I put off writing about Andor’s first season because it seemed like a lot of work to do it justice.
I rewatched the 12 episodes and I absolutely love it. It was everything I had hoped it would be: a smart, sophisticated, adult-oriented take on Star Wars, as if it were populated by real people.
It was sort of a weird experience seeing how it went completely over some people’s heads. I was disappointed that the Scriptshadow guy was one of them. He has a lot of smart storytelling analysis, but in many ways, he’s like an oafish teenager—sad!
The show was not only beautifully written and acted, but hugely expensive—and, for once, all of that beauty and thought and great taste was up there on the screen.
I mean, those sets!
(For those of us who know our George Lucas...)
Those practical locations:
The beautifully designed and executed set pieces (making blaster fire, for once, truly scary) and mini-arcs, climaxing in a shootout, heist, prison break and riot, respectively.
That incredible monologue by Stellan Skarsgard as Rebel grandmaster, Luther:
I loved the score, too!
And I’ll even forgive them for the first Jewish mother on Star Wars:
All those little human moments—like switching hats on the shuttle...
Why did they do that? I read it was so they could find each other more easily in the crowd. Or maybe to make their disguises better. Whatever the case, it was so real, and interesting—even though I’m a cynical grown-up, it made me feel like a kid, to imagine what it would actually be like to live in the Star Wars galaxy.
And that was really the appeal in the first place, wasn’t it?
There hasn’t been a show I’ve looked forward to as much as this since—you’ll never guess—a short-lived but super-smart STARZ sci-fi thriller called Counterpart:
That was a parallel-world show that I didn’t have a lot expectations for; parallel-world shows are usually done in such a goofy, juvenile way. But this one was executed like a John Le Carré thriller, set in Berlin. I didn’t have high expectations but I was blown away by how smart it was.
But it was so ice-cold, I knew it wouldn’t stick around long, and it was sort of a miracle it lasted for two seasons.
Andor will only be two seasons, but it will have an ending—and we actually know it, because creator Tony Gilroy has told us: it ends right where Rogue One begins.
I’ve involved with fandom since I was a teenager. I long ago lost my appetite for going in and arguing what’s better or worse. People are welcome to believe whatever they want!
But it seems self-evident to me that this is truly the pinnacle.
The fact that Disney decided to invest in it (to boost their streaming service) and choose the right guy with the right mindset as a storyteller (who had already bailed them out once, on Rogue One) to put together and lead a fabulous team—what incredible luck!
We wonder why some things are good and some are bad? It comes down to the quality of the storytellers—it’s that simple.
Some people are just the real deal and have an instinct for what’s dramatic and what matters:
For a show that some people found confounding and aloof, I found Andor enormously emotional.
There’s a throwaway line in episode 7 that is a perfect case in point. Andor has returned to his home planet, flush with credits, and wants his adoptive mother to leave with him. But she won’t, for a bunch of reasons. He pleads with her how worried he’ll be. Her response is almost a dismissive scoff: “That’s just love, nothing you can do about that.”
I mean, whoa.
It’s so true—but a lesser show makes that the centerpiece of the scene, with cheesy music. Here, it’s like a throwaway.
John Milius once said about The Wild Bunch that it has lines that you hear and you remember your whole life (he said with emphasis). One of them was, “We all dream of being a child again, even the worst of us. Perhaps the worst most of all.”
All I know is that I found myself rooting for the “baby villains” (as the actors call Syril and Dedra), thinking—this is some kind of storytelling!
So, when we’re gifted with this kind of work...what can you do except say thank you?
And use it as inspiration for your own work?
I eagerly await season two!