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Andor - a Star Wars series on Disney+


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We've had a couple trailers now of this series. If you aren't aware, this is about the character from Rogue One, Cassian Andor and the very early days of the Rebellion Alliance forming. From the looks of the trailers, the cast is pretty big with new and old characters, so its not just all about Cassian, which I think is good. Mon Mothma and Saw Garrera are back and looks like a ton of new characters, locations, and vehicles.

First three episodes air on September 21st!

 

I'm amped for this series. It looks like a spy thriller sort of show, which I'm all in for. I loved Cassian and Rogue One, so I think this has potential to be excellent. It looks like even in a familiar era that still seems to be overdone these days, this looks very unique and gritty and a breath of fresh air in terms of new locations and characters. Can't wait!

NumberWan and Lancelot like this
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  • 2 months later...

Okay, now that I've watched the first four episodes, here are my impressions so far:

Spoiler

Within just a few episodes, this series has already delivered so much that has never been seen before in any Star Wars production, and it got me really excited. Personally, I think that ANDOR is, in many ways, the most innovative Star Wars show I've ever seen.

Let's start with the characters. From the main parts to the smaller parts, every single one feels rich and real. And even though everything is set in the Star Wars galaxy, you still get a feeling of familiarity. I mean, Imperial workers eat noodles while sitting in front of a computer, the miners look like the workers you would see in a factory nearby, and elderly people just have a chat with you. It's refreshing to see that, and much more, included in Star Wars. It gives you a feeling like actually being in that world. And that leads me to the next part.

Before the show was released, it has been announced that real sets have been built instead of using the StageCraft technology that has been used in the previous Star Wars shows since The Mandalorian. It really cranked up the quality and made the world feel more organic. Especially in the fourth episode, it was good to know that they actually shot on location, which means that they often walked for hours just to set up one scene. And the effort paid off, because it really feels different.

I'm also delighted that they are avoiding fan-service as much as possible in favour of putting a focus on the characters and telling a unique story that feels real in itself.  Of course there are still enough references to certain characters, places or events. But they are so subtle that it's more according to the motto "If you know, you know", instead of shoving every single bit of information right in your face. ANDOR is taking Star Wars further without getting lost in nostalgia.

Alright, four episodes down, eight to go. I'm looking forward to what is happening next!

 

NumberWan and Circa like this
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I must say, that after seeing Mandalorian, I didn't hope to see anything really good (as I dislike Mandalorian). The Book of Boba Fett didn't deliver anything either, while Kenobi held me by the screen for a number of reasons. Yet it also had a few doubtful things, which I don't like at all.

So I read a bit about Andor, whether it would follow the path of its predecessors and I must say – I'm glad it's nothing like what we've seen before. I watched 5 episodes, which I could rate in different way. Yet for now I would say that Andor is probably the best we get since the end of The Clone Wars Season 6.

What I like here:
 

Spoiler

is that Andor doesn't look like Star Wars too much and that works just fine. It doesn't seem it pretends to be something it is not, in fact presenting a more unique experience. There is no Force or Jedi (as of yet) here, so all attention goes to other characters. Cassian Andor is slowly shown as a growing character, but so are the stories of others, like Luthen Rael, Dedra Meero, Syril Karn and Mon Mothma. Fan Service is in there, but is reasonable and doesn't distract us from the story.

I really like the idea, that the show is about different people in different parts of the Galaxy. Not interconnected just yet.

This is a formula I like and the one followed by such series like Game of Thrones for example.

So far we get 5 episodes, quite different in pace. Overall the show is enjoyable at least for me:

Spoiler

The first three episodes prepare the ground for further action, they might even seem like something too slow. Yet the episodes are beautiful and we get the action there in the end. I would say they are more about Cassian's childhood, his family and some background. Wwe also see Luthen Rael (his new ally) and Maarva Andor (his adoptive mother). Both play well into the story. The new planets also look good and more vivid than Tatooine or whatever in other live-action shows.

