Here’s something I’m pretty sure that nobody at Disney wants you to hear: Andor is really good if you don’t like Star Wars! It’s true! If you don’t like Star Wars, then you might actually love the recent Disney+ series, Andor.
Now, that’s not to say that if you actually like Star Wars that you won’t like Andor (even though I’ve actually heard a number of Star Wars fans say that they don’t like the show because they don’t think it feels like Star Wars, which I’ll get into later), but, the fact of the matter is that I, who could be called a lax Star Wars fan at best, absolutely ADORE Andor. And, I think you will, too, especially if you have no interest whatsoever in Star Warsy stuff like lightsabers and finger lightning.
Here’s the thing, Andor takes place before what I would consider my favorite Star Wars movie, Rogue One, so it tonally commits to the vibe of that film, which takes a more “realistic” approach to the franchise. It’s also a lot slower-paced, and not focused on merchandising up the wazoo like some other show with a cute baby (you know what show I’m taking aim at). Anyway, here are five other reasons why I think you might love this series if you’re a non-Star Wars fan.
It Doesn't Rely On The Force Or The Jedi To Tell Its Story
I once wrote an article arguing that Star Wars is for children, and I stand behind that. Star Wars is for kids. And that’s okay! I even wrote about why parents should start with The Phantom Menace, which is probably the most kid-geared Star Wars movie of them all, when introducing their kids to the saga. The first movie, with its space knights swinging their space swords, and using their space magic is really bright, colorful, and COOL, and it’s 100% geared toward children. Luke Skywalker might as well be King Arthur pulling the sword out of the stone, because Star Wars, at its heart, has always been a fairy tale set in space.
But, then you have Rogue One, which is not a hard-R, but I would argue is also not really aimed at children, either. There is mention of the force, but no real use of it to speak of (well, not until that awesome Darth Vader scene toward the end anyway), and it’s a story about real war, told from the perspective of the soldiers who don’t normally get credit.
Andor is even more of that. In fact, so far, there’s no force, no sign of the Jedi, and not even a single Mandalorian to be seen. I actually sort of forget that the show is even set in the Star Wars universe until I see Stormtroopers walking about, or TIE Fighters zooming by. Honestly, I only think those are in the show so that the fans don’t complain that it’s not Star Wars enough. At its heart, this is just a really great sci-fi show, with no force or Jedi present to advance the storyline, at least yet, anyway.
The Acting Is Top Notch
And man, oh, man. The acting on this show is so good! Let’s be honest. Star Wars, for a number of years, has not been known for its acting. Sure, people seemed to have warmed up to Hayden Christensen now, but back when the prequels were coming out, a lot of people bemoaned that he couldn’t act (it was mostly because he didn’t have the best script to work with). The sequels, which I actually think fans will one day love, have also not had the best reputation when it comes to the performances, with phenomenal actors like Adam Driver and Oscar Isaac delivering only decent work, at best.
But, Andor doesn’t have that problem, as everybody is excellent. Diego Luna plays stoic, but heartfelt impeccably, Denise Gough plays the calculated Imperial lieutenant, Dedra Meero, with steel and grit, and Stellan Skarsgard plays a cunning arts dealer who’s also…well, I’ll leave it a secret. What I’m trying to say is that ALL of the acting on this show is superb, and I think non-Star Wars fans might get invested just from the performances alone.
So Is The Writing
You know what? I think the writing itself is the main star here, and probably the reason why the acting in Andor is so top-notch in the first place. Remember when I brought up Christensen and Isaac in the last section? Well, it’s pretty hard to give a brilliant performance when you have lines like, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse, and rough, and irritating, and it gets everywhere,” or, “Somehow, Palpatine returned.”
But, that’s just dialogue. The plots haven’t always been the best either, most notably in the prequels and the sequels. That said, Andor has been an absolute pleasure to watch, with the plots taking their time and having phenomenal pay-offs, most notably in Episode 6, “The Eye.”
I think this is because, so far at least, the show has been having three-episode story arcs, with the third episode giving the pay off for the storylines. This narrative structure creates an excellent build up that, as of now, has been very satisfying. Plus, with a total of 12 episodes for the first season, I hope it continues to be this way. It keeps the show compelling throughout.
It Is Only Slightly Connected To The Main Story From The Movies
Here’s a big one for non-Star Wars fans: It’s only slightly connected to the main stories from the movies. Rogue One was like this, too, but it all ended with a lead-up to Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope. That’s why you had characters like Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and Grand Moff Tarkin in it.
Andor isn’t like that, though. If you saw Rogue One, you know what it's leading up to, since there are hints all throughout, but honestly, you don’t have to have seen a single Star Wars movie to enjoy it.
In fact, unlike The Mandalorian, or The Book of Boba Fett, which sometimes felt like a greatest hits of the franchise with characters like the Jawas and the Hutts making guest appearances, this show seems like it’s making a conscious decision to avoid all of that, which might be why some fans think it doesn’t feel like Star Wars. It’s a lot more about espionage and the bureaucratic side of things than anything involving magic or wonder, which is why I think non-Star Wars fans might actually enjoy it. I certainly do, at least.
It Is A Great Gateway To Actually Get Into Star Wars
Lastly, as much as I’m not really into Star Wars (I’m much more into The Avengers than Star Wars), I’ve still seen all of the movies and TV shows. That said, if I started watching as an adult, rather than as a child, then I would likely be turned off by it since Star Wars is a bit childish for my taste.
That said, I think Andor is a great gateway because it’s a lot more grounded. The emotions take center stage, and it’s not all about the cool special effects and the tried and true “the one” storylines. Instead, it's a lot more relatable, from an adult perspective, and it also slips in a bit of Star Wars here and there, which is just enough to garner some interest. Honestly, for somebody who’s never seen Star Wars (rare, but it happens), I would recommend Andor and Rogue One first, and then the original trilogy. It just works so well that way.
What do you think about Andor? Have you watched it yet? For more news on the show, make sure to swing by here often!
Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.
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