‘Andor’ Episode 1 Review: Diego Luna Comes Back as the Best Han Solo Substitute

Here we are. A new flagship show arrives on Disney Plus. Of course, we are talking about Andor, the latest Star Wars show. This is a review of the first episode of a show that has a lot of responsibility on its back. Not only because it belongs to one of the most important franchises in all cinema, and now television, but also because it is closely related to what many fans consider the best new Star Wars film, Rogue One. Can Andor reach the heights of its source material? Can Star Wars truly be a cinematic universe?

The Book of Boba Fett wasn’t as well received as it should have been. The expectations of having a character like Boba Fett back in the Star Wars Universe and now on the seat of the lead character were too much for a show that didn’t know what to do with the character. Or even what to be as a story. The result was one of the laziest seasons of television ever put on a streaming service, and definitely, the worst of the Star Wars shows so far. The same would end up happening with Obi-Wan Kenobi, a show that was supposed to be a triumphant return but ended up being a boring mess.

This time, Star Wars has decided to go serious, and Tony Gilroy, the lead of the project, has brought everything he knows and has learned in the past decade to create this show. This is without a doubt the most serious and darkest Star Wars show to date. Gilroy was responsible for doing the reshoots in Rogue One, and he is mostly identified as the person who saved that movie from disaster. The question remains, can Gilroy create a great show from scratch? Doing reshoots is very different from conceiving and executing a project all the way through.

Gilroy has an uneven track record that consists of very well-regarded dramas and also some seriously boring failures, like The Bourne Legacy. It is clear that Gilroy is more of a writer than an actual director, and so writing is the thing that he has done the most in this show. This first episode serves more as an introduction to a situation than anything else. The intro to the series is dark, gloomy, and visually it also feels very much like what we saw and loved in Rogue One. However, when it comes to the story, it is very difficult to say where this is going.

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The episode begins by introducing our titular character, Cassian Andor, played by the always fantastic Diego Luna. Luna has been working for so long that it feels really like a true achievement to see him as the leading man of a show as important as this one. The actor doesn’t miss a beat and goes back into the skin of a character that has suffered many losses and doesn’t really know how to keep going. We know Cassian’s final destination, so the show and the writers have to create a journey that is interesting enough to make us watch right up to the end.

So far, we have to say that while the story has great potential, it is going to be hard to review and watch Andor in terms of singular episodes. Episode 1, for example, begins and ends in a way that feels completely anticlimactic. The episode has no theme or arc of its own; it is just one small piece of a bigger story, and so, it makes you wonder. Could Andor be one of those shows that would have been better as a binge-watch? We have to wait and see, but my perception is that Andor could have been better as a movie. Maybe the next couple of episodes will bring something more exciting to the story.

Visually, the show looks fantastic. The press releases and the advertisement campaigns have turned the production of the show into a selling point. Lately, Star Wars’ shows have been using The Volume to shoot entire seasons in it. The Volume is a great tool, but also feels limited when you realize that it becomes very noticeable and makes most environments feel empty. Andor goes the opposite way and goes for full realism by building huge sets and extending the sets using the good old-fashioned green screens. It costs a lot more, but it does look a lot better.

The visual effects so far are also quite solid, and the score by Nicholas Britell fits perfectly with the show’s tone and visuals. It is still very early to make an opinion on the secondary characters. Adria Arjona brings Bix to life, and she seems fine, nothing really amazing, but Kyle Soller as Syril seems like the standout and also a character that could generate some of the best storylines in this show.

SCORE: 7/10

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.