Andor, like other, recent Star Wars offerings of the Disney area, is dividing fans once again. Most criticism of the series rests upon its very composition; it’s simply not a hero-centric, shoot-’em-up, lightsaber fan fest. The gritty, nuanced, space-noir thriller series clearly isn’t for everyone. (Perhaps, in some ways, it hits a little too close to home when depicting the oppression of unchecked authority… But that’s a political question for another day.) Whatever fans think of it, the Rogue One prequel series has at least righted another of the biggest wrongs of The Last Jedi in its use of Andy Serkis.
We first “saw” the actor in Star Wars as the enigmatic and mysterious Snoke in The Force Awakens. He seems set to become the franchise’s next, Dark Side villain…. And then The Last Jedi happened. Rian Johnson abandoned the planned arc for the sequel trilogy, and in doing so utterly wasted the talents of Andy Serkis. TLJ relegated Snoke to a background distraction, and never gave Serkis the latitude to truly demonstrate his talents in Star Wars. Andor, in less than fifty minutes, corrected that egregious mistake in spades.
Star Wars: Andor illuminates Andy Serkis
This time, Serkis portrays Kino Loy, Cassian’s prison foreman. Hardnosed and pragmatic, Loy wants to keep things running smoothly in the hopes that he’ll soon earn his freedom. That is, of course, a lie he tells himself, but it’s that hope that keeps him going deep beneath his gruff exterior. In speaking with Vanity Fair, Andy Serkis describes his Andor character as “… a natural leader. But he really just wants to serve his time. He’s got a family. He wants to get out and get back, and assumes that that’s going to happen after his incarceration.“
It’s easy to relate to the character, both in terms of his actions and words. Andor, as it has for Diego Luna as Cassian and for Genevieve O’Reilly (Mon Motha), gives Andy Serkis the chance to dive deep into his character and give the audience something more. He never got that opportunity in The Last Jedi. Now, Serkis tells us, he gets “… to play a character at the opposite end of the spectrum of a highly powerful Supreme Leader. [Kino Loy] is someone who is a real person in this world.” Based on the actor’s description of being on set for “weeks and weeks,” we’re sure to see much more of him in the upcoming episodes.
And Star Wars is better off for it… finally.
Star Wars: Andor airs Wednesdays on Disney+.