Diego Luna in Disney+’s ‘Rogue One’ Origin Story – The Hollywood Reporter
I know people who think A thug is the best movie ever made in the star wars universe, and I also know people who think it’s the worst. While my own opinion doesn’t go to any extremes, it’s a polarization that points to something undeniable: in a franchise where manufactured uniformity has often been the ideal, A thug is an outlier, the only film whose tone, style and characterization are totally different.
Since this is a prequel to A thugthe new drama series from Disney+ Andor does not have quite the same aberrant status. But just like A thug was an invigorating palate cleanser drawn from the big-screen stories of Jedis and Skywalkers, Andor feels in every way its own creature after the varyingly successful Disney+ fan service exercises that have been The Mandalorian, Boba Fett’s Book and Obi Wan Kenobi. It may be the first star wars a project that critics have always needed to call “slow” and certainly the first that has to come with the caveat: “The first two episodes will likely bore young viewers to tears.” But at the same time, I appreciated his efforts to create a fully grounded and mostly ground-level storytelling in this world.
A slower-than-expected glimpse into economic desperation in the “Star Wars” universe.
Will it all pay off in a catchy way, like A thug did? Who knows, but through the four episodes sent to critics, Andor makes me debate the distinctions between “different” and “good” (it’s certainly the first, sometimes the second); between “interesting” and “entertaining” (it’s usually the first, more and more the second as you go along).
Created by Tony Gilroy and directed in the first episodes by Toby Haynes then Susanna White, Andor starts five years ago A thug and reintroduces us to Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor on Morgana One, a rainy planet under corporate control. After a failed attempt to find his sister at a fancy brothel, Cassian has an unfortunate encounter with two glorified mall cops, but through quick thinking he escapes to his home on the mining planet of Ferrix.
At this point, Cassian is more of an economically desperate scavenger than the arrogant mercenary we met at A thug. But he’s got a piece of stolen Imperial tech that he thinks could make him big bucks if his buddy Bix (Adria Arjona) could just put him in touch with the right buyer, who may or may not be Stellan Skarsgard’s Luthen Real. .
Meanwhile, what happened on Morgana One catches the attention of Kyle Soller’s Syril, who is part of an Imperial security team seeking to take over the galaxy and one of those figureheads. irritable man-child authority who reliably rise to power in this sphere. Syril goes after Cassian, who must flee his past – his childhood on a doomed planet is explored in flashbacks like some really rudimentary character development – or towards his fate.
This description, which spoils nothing and tells you nothing likely to make you watch Andor, includes details extending to the third episode. Disney+ wisely decides to launch the series with these first three episodes, because the level of annoyance if the show went one at a time would have been epic.
The first two episodes are generally amorphous, convincing neither as episodic television nor as a 74-minute film. After the slick preamble, they’re basically actionless and I really don’t think they do much to make Cassian more interesting as a character. That’s a lot of legwork to make us realize that Cassian is in debt and that he and law enforcement don’t get along well, but I think similar points could have been made much more effectively.
But I didn’t hate the first two episodes, because they’re as close to a Ken Loach as you can get. star wars film. My favorite part of Obi Wan Kenobi was the first half of the first episode, in which our protagonist mostly went to work, struggled through shifts at a soul-sucking job, and came home to eat a lackluster dinner alone. Talk about relatable! Even that, however, had the relative comfort of its Tatooine settings, jawas, and various adorable background CG creatures.
Before this series takes place on the fans Star Wars Muppet Babies adventures, it was briefly about how much it sucks to be an ordinary blue-collar worker in this universe, with no access to the Force and no hope of upward mobility.
The first two episodes of Andor are this and then some. Cassian is a sad and desperate character and Ferrix is a sad and desperate planet. Instead of cute creatures and anthropomorphized robots, it’s all junkyards, warehouses, and industrial pollution. Even the bots all seem to be poorly refurbished and several system upgrades are overdue.
The planet is already under the thumb of corporate interests and authority, and knowing what we know of what’s to come as the Empire takes over, the outlook is only bleak. We see in small glimpses how these troubled people find outlets, whether it’s Cassian and his use of the black market or even sex. Sure, it’s Disney+-level sex — Luna and Arjona are smoldering actors even in jumpsuits — but Andor features a red-light district, the aforementioned brothel, and even the first booty call I remember in the star wars universe. There’s no nudity or thrusting, but I appreciated the implication that in such a dreary context, people would be just as likely to turn to fuck or revolution.
The gap between haves and have-nots – see why I warned you it was going to bore the Baby Yoda generation to tears? – is exemplified further by the series’ arrival on the opulent capital planet of Coruscant in the fourth episode, with exquisite contrasts drawn by production designer Luke Hull.
At this point, Cassian has finally gone in the direction of the event that will actually be the main plot of the season, an opportunity that hinges on our belief that he has a very high-level assortment of skills, that that these first two episodes fail to illustrate. whatever sort of. A thugThe character’s treatment of the character was mostly in contrast to Han Solo’s debut as the evil rapscals. With additional character building time, the first two episodes of Andor set up a simple origin, but they fail to give Luna something new and noticeable to play or Cassian any appealing undertones.
Stuck in character gloom, Luna is constantly overshadowed by other actors, including Fiona Shaw as a woman from Cassian’s past, and then Skarsgard, whose arrival marks an easily recognizable point at which Andor finally starts to get fun for an hour. This is followed by a fourth episode which is mostly made up of beautiful scenic backdrops and new characters introducing themselves to each other.
Soller (Broadway) The legacy) easily gives my favorite performance in those first two episodes, but since he’s playing a character who chooses between weakness and evil, I expect a lot of instinctive “He sucks, I hate him” responses. Kathryn Hunter appears for two seconds as Syril’s mother and her mere presence – watch Joel Coen Macbeth’s Tragedy if you haven’t already – filled me with both excitement and dread, because if ever an actor was made to be a star wars breakout is Hunter, a walking special effect in a series that’s incredibly light (or subtle) when it comes to its effects.
Thus, after four episodes of Andorit leaves me most invested in the villain, curious how they’ll use Hunter, and a little puzzled as to why Gilroy and his writers don’t seem to know what medium they’re telling this story in. But if it sounds negative, at the same time I’m more curious to see what unseen corners of the galaxy Andor brings viewers to what I’ve never been through complacency – “Hey, remember Jabba? What if there were two Hutts? or “Remember Princess Leia, what if she was a little girl?” — from the most recent couple of Disney+ series.
Andor does not instantly provide the thrills I expect from a star wars show, but it’s different and that may turn out to be the best thing about it.