Review: Andor is Star Wars at its best



Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) traveling to a new planet.

Jake Pfeiffer, News Editor & Copy Editor

I have watched, read or listened to nearly every movie, show, book and comic that makes up the Star Wars universe. I’m telling you this not to prove my knowledge or worth, but to quantify the impact of this statement:

Through its first five episodes, Andor has proven to be one of the best Star Wars stories I’ve consumed.

Andor follows the journey of two characters at opposite ends of the hierarchy of what will become the Rebel Alliance — Imperial Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and the titular character, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). 

Credit: Lucasfilm  

The series is set 5 years before Rogue One, and we find both Andor and Mothma in very different spots from where they were in the film. Andor, instead of spying for the Rebellion, is jobless and desperate, while Mothma is attempting to lead a movement against the Empire from inside its senate, rather than from the rebel base on the moon Yavin 4.

Andor takes Star Wars in a direction it has yet to explore— at its core, the show is a hybrid of a spy thriller and a political drama.

Andor strikes a perfect balance of what I believe makes Star Wars so great — the action, worldbuilding and themes of hope and growth — with everything I love about spy and political thrillers: the drama, complexity and intrigue at every level.

Practically everything in this show feels tense and gritty. This is in large part due to spectacular writing from Tony and Dan Gilroy, who are able to communicate so much through penning engaging dialogue and constructing dramatic scenes. 

Nicholas Britell’s score also cannot be understated. Music is such an important story element that is often overlooked, but without the constantly foreboding and ominous sound to the show, Andor simply wouldn’t be the same.

Special effects, set building and costuming are at the usual stunningly high quality that fans have come to expect from Star Wars. These story elements do a great deal of the work anchoring this story firmly in the Star Wars galaxy. 

The acting is also phenomenal: O’Reilly and Luna both turned in emotional and stirring performances, while the rest of the cast helps make the world of Andor feel real, lived in and personal. Stellan Skarsgård (Luthen Rael) and Adria Arjona (Bix Caleen) in particular performed notably, although there was no particularly weak acting anywhere.

My one small complaint with Andor is the relative lack of non-human characters. Star Wars’ diverse universe is one of the best and most unique features of the franchise, and that feels lacking in some places. If that’s the price that must be paid for the quality of everything else in the, however, I’m more than happy to pay it.

That all goes to say that I believe Andor has something for everyone. Star Wars fans will love the lore and storytelling it features, while the general audience will be able to appreciate the strength of its story without needing to rely on the fact that it is a Star Wars story.