By placing itself from the very first minutes under the aegis of “Blade Runner” – at night, a man walks in a gloomy futuristic city in the rain -, the new creation taken from the universe “Star Wars” sends a first message to spectators and fans. We must take this new principality of“Andor” seriously and in the cosmogony created by George Lucas bringing it closer to the brilliant spaghetti westerns of “The Mandalorian” and “The Book of Boba Fett” rather than recent and winded “Obi-Wan Kenobi”. For this series, Disney + has chosen to reverse the Manichean universe to which decades of interstellar battles have accustomed us. In a word, the shallows rather than the sky, secondary characters rather than Jedi knights, planets unknown to the profane rather than the sand of Tatouine…
Following the origins of Cassian Andor, a lowly Alliance intelligence officer seen in “Rogue One”, one of the films of the saga, we are going to explore behind the scenes of the fight between the rebels and the Empire, a world of small hands without means, far from everything, that is to say the resistance in what it has more destitute and more desperate. The four episodes that we were able to watch therefore take their time and risk taking some fans backwards: no or few fights, no lightsaber, no evil figure and not even the enigmatic charm of a helmeted Mandolarian.
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On the contrary, we discover an antihero (Diego Luna) overwhelmed by events, looter of wrecks killing almost in spite of himself two auxiliaries of the Empire and seeking to escape the consequences of his gesture. The decor is well worth the detour, we stroll through the alleys of an industrious city with very strong steampunk accents, in a beautiful green valley that we would swear escaped from Scotland, in an apartment and an art gallery in Conuscant, the luxurious capital of this galaxy, or in agonizing immaculate corridors where the executives of the Empire shoot each other in the legs.
Rather than the arrival of the talkative Stellan Skarsgård, the only real star of the cast, we retain an attractive gallery of supporting roles including Kyle Soller, an overzealous Empire subcontractor and his colleague Alex Ferns, Alex Lawther, actor revealed in the late Netflix series, “The End of the F…ing World”. Behind this successful start to a season of twelve episodes, the viewer will not be surprised to find a few names of veterans who have already impressed in the past: showrunner Tony Gilroy staged the instructive lawyers’ film in 2007 “Michael Clayton” and co-wrote “Rogue One” – an underrated film in the saga “Star Wars” –his brother Dan, here co-screenwriter, had made the excellent thriller “Nightcrawler” in 2014, and before directing five episodes of “Andor”, Toby Haynes had directed an astonishing SF episode of the series “BlackMirror”. Finally, at the end of the season, we will be able to reconnect with the talent of Beau Willimon, the gifted creator of “House of Cards” who had disappeared from the radar.
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So Disney+ has, it seems, taken the opposite side of Prime Video and HBO in recent launches. “Rings of Power” and of “House of the Dragons” : play small by cultivating veracity and the art of detail by putting experienced designers at the helm rather than trying to wow the gallery with third-tier workers. So far, despite a failed fight scene, the bet has paid off. At the speed at which the series are born (almost twenty for the month of September alone) and die in recent times, that’s already a lot.