Andor, the Star Wars Disney+ show centered around Cassian Andor, has become quite the delightful surprise. When it was first announced, fans were understandably confused. This character has only appeared in one Star Wars movie and he wasn’t even the main protagonist. In fact, he was hardly a protagonist at all. He was more of an anti-hero, but in a way, that actually made him more interesting. In his very fist scene in Rogue One, he showed us that he was one of the guys from the Rebel Alliance who was willing to do the dirty work others were probably not willing to do.
In the original trilogy, the rebels were seen as the heroic freedom fighters desperately trying to end the tyranny of the Imperial Empire. Fans were used to seeing them fight the good fight, but we never really got to see them do the dirty work behind the scenes. Seeing the Cassian Andor character work as one of their covert operatives was the first time we actually got to witness that. This showed us a different side of the Rebel Alliance, one that somewhat diminished their heroic image. However, their fight against the Empire was still a war and in a war, both sides get their hands dirty. For the Rebel Alliance, they needed operatives like Cassian Andor to eliminate loose ends and cover their tracks.
However, when all was said and done, in the end, Cassian Andor died a hero. It is important to note that this does not take away his years of being a sort-of black ops operative for the Rebels. That is what made the concept of the Disney+ series so intriguing. Our main protagonist for the show wouldn’t be a selfless Jedi or a reluctant bounty hunter. In this case, the main protagonist for this series was fighting for his own self interest. And for most of the series, he is doing exactly that.
Cassian Andor is Not Your Typical Hero
If you are keeping up with the Andor series, you’ll know by now that he isn’t as devoted to the Rebel Alliance like he was in Rogue One. Fans will eventually see his devotion grow in future seasons, but that’s actually not even the most interesting aspect of the show. First and foremost, what separates the Andor series from other Star Wars shows is that it’s not your average good versus evil story. That was typically the basis for the early Star Wars stories, but now, the franchise is diving into different areas. This is not a Star Wars show about the Jedi or the Sith. Heck, it’s not even about smugglers and bounty hunters. This is a political thriller series set in the Star Wars universe, the first of its kind.
Espionage is Just as Thrilling as Jedi Battles
What the Andor series does best is thriving on the espionage aspect that worked so well for other political thriller shows. Not only do we see Andor’s story and how he got roped into the Rebellion, but we actually get to witness a closer look at Mon Mothma’s part in the Rebellion. As a Galactic Senator, she attempts to use her influence to openly criticize the Empire, but behind the scenes, she is aware that assisting the Rebellion is more effective. Aside from her cousin, she receives no support from her family or her fellow Senators as they are content with Imperial rule.
A Slate of Intriguing New Characters
Mon Mothma is a familiar character, but the series also introduces some interesting new characters. Stellan Skarsgard’s character, Luthen Rael, discreetly works with the Rebellion and sets Andor up for his first mission. To the public, he works as antiques dealer on Coruscant but secretly collaborates with Mon Mothma. This is just a portion of that political thriller aspect we get from the series. Aside from that, we get a closer look at the regular civilian life of the people of the galaxy.
A good example of this is Adria Arjona’s character, Bix Caleen. She is a mechanic and black market dealer who was also a close childhood friend of Andor’s. When we first see her, she’s just going to work and having a relationship with her co-worker. We actually get to see that in the first few episodes of Andor. Just regular citizens doing their jobs and living normal lives. In fact, we get to see that on the side of the Empire too, making the series feel grown up and realistic in its storytelling choices.
Andor Adds Gritty Realness to the Science Fiction Lore
The Andor series shows us how the Imperial Security Bureau (or ISB) is structured and how their operatives work. As the Empire’s own “CIA” so to speak, they would be the perfect rivals for an operative like Andor. We’ve seen the regular army and the more elite soldiers of the Empire, so it’s interesting to see a different branch that is vital to them. Even the man obsessed with searching for Andor, Syril Karn, is no Sith Lord or bounty hunter, but a regular human male working for a security service. The series doesn’t need the usual lore or character types we typically see in Star Wars movies and shows to tell an enriching story. Andor focuses on the things we never really saw enough in the universe and now we can.
This is what made the series such a surprise and probably the best Star Wars show since The Mandalorian. We see the brutality and the corruption of the Empire from a better perspective and we even have more regular people take the center stage. We fans should take this as a sign that Star Wars is beginning to see the benefit in telling different stories separate from the Jedi and the Sith.
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