Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Andor. Photograph: Lucasfilm Ltd
With no Jedi or Skywalkers to be seen, this politically charged, slow-burn thriller adds human stakes and a real sense of the fascism behind Star Wars’s endless civil war
- Warning: this article contains spoilers up to episode 10
Of all the made-for-streaming Star Wars and Marvel spin-offs to shuffle off the Disney+ production line, few have arrived with less anticipation and lower stakes than Andor. A prequel to a prequel, the series explores the origins of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), a Rebel Alliance captain introduced in the 2016 wartime heist film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Rogue One was set immediately before George Lucas’s original Star Wars films and ended quite decisively when – very old spoiler alert – Andor and his accomplices died in a bittersweet blaze of glory while stealing the plans to the Death Star.
When Rogue One became mired in reshoots, Lucasfilm tapped the Oscar-nominated writer-director Tony Gilroy, of Michael Clayton and the Bourne franchise fame, to salvage it. Gilroy was reportedly the one to point out that the most obvious and satisfying way to end the picture was by killing everyone. With Gilroy hired as the showrunner on Andor, that kind of bleak yet bold approach to storytelling sets the tone of the show: no one is safe and no sacrifice is too great.