a man hiding against a wall, with soldiers marching in the distance
Courtesy Lucasfilm Ltd., Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution

In many ways, the new Star Wars series Andor follows the well-worn blueprint of the franchise: a scrappy main character with a childhood trauma, a planet-hopping quest, and a cute sidekick (in this case the stuttering droid B2EMO, or “Bee,” voiced by Dave Chapman). But the Lucasfilm spy thriller, filmed over two 12-episode seasons, veers off into more interesting territory. A prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the Disney+ series follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as he becomes involved in the political machinations behind the birth of the rebel alliance in the five years leading up to Rogue One, which (if you recall) is itself a prequel to Star Wars IV: A New Hope. The first four episodes have the sci-fi feel of Blade Runner—dark, dirty, and gritty, taking time to build out Andor’s world and various supporting characters, but often feeling more like a corporate workplace drama than an espionage show. Flashbacks to Andor’s childhood seem unnecessarily added, as if someone thought an origin of an origin of an origin of Star Wars was a good idea. How far back with origins do we need to go?! What about Andor’s great-grandparents’ second droid? Once Stellan Skarsgård’s Luthen Rael shows up to whisk him off world, and Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) returns in the fourth episode, the show feels like it’s about to find its legs, hinting at the political intrigue and backroom dealings that are to come. TV-14, 40-minute episodes

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