The first “prestige” show in Star Wars history has arrived

Andor could be the first prestige Star Wars series ever made.

Yes, we are aware of that The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett and Obi Wan Kenobi exist – let alone exist The clone wars and rebels – but Andor does something else. Borrowing its ideas from the golden era of television, it could usher in a new Star Wars era as we know it.

“Think game of Thrones or That sopranosNot stranger things.”

The series follows Villain One Breakout star Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). But he’s a far cry from the confident rebel spy we saw giving his life for the cause in 2015. Here Cassian is another man with a much simpler mission. He’s trying to track down his sister, and he won’t let his own morality get in the way.

Cassian lives in the galactic equivalent of a factory town, a mining planet controlled by an Empire-backed corporation. But when Andor “accidentally” murders two off-duty company men, the Empire gets involved just as our hero finds himself in the throes of a rebellion.

Through the eyes of Andor‘s full cast, we see the full scope of the political environment. Star Wars graduate Genevieve O’Reilly returns as Senator and Rebel spy Mon Mothma, who must lend a hand in the Empire’s business while secretly helping a guerrilla movement bring it down. O’Reilly brings her character to life with the kind of quiet resentment we haven’t seen on TV since The American. No wonder then Andor is directed by spy thriller maestro Tony Gilroy, best known for his work on The Bourne Trilogy, Michael Claytonand duplicity.

The biggest difference between Andor and the rest of Star Wars is not the ambiguous protagonist but the structure itself. Star Wars TV has taken many forms – an episodic space in the West The Mandaloriana six-part miniseries in Obi Wan Kenobi and The book by Boba Fett or a series of arcs in the animated shows.

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Andor has already been confirmed for 24 episodes spread over two seasons. Because of this longer running time, the story has more room to breathe. Coming out together on September 21, the first three episodes take time to establish not only Cassian’s character, but also his backstory and the strained political situation he lives in — along with a broader cast of heroes, villains and everything in between.

Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma in Andor. Lucasfilm

Andor‘s format is not without growing pains. The first three episodes are incredibly slow, reminiscent of the kind of shows you’d recommend your friend watch, with the caveat that “it really picks up steam after Season 2.” Still, the slow-paced setup has an almost nostalgic quality, reminding viewers of an era before the sheer volume of streaming content meant shows had to have you hooked within the first few minutes. Think game of Thrones or That sopranosNot stranger things.

Visually, Andor is already far ahead of its most recent predecessor. Tony Gilroy has admitted that the series didn’t use the state-of-the-art “volume” technology, which fans have gotten mad at after its apparent overuse on previous shows. in the Andorthere is an abundance of wide-angle shots and a great deal of time spent gazing at the landscape of the universe.

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Despite its initially fragmented story, there’s an old-fashioned planet-hopping attitude that’s not just limited to the main character. We jump from heroes to villains to new characters to high-ranking officials that the hero hasn’t even met without getting lost. is Andor the first Star Wars series on Disney+ to understand the concept of a B-plot? It could be easy.

Andor takes the “planet hopping” approach to new heights with stunning visuals.Lucasfilm

After almost three years of high-octane drama that singled out larger Star Wars lore like the Jedi or the Mandalorian, there’s not a single saber or Beskar helmet in the first four installments of Andor. The imperial drama is all small and focuses mostly on middle managers, who are the first to see the beginnings of a rebellion. Meanwhile, Cassian and his cohorts don’t become rebels because of midi-chlorians or a prophecy, but because they saw something wrong and, more importantly, found a way to fix it.

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Andor abandons all conventions of what fans want to see – saber battles, Force powers, cameos – and returns to what made Star Wars great in the first place: the David and Goliath story of a rebel army pitted against an unstoppable Empire.

Could Andor become the new normal of Star Wars? That depends on the reception, but with The Mandalorian Season 3 is still half a year away, this is a great palate cleanser. Peek into an alternate world where Star Wars is a big-budget HBO drama that aired Sunday nights, where the plot isn’t rushed, stories can start small, and the characters are more than just archetypal heroes. in the Andorthey are people with vices, flaws and selfishness for which they are responsible.

It’s time Star Wars was about the people, not just the overpowered heroes and villains.

Andor Premieres September 21 on Disney+.

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