at worst, Star Wars: Andoro is a sanded-down, PG-13 version of some of the best TV dramas of the past decade. It’s easy to see traces of The wire, Lostand Breaking Bad in this story of Star Wars-adjacent scum and rogue states. However, as you might suspect, such nuanced TV inspirations can only go so far in a franchise that regularly features chirping droids and action figure pairings.
But at best Andoro plays like no other Star Wars movie or TV item to date, and it bodes well for the series’ future after Skywalker. Andoro bends its adult aspirations to more closely resemble the gritty content that has endeared series sidebars like comics, novels, and video games. While it takes a little too long for the momentum to kick in, enough quality comes together at the end of the series’ first 100 minutes to make it a worthy recommendation for fans of immersive sci-fi television, let alone Star Wars loyalists.
At Disney+, a three-episode first release says a lot
This series “follows” the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story the only way Lucasfilm really could: by building a prequel of its lovable antihero Cassian Andor. (Spoiler alert: If this series had been a direct sequel to that movie in the timeline, it would have featured a lot fewer characters.) Since his name is in the title, Andor is the star, and the events rewind to both his greatest adult and children’s adventures.
Disney+ typically debuts new TV episodes once a week, and while a few series exceptions have launched with a bonus episode (notably Marvel’s Wanda Vision), Andor is the first to approach a “binge” during launch week. Wednesday’s three-episode debut feels like a big confession from Lucasfilm: “Hey fans, please watch all three episodes before you jump to judgment.”
I am grateful that I did. Andoro takes so much time to orientate, especially as the opening episodes continue with an all-new cast of characters centered around the familiar face of protagonist Diego Luna. Trailers have suggested we’ll eventually see characters from Rogue One, Star Wars: Rebelsand other entries, but first we need to watch Andor embrace his destiny.
At least one installment of the series so far has: Lost are gone
If you prefer: Star Wars dark-deal adventures in alleyways, questionable-sounding favors without questions and cold-blooded murders, Andoro wastes no time carrying his dark heart. Andor kicks off the first episode on a fact-finding mission, and while he’s obviously been looking for a while, this TV series begins with a quest gone awry. Within minutes, Andor returns to Ferrix, his real home base where he usually collects and sells scrap metal to make ends meet. It’s time to make one last deal, he tells his pair of henchmen, and they need to sharpen their alibis about it, just in case.
And he would have gotten away with his plan, too, had it not been for a meddling middle manager in an Imperial operations outpost. Deputy Inspector Karn (Kyle Soller) is the series’ first notable new character, roaring with impotent rage as he tries to make a name for himself in an otherwise bureaucratically understated realm. Karn alternates between obnoxious smugness and chest-thumping BS, and his resulting unpleasantness is magnetic to watch as he executes Andor’s escape plan. Its place in the story is probably as close as the Star Wars universe will ever get to resemble the fractured law enforcement ecosystem of some of modern TV’s greatest hits.