Disney+ Andor gives a dramatically grounded look at the socio-political landscape of the Galactic Empire and the rise of the rebellion in the beloved star wars galaxy. Using a smaller scale and tonally mature approach to the franchise, george lucasThe legendary space opera is stripped of its boyish whimsical charm and brave spiritual heroism and instead examined with political intrigue and interpersonal drama akin to modern prestige television like breaking Bad Where The Handmaid’s Tale.
By countering the emotional and thematic norms commonly attributed to the galaxy far, far away and its initial audience, Andoremotional tone and approach to storytelling set it apart from anything star wars franchise has already done on screen, for better and for worse.
Andor explores a new facet of warfare
As a franchisee, star wars is a vast web of worlds, timelines, and characters that accommodates an even wider range of possibilities for stories to be told. Shows like Visions, The Mandalorian, rebelsand The Clone Wars expand on the franchise canon and embrace the spirit of the films while creating their own unique identity. Andor does much the same thing by telling the story of Diego Lunaby Cassian Andor before his appearance in A thug. The series takes great advantage of its intimate scale, character, and place in canon to give fans a new perspective on the iconic galactic war and explore more complex moralities and dramas that have evolved in the war against the empire.
The show is an evolution of the conflicts first established in the original 1977 film by exploring the reign of the empire and the workings of the rebellion in a more nuanced way. Rebel combat is shown not just to be fought on the battlefield with blasters, but with money in the hushed halls of Coruscant’s senatorial elite and in the clandestine dealings of political espionage. The empire is not just an evil force with a planet-killing weapon led by an evil emperor and his Sith apprentice, but a pervasive system of state and corporate rule that oppresses the working class with great prejudice. Andor effectively colors the conflict of star wars with a broader spectrum of what is considered good and bad.
Andor’s mature tone moves away from classic Star Wars spectacle and charm
However, AndorThe more mature and nuanced tone of creates a noticeable disconnect with the rest of the franchise. By omitting the spirit of classic fantasy and blockbuster adventure, AndorThe melancholy characters and dark political storylines are a stark contrast to more recent entries in the franchise. Absent is the comic levity, high-flying sense of adventure, and witty heroism that defines the franchise, made all the more apparent by the complexity of the series’ rhetoric that at times renders the simplicity of the original films juvenile in comparison. The Escape and Rescue of Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) of the Death Star plays out much more lightheartedly than Cassian Andor’s prison break from Narkina 5. While both depict a plotted escape from Empire capture, AndorThe intense prison break plays out with dramatic weight and severity that make A new hope seem insulting inconsequential and easy in comparison.
The hero and villain stories seen in the trilogy and original series like The Mandalorian do not merge emotionally with the way Andor writes its characters. That doesn’t mean that star wars should be tonally homogenized like the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but AndorThe approach to storytelling is inconsistent with virtually every other entry in the franchise. Aesthetically, the series also moves away from star wars visual trademarks, using very little action sequences, iconography, and otherworldly alien creatures in favor of sterile environments that allow scenes to focus on the emotions of human performances.
Andor both expands on and refutes the franchise’s genre tonal standards to create an entirely new unique experience that breaks away from nearly anything globally recognized as typically star wars. This can be attributed to the show’s target audience of long-time savvy adult fans. By the very admission of franchise creator George Lucas, star wars was always meant for kids, meant to hark back to the classic archetypes and legends kids like him have enjoyed for generations. This philosophy persisted through the rest of the franchise’s on-screen life, until Andor, which is clearly geared towards mature adult fans with an emphasis on dialogue and politics. By making a star wars series tonally inaccessible to young audiences, some of the franchise’s key appeal is lost, but not to its detriment.