When Andor was announced as a series by Disney, I must admit; I found myself scratching my head. I was wondering why and how Cassian Andor got his own series when there is a plethora of more deserving characters in the Star Wars Universe that are still sitting on the sidelines.
Lando Calrissian, Mace Windu, Yoda, and many others are all characters that Star Wars fans have been yearning to learn more about for years. Yet, Cassian Andor got the green light. It made no sense to me.
Then the series dropped, and we got the first three episodes on it’s premier date. To me, that was a huge red flag.
Usually when a network or streaming service starts dumping episodes, that means they have no confidence in the finished product and are trying to just get it over with.
I have never been so happy to be wrong. As it turns out, Andor is one of the best shows that Disney Plus has put out in it’s short history. Not only is the writing great, the pacing perfect, and the character development superb, but unlike other top shelf shows like The Mandalorian and Kenobi, Andor actually makes the movie that it is based on better.
Imagine that for a moment. A prequel that actually enhances the original story. That is extremely hard to do. After four episodes, I think it is very safe to say that Andor goes above and beyond in doing so. It has actually made me re-evaluate my mixed feelings about Rogue One.
Rogue One Had A Big Flaw
Technically speaking, Rogue One was not a bad movie. The pacing was good. The action scenes were plentiful. The camera work was amazing. Oddly enough for a modern Star Wars movie, the dialogue wasn’t even all that bad.
There was just no character development. Without any character development, there wasn’t really a character there to anchor the movie. This left me watching a movie with nobody to root for.
Of course you’re going to root for the rebels by default, but that’s like rooting for whoever is playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl. I was only rooting for the rebels because I was supposed to. I had no emotional stake or attachment to any of these characters.
With a cast that included Forrest Whitaker, Diego Luna, and Mads Mikkelsen, that is criminal. It is an almost unforgiveable oversight.
How Andor Fixes Rogue One
Andor, which has the extraordinarily talented Diego Luna returning to the role; addresses the character development issues perfectly.
In Rogue One we meet Cassian Andor when he shoots his friend in the back to escape from the authorities. He spends the rest of the movie brooding and being mysterious. It is almost like the writers set out to give us a discount Han Solo.
However, it missed the mark and all the viewer could make of the character was that he was a bad guy on the right side of the fight.
In the series, we see the back story of how the Empire destroyed Andor’s home planet, Kenari through a series of mining mishaps that destroyed the environment and made the planet inhabitable.
When we first meet him, Cassian is in a brothel. Not for pleasure, but to look for his long lost sister. Shortly after that, he is harassed and shaken down by drunken, corrupt Policemen. He kills them in self defense, then is forced to go on the run when an entire task force descends upon him after he was sold out by a jealous colleague.
That is character development. That is good writing. That type of detail is what Rogue One is missing.
Cassian Andor is not necessarily a hero. In the show he is still a thief. He is still a master manipulator and he is still at heart, a Kenari Warrior who is willing to kill at will. The ends justify his means.
Yet with the backstory, we understand his actions and why he is the way he is. It attaches us to the character because he is not a bad person. He is a man just trying to get by in a world where he is constantly being kept down by those above him. He is a man that has never even seen what a fair chance looks like.
The series has made him a relatable character, and as a result the viewer is enthralled and anticipating each weekly episode.
Halfway through the series, things are really starting to pick up. With the way the show has been going, I am extremely optimistic about the end result. If the writing continues to remain this good, then Cassian Andor will have a well deserved spot among all of the other great characters throughout the rich history of the Star Wars Universe.
History will also as a result, look back kindly on Rogue One instead of seeing it as a rudderless movie.
If you’re a writer, you can’t do a job much better than that.
Andor airs weekly on Wednesdays on the Disney Plus App. Check out episode five tonight!
What do you think, Geek Faithful? Do you love Andor? Hate it? Are you indifferent? I want to hear from you, so sound off in the comments section!
Thank You for reading, when I am not writing I enjoy spending time with my wife Barbara, my two year old daughter Frankie, my hound Marbles, and my ferret Ms. Farrah Pawcett.
For more discussions on all things Star Wars including Andor go to our Youtube Channel and check out the Cantina Happy hour, where Dave and the gang will be discussing episode five tomorrow at 9:30 E.S.T. Stay Geeky Everybody!