When Rogue One came out, many members of the audience and the critics started to point out the many references the movie carried from the movie heist genre. There are many fantastic films in the genre; Baby Driver, The Fast and the Furious series, The Town, Drive, The Ocean’s Trilogy, and many more. They all stand out for creating this sense of tension and urgency in the execution of a plan. Andor, the newest Star Wars series on Disney Plus, follows the influence of its source material to start creating as much tension as it can. The result is pretty good.
Episode 4 of Andor is directed by Susanna White, a veteran director of both film and television. The director has participated behind the scenes of many of the most important shows on HBO in the last decade, and she has also gathered experience by directing “Our Kind of Traitor” (2016), a spy-thriller film. White will be directing the following two episodes of Andor as well, so we can imagine that just like the first three episodes of the season, they will also make up for a cool mini-arc.
The episodes really carry the spy-thriller vibes to the next level. Just for that, it makes it the best Star Wars series, and the best Disney Plus show so far when it comes to delivering a story that is not aimed at the general public. It is clear that not many kids will find Andor something they will want to watch. The show is too slow and carries too many apparently superfluous details in its dialogue and plot to make it interesting, not like The Mandalorian, which gives a fun adventure every week.
However, Andor doesn’t need to be aimed at kids. This is a new kind of Star Wars, and it knows it needs to lean on what made Rogue One a successful film. It is also very clear that Rogue One is the best-regarded movie among the new ones made by Disney, so why mess up something that seems to be going very well? The answer is you just don’t. This might be a prequel, and the first three episodes might have felt too stretched out, but episode four brings a bit more sophistication to the show’s narrative, which is what people expect from Star Wars nowadays.
The episode takes Andor to a new planet and the beginning of a new mission for what appears to be, at the moment, an organized attempt at disrupting the Imperial efforts in that sector. We cannot still call this a Rebellion, not yet. For that to happen, this motley crew of robbers will need to be successful in one thing, just one. They need a win, and if they manage to get it, then the fires of the rebellion will feed themselves. It is clear that people are discontent with the empire, but someone will need to give the rebellion the necessary push to take it to the point where we all got to know it for the first time.
To do this, the episode introduces a bunch of new characters, who will definitely be the main characters for this new arc of the season. Characters like Brix, seem to have been left behind along with planet Ferrix, but of those we met in the first episode, only Cassian and Syril Karn remain. Syril makes a small apparition in this episode, but it is clear that his role in the show will continue. His is also the most interesting of paths, as it doesn’t involve anything that we are familiar with. What does a person in his new situation do in the Star Wars universe? We’ll have to wait and see.
The episode also explores the beginnings of the Rebellion at the height of its power in a very successful way. Stellan Skarsgard is just killing it in the role of Luthen, and every word that comes out of the character’s mouth just makes him more interesting. The character is revealed to have many cover stories, but how and why he began to orchestrate such grand efforts against the Empire is still a mystery. There is personal history there, and we will surely find the answer as the season starts to come to a close. It is too soon to reveal something so juicy. Let’s hope it doesn’t take an entire episode to do it.
Episode 4 also displays many incredible vistas and new sets. We finally go back to Coruscant, one of the most famous planets in the franchise, and we are allowed to visit places we have never seen before. Planet Aldhani, another new location for the franchise, also displays some gorgeous vistas that, of course, must have been shot somewhere in the highlands of Ireland or Scotland. It makes the show and the Star Wars universe feel more significant than it has ever been. When in comparison to Obi-Wan Kenobi, Andor really feels like an expensive show.
Episode 4 starts a new arc of three episodes that will surely end by executing a fantastic action sequence during this suicidal heist that the characters are planning. Meanwhile, the episode also keeps building up characters in the foreground, and those characters will surely be the most important ones for the show in the long run. Things are starting to get interesting.