Disney+ Review – Andor Episode 1

After the mess that was Obi Wan Kenobi, Star Wars fans will be wondering is there any life left in the old engine to expand the Star Wars universe? The Marvel Cinematic Universe one of Disney’s other cash cow franchises for the past 10 plus years have given our cinemas much needed bums on seats. Like any good thing, they stagnate and the MCU has been faltering in the last few films. The same can be said about the Star Wars franchise. To many fans the interest ended after the original trilogy of films. The last three highlighted how divisive even toxic fanbase, critically things have been. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came out in 2016 kicked off the expanded universe and it’s one character from that film Cassian Andor , now has his own series on Disney Plus.

Diego Luna returns as our titular character in Andor. We follow Cassian Andor’s journey to discover the difference he can make. The series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It’s an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero. Essentially the journey that leads him becoming part of the group who embark on the dangerous mission as seen in Rogue One.

In the first episode ‘Kassa’ Cassian is searching for information about his past. That search takes him to an unsavoury part of his home world that gets him into more trouble. Now he has the authorities on his backs who see him as a criminal. Lying low on planet Ferrix see him bring his problems home.

At times Andor feels a little more like spin-off from Blade Runner rather than a Star Wars spin off. The near dark luminous streets and seedy bars, shady characters, fear and paranoia as you flea rain soaked streets. This plays off as a slow burning thriller, potentially a little on the noir side. Tone wise its darker more interesting than the previous tripe, as our titular character is involved in something that makes him flee the scene back to his home world.

But who is this girl from Kenari, Cassian was looking for? Was she a former comrade he was working with? Does she hold key to something he’s looking for? Is she his sister? Whoever she was he has to flee the planet.

Ferrix is Andor’s world and we’re teased that he may have not always seen the planet as his home. In a flashback a space craft crashes on the planet, we see a young Cassian whose sister calls him Kassa. Kenari looks to be his home planet and deliberately when they don’t translate what they are saying. This scene is building the building blocks to how Cassian becomes who he is, who is on that ship? When you see everyone from Kenari they all seem young. From young children up to older teens, where is the adults?

The Star Wars films and shows adore their androids. Andor introduces BE2MO, which we quickly learn is Cassian’s android. The scene itself oozes Wall-E which is about to become part of The Criterion Collection. We find our hero hiding in a space ship, spying on someone who our protagonist can trust to back him up.

★★★1/2

Sci-fi, Thriller | USA, 2022 | Disney+ | Dir: Toby Haynes | Diego Luna, Lee Boardman, Stephen Wright, Kyle Soller, Rupert Vantsittart, Adria Arjona, James McArdle

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