The following post contains very minor spoilers for the first three episodes of Andor. But only if you consider me telling you that the title character is going around a lot as a spoiler.
Star wars has one of the biggest openings in film history. After the title crawl and John Williams’ bombastic score, a spaceship flies into view behind the camera – followed by an even more massive ship in pursuit. George Lucas immediately puts the viewer in the middle of the action, and we are hooked by the overwhelming sense of scale and the palpable sense of danger. The intensity doesn’t let up until C-3PO and R2-D2 descend on Tatooine several minutes later.
Compare it with the new one Star wars series on Disney+, Andor. It begins with a man walking alone in a place called “Preox-Morlana Corporate Zone.” The man we will soon see is Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), the master spy who previously appeared in the film Rogue one. But this guy isn’t to Andor. The new series takes place five years prior to the events of Rogue one, before Andor had become a leader in the Rebel Alliance. Here he’s just a guy trying to escape the Empire as fast as he can.
Okay, maybe not to fast.
Disney+ debuted the first three episodes of Andor simultaneously, and it takes until the end of the third episode before Andor really gets mixed up with the rebels. Instead, he spends the first 90 minutes of the show wandering around the planet Ferrix looking for the credits he needs to outrun the space police after he kills two men in self-defense. Andor visits a person who owes him money, then goes to someone else to try to sell something. He visits his adoptive mother and his droid. Then he walks some more.
Sure, Andor want to establish it is not your typical Star wars show. Opening without the typical bombastic action sequence is designed. And there are additional thematic reasons why Andor spends so much time walking around Ferrix. As we slowly (very slowly) learn over the course of the first three episodes, he is a nomad with no home or family. His constant walking is a symbol of that.
But that idea comes through within the first ten minutes of the first episode of Andor – and then it repeats that idea for at least an hour before much else happens. Until then, Cassian walks around. And then other characters walk around too. It’s like one Star wars show for people who loved Gus Van Sant’s Gerry.
Here is an incomplete account of Andor walking scenes:
Diego Luna enters Andor
Do you enjoy watching Diego Luna walk around? After that Andor is your new favorite TV show.
To be fair, third episode of Andor is far more exciting than the previous two. And the first two episodes contain some interesting details about life on this distant planet; the way people go about their daily lives and work, what they drink when they need a caffeine boost, who rings the bell in the local bell tower. The connective tissue between all these people is Cassian Andor, so following him from one resident to the next creates this sense of an interconnected community that, as we see, is rebelling against the Empire’s despotic rule.
Andor communicates all that quite clearly; it just does it in such a casual way that it almost becomes self-parody. I welcome one Star wars series that represent a change of pace from the rest; honestly, the franchise could use it. But I’m not sure that the new pace should be quite so leaden.
New episodes of Andor premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+. Sign up for Disney+ here.
Actors who were wasted in Star Wars roles
These wonderful stars have appeared in Star wars movies and series, but only in parts so small that they left us disappointed.