There are two types of Star Wars fans – those that like just about everything and those that detest everything except the original trilogy, The Mandalorian and Rogue One. I’ll admit I was excited to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, until I saw it. I sat through an hour not caring what was happening that when the action scene on Scarif began, I felt a little relieved. Yet, at the same time, we had done this before in Return of the Jedi. So, it really felt like a rip-off like The Force Awakens.
For the most part, I’ve only sat through Rogue One three times with the last being before I wrote this post for a refresher. My ex, who loved Star Wars, fell asleep while watching it the first and second time. Rogue One, for all intents and purposes, was an unneccessary prequel that Disney spent at least a quarter of a billion dollars on to fix a plot hole. And that’s the problem. Rogue One is for the the really anal Star Wars fans.
But the good news was it was over and done. Or so we thought. The success of the first season of The Mandalorian sent Disney into green-lighting tons of Star Wars series. And while I liked The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi (even thought many SW fans didn’t), I was able to look past the problems. I mean, give Disney and Lucasfilm a break. Most of these series were planned during the early days of Covid so Zoom calls, emails and texts probably got something lost in the transactions.
So, when Andor came up, I was willing to give it a chance even though basing a series around Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) is the worst thing done to Star Wars since Greedo shooting first. Andor, the character, was so dull in Rogue One, but I thought this is mostly because Gareth Edwards isn’t an actor’s director. But still, he was written as a dull one-dimensional character. So, centering a 12-episode series around the character is a huge problem. In total, there is about cumulative 582 minutes of the series that is the first part of a two-season series. So, if you deduct the recaps, intros and end credits by 10 minutes on each episode, you still have about 460 minutes of a show. That is at least seven hours and 40 minutes of run time give or take. That is more than the entire run time of a trilogy.
Now, take into account the first three episodes are so eventless, they could have been rolled into one episode, we also have an arc where Andor goes to prison for three episodes that really seem about as dull and boring as the first three. That is save for a performance by Andy Serkis as Kino Loy, who is the inmate supervisor for the ward Andor is in. And all they do is assemble machinery. But Serkis manages to squeeze some depth into what is nothing more than a “Behind Bars” story that has been done before and better.
On the flip side, we do see several scenes of Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) who is a member of the Imperial Senate on Coruscant as she is meeting with people of the Empire while secretly helping the Rebel Alliance. But there’s so many characters and subplots that this movie should’ve been titled something else aside from Andor. Rise of the Rebellion or Birth of the Rebellion might have made better stories. Or something like The Rebel Alliance Rises. Putting Andor as the chief protagonist means most episodes revolve around him even though he seems like a supporting character in the plotlines.
A lot of fans have made an issue on how Disney is allowing the scenes to be filmed on location rather than using the digital background on a soundstage, which is fine, but it doesn’t exactly mean a show is better. Other fans have said this is a Star Wars show for grown-ups, which I take great offense to. Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote Rogue One, also is the creator of this series. And while the Jedi are mostly dead and forgotten by this timeline in the SW universe, it still doesn’t mean that people don’t remember it as it wasn’t more than 20 years prior.
Gilroy seems to be part of the SW fans that hate all the cuteness and characters that have been in previous shows and movies. Yes, the Ewoks weren’t the best, but a lot of people who now detest them loved the little furry things when they were kids. We went from playing with the toys as kids to collecting them in mint condition as adults so it sucks all the joy out of it. Gilroy was a young man at 20 when the first Star Wars came out in theaters. I shudder to think he had turned into a cynical old man at the time. I was the same age when The Phantom Menace was in theaters but I will never forget an older man I sat close to at the theater.
My friends and I had attended a midnight showing in the Atlanta area. We were alltogether in a row and there was this man who sat two seats down on the aisle. He had to be in his mid to late 40s. But seeing his excitement as the movie began and as he cheered reminded me never to lose the innocence of childhood. He may have to had be at work in eight or nine hours to return to adulthood and responsibility, but for a few hours, he is the young man he was in 1977 with his whole life in front of him. And that’s what the beauty of Star Wars has been over the years, the excitement and escapism of the movies and series.
Gilroy and the rest of the cast and crew seem to be saying to all Star Wars fans, “Fuck you and you’re childhood too!” This is a boring series that is mostly about people talking. They talk about what they’re going to do. They talk about what others are going to do or have done. And almost every major character has a monologue or two to deliver, especially Stellan Skarsgard as Luthan Rael, a member of the Rebel Alliance who also poses as an antiques dealer on Coruscant. Did Aaron Sorkin do some uncredited rewrites on the series? Whenever there is some action scenes, they’re over with so fast, you just feel cheated because you were just getting into it. And since it’s a prequel, anytime Andor is in a scene, you know nothing is going to happen to him. That defeats some of the thrills and suspense.
They say Andor got the lease viewership of any of the SW series and I wonder why. No one wants to sit through 40 minutes of a bunch of characters yapping and not doing much. Jesus Christ, The Walking Dead fooled people for over a decade doing just that. I don’t think people paying Disney-Plus’ subscription rates really look foward each week to a bunch of actors in costumes doing nothing. How did Gilroy who penned the Bourne movies that turned Matt Damon into a super badass create something so dull? He wrote Delores Claiborne which is Kathy Bates’ most underrated, underappreciated and most brilliant performance.
Yes, the sets looks great. Yes, the costumes are wonderful. And it’s nice to see a different part of the galaxy that existed beyond the Skywalker Saga. But what the fuck do so many SW fans hate it so much? Rogue One seemed like fanfiction so Andor feels even more like fanfiction. There’s so many characters to keep track of that most are just one dimensional I found myself not even caring or knowing who was who.
Forrest Whitaker pops up briefly in a few episodes as Saw Gerrera to show it has just about a thankless role in the prequel series. Gerrera was a veteran of the Clone Wars but since this series seems cautious on referencing anything else in the SW universe, his role is reduced. A lot of people told me this was a great series, but quite frankly, I didn’t see it. I don’t need a “Star Wars for grownups” especially if they have to insult us like this. There’s a whole lot of “dad porn” about espionage and naval strategies that Tom Hanks had devoted this stage of his career to for me to watch.
This is really just a Star Wars for all the dorks who nitpick every little thing that isn’t up to their specifications. SW fans like Star Trek and MCU fans have gotten so toxic in the last 10-20 years, it’s not even worth it to watch anything. Because if there is anything that is considered too commercial and consumer appealing, they hate it. Andor is a Star Wars for that one misanthropic person we all knew in high school or college who hated all the bands and musicians everyone listened to and hated all the popular movies at the time. They were try to get everyone to listen to the “underground” music bands and watch all the foreign-language art house movies that didn’t have subtitles.
I want more fun and excitement. It can be done that is appealing to viewers of all ages. Saying Andor is for grown-ups reminds me of a story Steven Spielberg said after George Lucas showed the 1977 original to him and fellow filmmakers Brian DePalma and Francis Ford Coppola. Spielberg said DePalma got into it, ripping it apart saying he didn’t understand anything much to Lucas’ chagrin. DePalma wasn’t the target audience. But the target audience of Andor apparently isn’t Star Wars fans.
What do you think? Please comment.