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‘Andor’ Reviews and Reactions: Not Everyone in Star Wars Is a Palpatine or Skywalker!

Is the force strong with 'Andor'?

Diego Luna as Andor in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Andor‘ premieres on Disney+ this week, bringing us the latest series set in the Star Wars universe. The prequel series meets Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and follows his journey as a spy for the Rebel Alliance. The series will also focus on the rise of the rebellion and the evolution of its leaders, Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly). Andor has been billed as a gritty espionage thriller, and expectations for the series are high, given the critically acclaimed Rogue One. But what do the critics think of the latest entry into the Star Wars saga? Let’s take a look at the first reviews and reactions to Andor.

While initial reviews praise the series’ gritty and grounded world (as well as its lack of dependence on Skywalkers and Palpatines), critics also pointed out that Andor is slow to start and may bore some fans. Still, many reviewers enjoyed the departure from the original saga, and the show’s focus on smaller players in the rising rebellion.

Caroline Framke, Variety

“Between Luke Hull’s intricate production design, Nicholas Britell’s swelling score, Michael Wilkinson’s costume design and Emma Scott’s hair and makeup, every world Cassian visits feels far more tangible and lived-in than most “Star Wars” sets, which otherwise tend to evoke future Disneyworld rides.”

Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter

“Will it all pay off in rousing fashion, as Rogue One did? Who knows, but through the four episodes sent to critics, Andor has me debating distinctions between “different” and “good” (it’s definitely the former, occasionally the latter); between “interesting” and “entertaining” (it’s usually the former, increasingly more of the latter as it goes along).”

Alan Sepinwall, Rolling Stone

“Like Star Trek: Picard, Andor seems a case of a mostly family-friendly franchise taking on the superficial trappings of more adult storytelling — in addition to the brothel, there are words that Hayden Christensen was never allowed to say — without feeling appreciably more sophisticated in storytelling or theme than what came before. And like PicardAndor quickly gets bogged down in an ongoing plot it doesn’t quite know how to break down from one episode to the next.”

Patrick Cavanaugh,

“Showrunner Tony Gilroy is proving that, more important than recognizable characters or iconography, the best Star Wars stories are the best stories that don’t require relying on familiarity to be a success. He’s taking the story ideas he first started exploring with his screenwriting work on Rogue One and venturing even further down the rabbit hole, putting the engaging story at the forefront of the concept and allowing the story to unfold from there.”

Simon Cardy, IGN

“There’s a heightened sense of maturity to Andor that we haven’t seen regularly from Star Wars. It’s not stuck in the shadow of a singular family tree or poisoned by the overplucked Skywalker fruit that grows on it. Whisper it quietly, but there are even attempts to generate some sexual chemistry on screen at times – something Star Wars, and in a wider sense Disney, has long turned its blushing cheeks away from. That’s not to say that Andor is a strictly adult show by any means, but one that is definitely shooting for more depth than you might expect.”

Ben Travers, IndieWire

“Writer and showrunner Tony Gilroy gets so much right about underdogs and uprisings in his working class vision of George Lucas’ mythical universe, while also investing this rousing fantasy revolution with pointed real-world parallels. There are structural and conceptual issues (some irritating, others unavoidable), but even within its canonical and corporate constraints, “Andor” appears primed to revive the franchise’s rebellious streak — and make it OK for “Star Wars” to take risks again.”

Maggie Lovitt, Collider

“Across the board, Andor feels like a Star Wars series for a more mature audience. Beyond the intense uneasiness of the geopolitical situation and the elevated stakes, it doesn’t shy away from its inclusion of brothels and romantic interludes that make it clear that these characters engage in intimate relationships. And yes, this does deserve to be celebrated, because the franchise has long been seen as rather sexless with its avoidance of passion, kissing, and romantic connections, even when they seem warranted.”

Our own Rachel Leishman reviewed the series here. Stay tuned for all things Andor!

(featured image: Lucasfilm/Disney+)

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Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.