films or TV series like this to be made. And by "like this" I don't mean that they all have to be dark and super serious. Rather, I see Andor as confirmation that the Star Wars setting is rich enough to produce all kinds of excellent stories, and that they should dare to venture outside of the traditional boundaries of action adventures about Jedi more often. That could mean other more adult shows, but I'd be just as happy to see a good comedy set in the Star Wars universe for example, or even a romance (we've actually seen the latter done quite successfully in written form already, in Lost Stars). It doesn't all have to be aimed at my own personal tastes; I just love seeing this vast universe being given some room to truly breathe.


  1. The non-Jedi/Force users is why I like playing a Smuggler or Bounty Hunter in SWTOR. It's good to see that "normal" where 99.9999% of the galaxy's inhabitants live, given so few people have the potential to become Force users.

  2. Totally agree. I was saying to someone just the other day that Andor is a gritty spy thriller about fomenting rebellion that just happens to be set in the Star Wars milieu instead of a Star Wars story about a rebellion.

    And I know this will "trigger" some folks, but I think a big part of why it's so good and so "adult" is that it doesn't involve Filoni.

    1. Poor Dave Filoni, one day he's considered the saviour of Star Wars, the next the fandom is sick of him. (This meme on reddit was quite telling.)

      Personally I think he's done some good stuff for the franchise, but I'm not a fan of the recent cameo overload myself. Either way though, I think that letting different creators have a go at telling stories in the Star Wars universe is definitely a good thing.

    2. I've never been able to get into the various Filoni cartoons. Largely the art style just rubs me the wrong way which is probably not his fault, but I find the stories uncompelling as well. The Mandalorian is good overall, but I think it would be even better if they'd just wrap up the Grogu story and move on to something else.

  3. I'm enjoying it. Those first three episodes were a bit rough as I wasn't yet in the mindset of them trying something different with Andor. Now that I understand what they are doing, I'm happy with all that they are doing in the show.

    I'm not sure I want this to have multiple seasons, though. Given Rogue One I kind of want a definite ending point (as far as a number of episodes goes).

    1. Oh, I'm sure this won't be the kind of show that just goes on and on. But considering the measured pace and how many different characters we're following, I have a feeling season one won't be able to tie everything into a neat little bow at the end, so there should be plenty of material left for another season or two.

    2. Yes, they had already approved season 2 before the show even premiered. As of right now it is slated to run for 2, 12-episode seasons. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt9253284/

  4. I'm loving Andor. It's very definitely set in the Star Wars universe, but it also very definitely doesn't have the "Saturday morning serial" tone that the classic Star Wars movies have. Maybe it's the heavy British influences in Andor's writers and cast, but it feels more like a spiritual successor to Blakes' 7... and from a sci-fi nerd of my generation, that's high praise.

    The Marvel Cinematic Universe has (mostly) done very well from producing a variety of films, crossing over with a variety of genres, whilst all recognisably sharing a setting. No reason Star Wars shouldn't be big enough to do the same.


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