How Andor changes the way we view the original trilogy forever

When Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was released in 2016, it quickly became one of the best-received Star Wars projects of the Disney era. The prequel earned an 84% rating from critics and an 86% audience rating Rotten tomatoes, and it’s become an important part of the overall Star Wars arc. The movie perfectly answered an important question that had plagued fans since 1977: Why was there a bug built into the Death Star? The movie also shocked fans by leading straight in Star Wars: a new hope featuring one of the coolest (and scariest) Darth Vader moments ever brought to screen. It was a prequel that managed to expand on a beloved story while also successfully introducing new characters. Now, thanks to Disney+’s Star Wars: Andorthe prequel movie has its own prequel, and the underdog series has managed to fill the Star Wars universe even more than the movie that inspired it.

It’s hard not to compare Andor to the other Star Wars shows hitting Disney+ this year, but Boba Fett’s book and Obi Wan Kenobi expanded on some of the franchise’s most popular characters while Andor has done something unique by changing the way we watch the original movies. Since the beginning of the series, I’ve seen a lot of tweets commenting on how the Rebellion had so many heroes before Luke Skywalker got to the very end and took all the credit. Of course, these are mostly benign jabs, but it was still a wise decision to use Andor as a way of presenting the rebellion’s victory as a massive group effort. Star Wars may be fiction, but bringing down an empire isn’t something that can realistically be done by a few people on their own. As Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård) said Andor, “I’m burning my decency for someone else’s future. I’m burning my life to make a sunrise that I know I’ll never see. And the ego that started this fight will never see a mirror or an audience or have the light of gratitude.” Hypothetically, there are countless stories Star Wars could tell about people who contributed to Rebellion in one way or another.

Andor clearly isn’t trying to undercut the triumphs of Luke and the rest of the franchise’s original heroes, but exploring characters who fought on different levels adds a rich realism you never expected from a franchise that began with the adventures of bickering robots (we love you Artoo and Threepio, never change). From Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) using her high rank in the Senate to Melshi’s (Duncan Pow) mission to uncover the truth of Narkina 5 Prison, the range of characters who helped take down Palpatine is vast. Star Wars could have ended after the original trilogy and those films would have remained amazing and iconic, but the choice to keep the franchise going has left a lot of room for bigger stories, and while we’re not on the cusp of an anti-fascist, heartbreaking and masterful prequel, it’s very welcome after an onslaught of extreme fan service. As someone who likes to be served, I’ll never knock on the door for nostalgia-fuelled content, but a franchise can’t live on sentimentality alone. Andor has redefined Star Wars in a way that makes everything richer, and the next time I jam to Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes, I’ll be even more thankful for the silly scenes that know about the universe’s grim underbelly.

One of the most powerful moments in the season finale of Andor was the voiceover of Nemik’s (Alex Lawther) manifesto: “The day will come when all these skirmishes and battles, these moments of defiance, will have engulfed the authority of the realm and then there will be one too many. One thing will be the siege. Remember this: try it.” Of course, one of the most famous lines in Star Wars history is Yoda’s “don’t try, do or don’t. There is no attempt”. Nemik’s “attempt” has a weight that doesn’t negate Yoda’s teaching, but rather cracks open the difference between Luke’s fight and Cassian’s. Luke’s birthright and quest to hone his Jedi powers give him an advantage no one in the Rebellion has had before. Yoda knows Luke needs to learn mindfulness to continue his training, but that lesson doesn’t apply to everyone. Fans have been using the quote for years, but in most cases it’s actually not a good rule to follow. When it comes to taking down an empire, and you don’t have any superpowers, all you got is trying.

The characters in it Andor hold out for their lives, and we already know that most of them will not live to see the war won. The show doesn’t detract from the original trilogy in any way, but recontextualizes it in a powerful way that will forever change the way we look at those movies. A hat tip to Tony Gilroy for crafting a series that feels like a heartfelt and worthy Star Wars entry, while also capturing a deeper essence unlike anything that’s come before.

AndorThe first season is now streaming on Disney+.

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