The 4th episode is my favourite so far, showing a lot more of movement, introducing Dedra, working for the Empire on Coruscant, a small Rebel cell on Aldhani and Mon Mothma's activity. Episode 5 is slow again and prepares us for the most interesting part of the plot, I believe: the mission of Andor and the Coruscant party.

 

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16 hours ago, NumberWan said:

This is a formula I like and the one followed by such series like Game of Thrones for example.

This is what I've been saying about it as well. Feels like we finally have a show that doesn't hold your hand or made for children. It has a big story to tell about lots of characters and it jumps right in. The "slow burn" style of story telling is so much more intriguing than the traditional "adventure of the week" style of episodes we've gotten in the other series.

This is definitely going to be my favorite Star Wars series so far, I could tell after the first couple of episodes. I love the other series too, but this feels so fresh and interesting.

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It is indeed not for children. Well, at least not for kids as I remember them from some time ago 😄

For reasons such as these:

Spoiler

There is brutal violence here, than before. The very first scene leads us to a very first kill of actually 2 guys – blasted by the protagonist himself! We also see a reasonable amount of blood, constantly in there with badly bruised Andor. 

Also this:

Spoiler

Not just the violence, but the language itself is different. While bantha fodder or schutta aren't here, we can clearly hear 'shit' or 'Pre-Mor bastards' move than once. The characters seem more natural this way, perhaps. Certain themes in their relations are more adult in nature, like Bix, who is the girlfriend of one of the characters with whom she spends the night (yes, we can now see that trousers is a common thing in Star Wars, as socks or other things). Even though not shown in the series, one clear sees the intimacy in one such scene.

The image of the characters and some kind of dirtiness in their looks doesn't add to the kids nature of the show either.

Aside from this

Spoiler

This show is dealing with more adult themes than usual, such as conspiracy, guerilla wars, politics and diplomacy, which aren't about action per se, but they make a way for philosophy, social and moral themes.

 

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  • 1 month later...

Now that the season finale has been released, here are my thoughts. Nothing has changed much since my previous post, but there are still some things I wanted to say.

Spoiler

Honestly, I was never so hooked to a Star Wars show. While all the other ones were fantastic as well, like The Mandalorian or Obi-Wan Kenobi, this one is special in every single way. I've never seen anything like it. I'm really looking forward to the second season!

The final episode was the sum total of the previous episodes, and you could really feel it. Every single story has built up to this powerful finale, and I think that if you would take just a single episode out of the series, it wouldn't have the same impact. ANDOR is also an example why certain shows should never be binged, because the great thing about it was that you've got a high quality episode every week that has left you wanting more. And while you were waiting for the next episode, you've got a chance to think about what has happened, and you've made your own speculations. You were never really sure what would happen next. Once you thought that the show has peaked, the next episode topped it again.

And here's another strong aspect of the show: It never dictates you how to feel, especially about the characters. No matter if rebels, imperials, mercenaries or citizens, all of them have their own personality and motivations. Not a single one is one-dimensional. In fact, it even makes you root for the characters that seem unlikable, because they are not just shown as pure heroes or pure villains, but as people with their own strengths and weaknesses. And all that added to the emotional depth in the final episode.

This show was not only groundbreaking, but also a major step into the right direction. In fact, I find it incredible that it even won over those who were either sceptical about the show or initially had a dislike for modern Star Wars. And if a show manages to unite certain parts of a fandom, that's a great achievement.

 

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Agreed on all your points there.

My opinions did not change on it either. I think it's by far the best Star Wars we've gotten since the Disney acquisition, even better than Rogue One. I typically prefer my Star Wars focused on Jedi and Sith stories in general, however another big genre I love is the spy thriller genre, and Andor hits the nail on the head with that.

It keeps the build slow but steady throughout, with each small arc being directly related and impactful toward the end goal. Every episode matters and is a huge puzzle piece (something the other SW shows do not do well) and the payoff at the end was just so worth it. No big cameos, no crazy galaxy-ending events, just the culmination of Andor and Mothma's journey from where we see them in episode 1, to the end.

The writing was just masterful at every step. I've been wanting a show like this in Star Wars for so long. I like the other shows fine, but this has set a new standard that I hope Lucasfilm measures themselves to going forward, rather than trying to cater to kids and casuals so much. Andor proves you don't need that to make good Star Wars that people love.

