Andor: A Stunning Must Watch

In a time of excellent shows like Barry, Succession, etc, I never would have expected a Disney+ original to be on my best-of-the-year list. Andor moves free from its franchise’s burdens to create something truly unique. It is easily the most political Star Wars has been since its original story. It’s a profound examination of fascism through the eyes of an empire’s victims. It explores the depths one would go to save themselves, but more so create a movement. Painting a story of loss, war, and nuances of conflict. Andor has set itself up to be a brilliantly written, phenomenally performed, well composed, and gorgeously shot spectacle. This was only possible with its all-star production team. Tony Gilroy, the creator of the Bourne Trilogy Films; Nicholas Britell , composer of Moonlight and Succession; Luke Hull, Production designer of Chernobyl; and Toby Haynes, the director of Black Mirror and Sherlock. At this point, if you haven’t already tuned into its weekly release, you are doing yourself a disservice.

Andor isn’t afraid to explore the real-world consequences of its politics. One of the most ignored aspects of Star Wars is how political it is. It’s a tale of fascism, and how one can easily succumb to its influence. But more than that, it shows the power an empire can have over oppressed citizens. Where the films were interested in the physical conflicts, Andor is focused on the aftermath. The shockwaves that ripple throughout the galaxy. These aftershocks incite people to act. For the empire, it’s one of oppression and overreach. For the people, it’s one of rebellion. Fascism affects us all differently, but creates lingering effects in everyone. It tackles the idea of fighting these ideas while showing immediate consequences. Characters must use the strategies of the empire in order to fight against it for pragmatic reasons. To fight for what they believe, for the good of everyone, they must sacrifice the very thing that made them free. “I am burdened to use the tools of my enemy to defeat them… What do I sacrifice… Everything!” It’s a tale full of nuance, one with real burdens. Its characters feel real because we have followed their stories in our world. Movements like the ones shown in Andor feel powerful to the viewer because we know what happens should they lose. Andor has a strong sense of purpose, It knows how to explore these themes and does so with exceptional gravitas. By creating defined characters, we empathize with them and we want them to win. Even if that means many would suffer from their actions.

                   Star Wars has a nostalgia problem, and Andor wants to correct that. For years, Star Wars has relied on nostalgia to carry itself to the finish line. Their stories rely on the viewer’s knowledge of the entire franchise. It assumes that one would understand the clichés and archetypes that have been used before as shorthand for storytelling. Well-crafted shows such as the Mandalorian have forgone their creative license to bring themselves back to a nostalgic cycle. While shows such as Obi-Wan struggle under the weight of their expectations. It can’t move forward because its nostalgia creates immense profits. Andor moves forward, free to create something truly unique. It is less concerned with setting up potential spinoffs and is more focused on fleshing out its exceptional roster of characters through meaningful arcs. With exceptional writing and phenomenal performances from Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgård, and a surprise standout from Andy Serkis. Andor stands out from its predecessors with a well-crafted drama that consistently outdoes itself.

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