Do we really need more prequels to the Original Trilogy?
To the mostly movie-going Star Wars audience, 2016’s Rogue One was an eye-opener. Properly putting the ‘wars’ in Star Wars, Rogue One explored the side of the galaxy uninterested in Skywalker family drama, or philosophical Jedi and Sith squabbles, and placed focus on the greys of the Star Wars universe.
While nearly every one of the characters introduced in Rogue One have attained some measure of breakout status, it’s arguable that none hold quite as much significance as Cassian Andor. Diego Luna’s take on the tired but driven war veteran left a stronger impression on viewers than expected, leading to his own prequel… ‘cause prequels are just kinda what Star Wars does.
Beginning 5 years prior to the events of Rogue One and, by extension, Episode IV – A New Hope, Andor sees Cassian’s journey from being a man on his own mission to his recruitment into the Rebellion. But key to the success of the storytelling (at least thus far), is that the element of Cassian’s involvement in the Rebel Alliance is not immediate.
Among a tidal wave of newly minted Star Wars content supposedly tailored for the television medium Andor stands out both in story and style. Distinctly distant from even the cinematography of The Mandalorian, a hybrid between classic western and classic Star Wars, Andor’s vision is one which stays close to the bleak reality of the galaxy as made clear in Rogue One.
Diego Luna’s reprisal of the titular character shoulders the weight of the show, and carries the role with appropriate gravitas for the early portion of the show. That load is quickly shared with the likes of the newly joining Stellan Skarsgard, and the returning Genevieve O’Reilly who reprises her role as Mon Mothma, from Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One.
While there is very little to criticise in Andor, some may take issue with how un-Star Wars it is. The irony of Andor being the closest in some aspects to the original Star Wars is not missed when juxtaposed against the stylistic differences here. Of course, many would point out that there isn’t much to expect from a story whose chief character’s fate is already known.
Yet, here we are, with annual returns to the Prequel era and an Obi-Wan series to boot–we did, after all, celebrate an entire show about one of the first named characters to get killed in a movie from 45 years ago.
If anything, Andor is a reminder of what Star Wars has always truly been about: the very miniscule and human (figuratively speaking) characters and journeys in the grand scheme of things, and how they can all play a part in the ultimate fate of the bigger picture.
In this tidal wave of Star Wars shows, Andor is that rippling wave of humanity amongst iconic Jedi Masters, and fan favourite bounty hunters. And it’s a welcome one.