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For years, Star Wars has constantly moved within a certain "comfort zone". Especially the prequel era was incorporated into everything, so much that many fans got used to it and only expected to see just that. But as soon as an attempt was made to break out of it and create something new, it was quickly beaten down by fans and critics, not rarely for trivial reasons. That's why I find it remarkable that ANDOR was overwhelmingly well received, despite being vastly different from what we have already gotten. It even made the most critical fans give it a try, and I do hope that it will attract even more fans.

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5 hours ago, Lancelot said:

 

For years, Star Wars has constantly moved within a certain "comfort zone". Especially the prequel era was incorporated into everything, so much that many fans got used to it and only expected to see just that. But as soon as an attempt was made to break out of it and create something new, it was quickly beaten down by fans and critics, not rarely for trivial reasons. That's why I find it remarkable that ANDOR was overwhelmingly well received, despite being vastly different from what we have already gotten. It even made the most critical fans give it a try, and I do hope that it will attract even more fans.

I think it just depends on the "something new" that is attempted or the "something old" that is taken away. For the sequels, the something new was a combination of characters and inconsistent writing, while the old was old characters and retelling of some specific story beats. I think pretty much anyone can agree that the lack of direction hindered those films more than anything. I think some of the new stuff could have worked really well. The first half of TFA is actually extremely well done and intriguing with the (mostly) new characters and plot moving the story along. As soon as Han and Chewie show up, it goes downhill really fast. Not because of them in particular, but because of the pacing and handling of the old characters and the reliance on another super weapon. TLJ's new things were the constant comedic lines and scenes combined with the need to subvert expectations just for the sake of it. Then of course TROS's new things were really just a combination of all of the previous two films, but with Palpatine being the old character to shoehorn in, and the need to try to compete with Avenger's Endgame's ending, the nonsensical mcguffin plot, etc. Just to name a few.

The new things were detrimental to making a good film in general, not necessarily making a good Star Wars film.

However when you attach an Episode number to a Star Wars film and say it's part of the same saga, there a lot more expectations to how those films should be. In tone, theme, dialogue style, looks, etc. They didn't get those things right consistently, especially as the trilogy went on.

But with Rogue One, they nailed all of that stuff, but tried a little bit of something new with making it more of a war film, focusing on how the underdog gains the upper hand that we see play out in the first SW film. It was a bit more gritty, took itself seriously (but not too seriously) and delivered a great prequel story.

With Solo, I think it succeeded in it's mission as well. The new thing it tried was recasting a beloved character, which can be hard for some people to accept but I think overall was done well. I love Alden's Han Solo and definitely see both characters as one at this point. I do think they tried to make it kind of like a heist movie but it may have failed at that, but it was a great Star Wars story to tell nonetheless. Not perfect, but it's always a fun watch.

Mandalorian is one of the examples where they have really tried to keep it as confined to what the creators believe Star Wars is and should be, and though they've done that well and has been accepted by most people to be good, it is also hindered by that outlook. The "adventure of the week" storytelling just gets really old, to the point where people just kinda tune out until there's the big finale where things that matter actually happen. I love Mando, but I can't stand the way it is structured. Especially with how short the episodes are, tuning in weekly when a season is airing isn't all that exciting. It's fun to binge it because the subpar episodes can quickly overshadowed within the hour.

I think Andor's structure and storytelling is phenomenal and should be how all major narrative-focused TV series should be done. I don't mean the genre necessarily. I am okay with variety of genres in Star Wars. But the attention to detail for every episode that builds upon the last one to reach the end of the story in one cohesive narrative is what I want. No filler episodes, or "side quests" as they've been labeled for Mando, unless it ends up being actually part of the natural plotline.

I'm a little worried that Mando season 3 and even Ahsoka are going to lean heavily into the other direction. It sounds like the Acolyte might be a happy medium between the two styles, which I'm okay with. That one is being labeled as a "mystery thriller" so that sounds like a really intriguing genre to explore as well.

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