The current era of Star Wars content is expanding like never before. On top of the three official movie trilogies, there will soon be multiple TV series in the works. Both as standalone stories, and others that continue or expand the universe even further. Currently, Disney+ is streaming the Andor series, the Rogue One prequel story already confirmed for two seasons. But despite so much content, Andor is the most accessible Star Wars thing we’ve ever gotten yet. Read on to find out why.
Every Star Wars show or movie released thus far requires prior knowledge of the larger universe. All 3 trilogies directly continue the story from the one before. The Mandalorian was the first Disney+ Star Wars show. And season one’s entire hook was the surprise appearance of Grogu, a child from the same race as Yoda. So if you didn’t know who Yoda was, you would probably not care as much. As The Mandalorian continued, it brought in stories from the animated Clone Wars and Rebels series.
The Boba Fett series needed audiences to first understand the character’s long but brief history in Star Wars, to even care about the show. We’re not even going to get into the reactions that even long-time Star Wars fans had with Boba Fett. The animated Bad Batch was set entirely in the Star Wars universe post-Order 66, showcasing the adventures of these rogue clones. So audiences unaware of the Clone Wars, Order 66, or any of the larger Star Wars mythos would find it difficult to follow the plot. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a direct prequel, showcasing events between Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith to Star Wars: A New Hope. Which was the same case with Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rogue One; both one-off stories. Let’s not forget the additional animated series, anime anthology, and Ahsoka series that are currently in production.
However, Andor chooses to showcase a part of the Star Wars world devoid of Jedis, Force powers, or any of the concepts that usually appeal to most fans. Andor showcases the core of what the Star Wars universe is all about; the politics, government, and citizens, and how they’re all affected by the rule of a tyrannical, fascist organization. By focusing its story on just one character like Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), the series can introduce audiences to this world and its problems. The series so far is a spy thriller about a group of rag-tag citizens secretly rising up against the Empire, a government that rules with an iron fist. There are no allusions to powerful magic warriors with laser swords. And no mention of anyone named Skywalker. Thankfully.
Instead, the show introduces a galaxy where people are fed up with the government. Where indigenous people get displaced, families torn apart and words ruined by the actions of the Empire. It shows the beginnings of an uprising, slowly building. And if you’re a Star Wars fan, you know what it’s building to. But if you’re not, it’s still a thrilling origin story of a rebellion that is tense, tightly wound, and incredibly well told. Audiences that know nothing of Star Wars can still understand this world. They can see the differences between those living in the capital of Coruscant, versus others struggling on the mining planet of Ferrix, where Andor escapes from. Casual viewers can recognize the trope of a lost and nomad hero in Cassian, with numerous skills and passion, who eventually finds a cause to devote his life to.
Others. like Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) is the older veteran spy type, who introduces Cassian to the cause. Even the long-time Star Wars character of Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), gets an and origin story that audiences can engage with. Even if this is their first introduction to her.
The series also focuses on both sides of the story. Such as characters like Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), a diligent corporate security member, embarrassed by the actions of Andor. Or the ambitious and suspicious Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), an Imperial Office who begins to see the pattern of a Rebellion forming. Showcasing these stories creates a world more nuanced and complicated than the black/white stories that originally built the franchise.
Andor also stays away from providing obvious fan service like other installments of Star Wars. While there are definite connections to the larger Star Wars universe, they’re not at the expense of the current story. This makes Andor very accessible as a Star Wars series to audiences who aren’t fans of the franchise. Or newcomers to Star Wars.
None of this comes as a surprise given that the creator of Andor is Tony Gilroy. Gilroy is famously responsible for similarly taut political and action-based thrillers like Michael Clayton and the Bourne films. Gilroy has also famously stated many times during his involvement with the screenplay for Rogue One, that he’s not a Star Wars guy. But Gilroy is clearly collaborating with others who are, given the deep-cut Star Wars references still visible in Andor.
This is probably why Andor is the most accessible Star Wars content ever. Given that it comes from a creator who is admittedly not entrenched within the Star Wars fandom himself. We live in a time when fans are now creators of the franchises they grew up on. But sometimes it helps to take a step back. And make room for an outside perspective. In the case of Andor, it’s definitely one of the best things that have happened to Star Wars. So far.
Andor is currently streaming on Disney+.