Forget Star Wars Fatigue, ‘Andor’ Is One of the Best Shows of 2022

One scene is in chapter 7 oh Andor who sent me to search.

It starts out strange. Cassian Andor, our titular antagonist, after pulling off an impossible hit on the Galactica Empire, was doing what any reasonable criminal would do in the aftermath: partying it up in what can only be described as “Space Ibiza. ” An experience at night, lying off the big end on the beach during the day. A strange tone for a universe usually dialed in on space wizards cloaking it with laser swords.

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While lying down, Cassian – a bystander in a completely new, separate crime in which he has no part – is pulled up by a Stormtrooper and questioned on the spot, having ‘to be accused of taking part in a crime which he witnessed.

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Anyone watching that scene who has been interviewed by a rogue cop almost certainly has a knot in their stomach. Cassian, both polite and future, frantically tries to avoid trouble as he is slowly bewitched by a series of leading questions, which means he is imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. It is a brutal scene and confusing in its truthfulness. What initially feels like a parody slowly unravels into something terrifying. The result feels depressingly inevitable: This is what happens when you allow fascism to flourish without accountability.

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Droid KX looks over Cassian on a beach promenade in Andor

Cassian’s first encounter with the Imperial droid KX is anything but pleasant.

Lucasfilm

It’s funny, but Andor – a spinoff show that focuses on a character from a spinoff movie – is literally the first Star Wars “thing” that has shown us that the Galactic Empire is a truly fascist regime which, at its core, very bad. In a universe where the villains are supposed to be space Nazis, that’s weird.

But this is also why Andor remains a surprisingly excellent TV show. If you’re not already watching it, you should be. He is in control.

Andor rules because it’s a show obsessed with the smaller things in its universe. Star Wars has traditionally been about comedic events, massive space battles with galaxy-changing consequences. But at no point in any Star Wars movie have I gotten a true sense of what Luke Skywalker and Co. actually fighting for; or what the rebels were rebelling against.

Darth Vader was evil because he was dressed in black and choked dudes. That’s it. The Emperor, on the other hand, had a pale, pasty visage and an eerie laugh. Sure, these people blew up planets and killed young children, but that’s pantomime villain stuff. In Andor the villain is the slow, unassuming creep of fascism, and that makes the show one of the most compelling things Disney has produced since acquiring the Star Wars license in 2012.

The unmistakable silhouette of a black-clad, helmeted bad guy, Darth Vader in Obi-Wan Kenobi on Disney Plus.

Nice to get a breather from this dude.

Disney Plus

It’s a show obsessed with the smaller things, the minutiae of the grind. We see apartment buildings, broken robots, disappointed mothers eating lunch with their grown children. We watch the effects of bureaucracy in action, noisy little work meetings, naughty office sessions. We watch families bicker over breakfast, fuss over guest lists and generally engage in the banalities of everyday existence. It’s strangely fascinating.

I’ve often criticized Star Wars for obsessively filling in the gaps of its own timeline and making its once grand universe feel small. Andor’s universe building is different. It dials in minicule details in a way that makes the world of Star Wars feel truly lived in. By weaving the stories of these minor characters into the grand narrative, we come to feel the enormity of a wider conflict. This is not a Star Wars story, just a bit-part story that takes place somewhere in that universe. That’s amazing.

But beyond those main concepts, Andor is a show that is good in almost every aspect of its production. It looks great, it’s well written. Not a single line of dialogue feels crammed or clunky. It’s packed with top-notch performances too.

Denise Gough – who plays Dedra Meero, a member of the Imperial Security Bureau – brilliantly conveys the corporate anxiety of high-stakes meetings where one wrong word could mean you lose your job. And, as this tweet saysthere isn’t a crime I wouldn’t commit if Stellan Skarsgård sternly asked me if I really wanted to “fight these bastards.”

Andor takes Star Wars to a place it has never been. It feels more like a John le Carré novel with blazers than a space opera. And as someone who literally once finish a Star Wars rant/article with the words“that’s enough Star Wars for me thanks,” it’s a welcome change.

If you, like me, were tired of the exploits of Luke Skywalker and Company, I encourage you to reconsider. Andor, regardless of the Star Wars baggage, is one of the best shows of 2022. I’m as surprised as anyone.



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