Andor review episode 1-4

Andor Episode 1-4 Review: The Breath of Fresh Air Star Wars Needed

It’s time to return to a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away with Andor, the newest Star Wars TV series premiering on Disney+. This show stars Diego Luna as Cassian Andor, a role he originated in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The latest series takes place five years before the events of that film during the height of the Empire’s rule over the galaxy. The first four episodes of this show are a cinematic, delightful look at a franchise needing a solid creative voice.

Tony Gilroy creates this vast, immersive look into the Star Wars galaxy. He has previously worked as a writer on four of the Bourne movies and was a co-writer on Rogue One. Gilroy and directors Toby Haynes and Susanna White bring a marvelous look to this show. The opening sequence of the series premiere sets us on a planet that looks wholly original for the franchise. There are shots in this sequence that look like Blade Runner 2049 with incredible production design and masterful lighting. Cinematographers Jonathan Freeman and Adriano Goldman outdo themselves with their eye-catching work on this show with its cyberpunk/space epic aesthetic.

Cassian Andor is introduced to the audience as a lone wolf looking for his sister from Kenari. The story in Andor is not rushed, offering a slower pace to the show that allows everything a chance to breathe. Unfortunately, part of this storytelling doesn’t entirely work, as the episodes don’t typically end on cliffhangers that get you excited to see what comes next. Instead, the series feels similar to the ongoing show, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, another return to a beloved franchise with masterful filmmaking that doesn’t exactly have a story that pulls you in without letting go.

Four episodes in, the story is off to a mildly strong start, bringing many characters and fresh faces to the galaxy. It’s a comprehensive look at this series, telling a story we have not seen before and never knew we needed to. This is a mature outing for this space opera franchise, focusing less on lightsabers and Jedi and more on a man-on-the-run thriller aesthetic. This is a more grounded tale set in the dark underworld of this series, with themes surrounding the Empire and the Rebellion taking a backseat. It’s a bold move for a Star Wars show to prioritize story over spectacle, and it’s pretty effective.

Andor also benefits from the grounded nature of its production. Practical sets have always been where this series has thrived; the prequels’ overreliance on CGI and the extensive use of The Volume have led to an artificial look for some Star Wars projects. However, this show uses practical sets and real locations, allowing for a rich, incredible-looking show that feels immersive. This shines through, especially as we see the show’s nonlinear structure that fills in the gaps of Andor’s childhood.

There are a few rough edges here. For example, a storyline surrounding Mon Mothma feels very distant from the rest of the show, but this is a fascinating series. While shows like The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi feel like they were made to cash in on your nostalgia and love for other Star Wars projects, Andor is primarily free of familiar faces. It doesn’t rely on your ability to understand references for you to enjoy it. Instead, it goes down a unique route, not having the Empire as the villains and telling a new story with complete, mature storytelling and a solid directorial style. This show is the breath of fresh air that Star Wars needed.

SCORE: 8/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 8 equates to “Great.” While there are a few minor issues, this score means that the art succeeds at its goal and leaves a memorable impact.

Disclosure: The publisher provided a screener for our Andor review.


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