The Star Wars license is emerging from its lethargy with a disconcerting and promising new series. What is Andor, spin-off of Rogue One worth? Critical.
In 2015, Lucasfilm returns to the front of the stage with a seventh installment of its flagship license. While the director has decided to retire, the studios now in the hands of Disney do not intend to let the goose sleep for very long. Star Wars returns with new faces and new challenges.
The force awakens unfortunately was less a real return of a flagship license than the reminiscences of past glory. A sort of shapeless creature passed through several hands, the new trilogy did not meet with the expected success, at least on the critical side.
Among this new cuvée, few have found favor in the eyes of the public. Only RogueOne, tragedy at the heart of a galaxy in full rebellion, has become obvious. Gareth Edwards brought a breath of fresh air to the galaxy Star Wars. As Disney+ seeks new productions to add to its catalog, developing a spin-off of RogueOne seemed obvious. Andor is it the dream of our autumn nights?
Spin-off of a spin-off, a dream within a dream
The plot from Andor follows as its name suggests the adventures of Cassian Andor, before he joins the rebellion to fight the imperial troops. Truth be told, the Rebellion doesn’t even exist, with the galaxy completely in the grip of Palpatine and his minion Darth Vader. As he goes in search of his sister, Andor finds himself chased by troops from the planet Morlana One. Then begins a race against time for our hero, who must find a way to escape.
As soon as the trailers are released of Andor, it was obvious that the series was going to take a different approach than its elders. It is built like a thriller in several acts, an anthology with various inspirations. The creators wanted to pay tribute to a whole range of films, and in the first place those of George Lucas. Exit the very colorful and smooth aesthetics of the latest films and series, Andor is a sticky and nuanced object. More than an epic adventure, around a chosen one and the mystical aspect of force, the production dreams of a story of a human journey on the borders of a galaxy plagued by an unspeakable evil.
The series therefore strives to evoke all aspects of this dictatorship, exploiting it through those who suffer from it. In the first episodes, the antagonists of yesteryear are content to be mentioned, it is a question here of following the course of those who will gradually make their voices heard to confront the Empire.
The screenwriters aim to shed light on the period preceding RogueOne and thus offer more density to the character portrayed by Diego Luna. The story navigates through several key moments in his life; a journey through time and space that takes us back to his childhood. The mystery surrounding these origins is also one of the strengths of the series, a double narration that echoes the main plot while giving relief to these first episodes.
When I am grown up…
Andor seems to be the mutation of Star Wars, a passage to adulthood for the license that has flourished so far in an almost regressive universe. She also invites very few strange creatures, most of the characters are human. The overall aesthetic is very reflective of this darker turn of the license. From photography to the humid atmosphere of Fest, reminiscent of Great Britain where the series was filmed, the series moves away from the western inspirations of its elders to reinforce this impression of novelty.
But it is above all in the themes that they address thatAndor finds its difference. Here, totalitarianism takes on a new color. Where George Lucas’ narrative was fundamentally Manichean, almost biblical, the work of Stephen Schiff and Tony Gilroy delves deeper into the gray area.
Heroes and antagonists are not only good or bad, the line between the two camps is more blurred. Especially since the series deals with necessary evil. It is also a question of class struggle, the character camped by Diego Luna also insists on this through a replica which could sum up on its own the bias of the series. “They are so proud of themselves. They are so fat and satisfied that they cannot imagine that someone like me could ever invite himself into their homes.
The first three episodes navigate quite easily between all his inspirations, before the series adopts a new guideline. It seems to borrow from the heist film in its fourth part, it will nevertheless be necessary to wait for the release of the fifth episode to be sure.
Also for the first time in the Star Wars galaxy, romantic relationships are not content with being off-screen. Sexuality is briefly invited into the story, at the turn of a scene that takes on a new character. We will even say that in its way of approaching family relationships, the new Disney + production is blowing a new wind. Four episodes is still not enough to judge how this new approach will be exploited, but we will simply say that the project is very promising.
RogueOne is undoubtedly the best film of the latest Star Wars vintage. While the main saga multiplies the narrative back and forth, it bets on simplicity and explores the story of a heist with spatial sauce. A recipe that works, and in particular thanks to a gallery of characters, each more interesting than the other.
Diego Luna had already shown the extent of his talent, he reproduces the feat with this new part of the adventures of Cassian Andor. He rubs shoulders with other actors of his caliber, starting with Stellan Skarsgard who embodies an important character in the narrative. Note also the performance of Adria Arjona, much better in this score than in the one given to her for Morbus.
All these beautiful people master their score to perfection, and allow the series to find its tempo and tone. The danger is at every street corner, the tension is at the rendezvous. It should be noted, however, that the first episode is surprisingly slow, but that the sequel gains in intensity.
At the end of its first four episodes, it is obvious that the series has captured our attention. After several series of dubious screenplay quality, it already seems thatAndor has more to tell. We will wait for the broadcast of the next episodes to be sure. We are already far from the very soporific The Boba Fett Book.
Discover Andor on Disney+