I am 10 episodes into Disney+’s Star Wars: Andor series and I love it. I am impressed that Disney+ finally dug a little deeper into the Star Wars material to find a new perspective, for now we get to see the Imperial bureaucracy in action.
This is the first of the four new live action Star Wars series that does not lean on the stars from the earlier movies – no Baby Yoda, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Darth Vader, Tusken Raiders, or Jabba the Hutt. Instead, you get an original story, similar to how the Star Wars movie Rouge One took its own path.
Of course, the series has Storm Troopers, but they are there to lock down the period rather than becoming comic relief by allowing our “heroes” to blast away 50 of them at a time while coming away unharmed. Instead, the new series slowly kills off some of the heroes to demonstrate the true stakes involved.
The acting and dialogue is also much improved from earlier Star Wars iterations. Thankfully, Disney kept away from horrible Lucas-talk, never assuming that laser fights would cover over weak dialogue and a flimsy plot. Even the business side of Star Wars here is so much more interesting than the trade federation blather from The Phantom Menace. In Andor, the trade and smuggling is an important and believable thread carefully wound into the overall story.
But best of all, Andor gives us an inside look at Imperial operations. Your massive, mind-numbing bureaucracy here represents a form of slavery within the machine doing the oppressing. The back-biting among the off-white-clad officers of the Imperial Security Bureau is fun to behold, even without a Darth Vader ending each meeting with someone being choked to death.
The Imperial “justice” system is another fascinating story line, showing how the Empire’s reaction to terrorist attacks leads to gang-pressing innocent citizens. It’s a perfect merging of Putin and a Tesla factory. All the while, political intrigue continues in the Senate and family dynamics are used as a poisonous glue.
This is not to say the series lacks action scenes. If you are looking for shootouts and space battles, they are in the story. But they assist the plot rather than being the main plot. Andor is about the people (software) behind the Empire more than the hardware.
I am not saying all of the spin-off series need to follow the Andor model. I’m just glad an Andor exists at all. It’s about time the adults had something to watch that meshes more with their reality – less flash, more angst. You can put Baby Yoda to bed with the kids and stay up late with Andor.
I look forward to watching the remaining two episodes of this season as well as the next and final season. I also ask Disney to keep the adults in mind as it develops more Star Wars programs. You have an eager fan base.