There is one, big aspect of Andor that saddens me, and it has nothing to do with the show. Rather, it’s some Star Wars fans’ reaction to it. Thus far, after eight episodes, the Rogue One prequel series has gotten better and better. Excellent writing, compelling character development, and Empire world-building are only several aspects of the series that make it worthwhile. Diego Luna’s acting, especially in the most recent episode “Narkina 5,” bring even more depth to Cassian Andor. But… so far, there haven’t been a lot of “pew pews” or explosions, and there certainly haven’t been any lightsabers. This is a drama series, showing a completely different side of Star Wars we’ve not seen before. Apparently that’s still not good enough for some people.
That’s too bad, because “Narkina 5” was the best entry of Star Wars: Andor yet. The episode deftly weaved together multiple storylines, doing so in a way that paid each the attention and detail required and deserved. The expressions on Cassian’s face (perfectly played by Diego Luna) told more of his shock, horror, and dismay at his situation than any amount of dialogue could. Likewise, we get to witness Mon Mothma’s downward spiral into isolation in real time. Again, superb acting, this time from Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma, steals the show. The stories and main characters almost make you forget about the well-placed cameos of the episode. Those were just icing on the cake.
Star Wars: Andor – better with each episode
Episode 8 also brought us three cameos from Star Wars actors and characters past. This was no simple fan service, however. Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera wasn’t a surprise, admittedly, Notwithstanding, it was intriguing to see his interaction with Luthen Rael. The encounter provided us a little more insight into Gerrera’s splintering from the rest of the rebel factions, and Saw’s slip into extremism. Better than that, though, was seeing Andy Serkis in Andor, back in Star Wars in an unexpected manner.
This time around Serkis appears in his own right, not as the voice of Snoke as in the sequels. His character of Kino Loy, Cassian’s prison foreman, again proves that there’s so much more to Serkis than motion-capture. How Loy will factor in Cassian’s inevitable escape will be interesting. Better still, we learn that Narkina-5 is where Andor meets his eventual right hand in Rogue One, Ruescott Melshi. At this point, the would-be battle-hardened sergeant is but a broken man, toiling in an Empire prison. We can’t wait to see how his relationship with Cassian grows.
There is so much to unpack in this series, and for many like me it’s like working your way through a full, seven-course dinner. Each part is delicious to devour, yet you still anxiously await what’s to follow. If fans can’t appreciate what Tony Gilroy has done with this series, that’s a shame, because they’re missing out on an incredible meal.