'​Andor' Is an Enjoyable but Inessential 'Star Wars' Story Created by Tony Gilroy

Starring Diego Luna, Adria Arjona, Genevieve O'Reilly, Stellan Skarsgård, Kyle Soller, Fiona Shaw, Forest Whitaker
'​Andor' Is an Enjoyable but Inessential 'Star Wars' Story Created by Tony Gilroy
Photo courtesy of Lucasfilm
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Andor is a prequel to 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — which is to say it's a spinoff of a spinoff, and the folks at Star Wars might be stretching the brand a little thin in the pursuit of new content.

But even if Andor feels a little pointless — especially since we already know what ultimately happens to title character Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), as this is set in the five years before the events of Rogue One — it's a nice bit of low-stakes world-building that fleshes out the Star Wars universe in compelling ways.

More than perhaps any Star Wars vehicle yet, Andor offers a window into the obscure lives of the lower classes of the Empire — those who might not come into direct conflict with the characters of the Skywalker Saga, but whose stories give a broader picture of the context for the main story. It's made for devotee fans who care about that sort of thing.

At times, Andor barely feels like sci-fi — particularly during an opening sequence when the title character walks into a bar on a rainy night and ends up in violent conflict with two Imperial officers. Swap out a regular gun instead of a laser blaster, and this could have been a scene from any other crime movie. After he kills the men is self-defence — kinda — Andor ends up on the run, becoming a fugitive whose journey eventually crosses paths with rebel forces.

The pacing is uneven, but effectively so, with at least one tense chase sequence as well as moments of mournful quietness; flashbacks to Andor's childhood don't serve a clear purpose, but they don't take up enough time to really detract from the show either.

The first four episodes available to critics move fairly slowly, but lay out the stakes nicely, establishing Andor as a series that would be fine to skip for anyone experiencing Star Wars burnout, but also easy to enjoy for viewers with an appetite for more stories from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. (Disney)