Andor premiere review: A strong start for Rogue One prequel series

Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Andor episodes 1 to 3 reveal Cassian’s origin, the central conflict and are a strong start for Rogue One prequel series

There are two main storylines unfolding in the first three episodes of Andor eluding to the beginning of a revolution that could plant the seeds of rebellion. There’s an origin story unfolding (not unlike the flashbacks in the first three episodes of The Book of Boba Fett) revealing that Diego Luna’s Cassian grew up on a planet whose people had not yet developed space travel.

There’s also the reminder, in lieu of his heroics in Rogue One, that Cassian is a ruthless spy who is on the run for stealing a powerful asset from the Empire.

Andor Episode 1 review: Cassian’s Spy Games

Andor’s saga is thus set up with a lead character having just stolen something valuable to the Empire, which parallels how his story ends in Rogue One ahead of the original Star Wars (which states it in the crawl). This series opens on a mining colony planet Morlana One which is controlled by the Preox-Morlana corporation.  The intro contains a heavy homage to old spaghetti westerns with Cassian entering a seedy club while looking for his sister and getting into a scuffle with local law enforcement.

Several fresh locations are introduced in this series, which is in line with Star Wars in general but also the bouncing around of planets and timelines that were introduced in Rogue One as well.  Cassian’s fight with two Pre-Mor troopers ends with him killing them both, which is also behavior that would seem consistent with where we find his character in the first live-action Star Wars story (outside of the Skywalker saga) as well.

On the run, Andor finds himself returning to his home on Ferrix (a planet in the Free Trade sector of the Morlani system), where he lives with a woman named Maarva (played by Fiona Shaw) and his droid nicknamed ‘Bee’ (who is introduced as a space dog is peeing on them as if they were a fire hydrant).

Cassian establishes an alibi with his friend who works as a miner for Preox-Morlana when he was really busy investigating his sister’s whereabouts.  Meanwhile, Deputy Inspector Syril Karn hears from his Chief Hynes that the troopers’ deaths will be framed as an accident to minimize crime rates reported to the Imperial Regional Command review, hinting that like most factions throughout the galaxy, they are indeed under the Empire’s cruel thumb.

Cassian is from the planet Kenari, where its people live off the land and were far from developing intergalactic space travel. He and his sister along with their entire settlement witness a spaceship fall from the sky and crash land on their planet.  Young Cassian joins a band of Kenari warriors who set off to investigate the crash site.

The first episode establishes the origin of Cassian Andor (a.k.a. Kassa), and shows the ruthless spy that he has become as of five years before the Battle of Yavin (five BBY or five years prior to Star Wars). There is the spark of a revolution brewing among the people controlled by Preox-Morlana.  It also reveals that Cassian had ambitions even at a young age when living with his sister on Kenari.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Andor Episode 2 review: Found Family

While young Cassian is with the search party, they discover a mining dig site is being established on their planet.  When the warriors eventually reach the crashed ship, their leader is shot down by a surviving officer.  Cassian’s hatred for authority and oppression begins to swell.

Andor goes to his friend Bix (Adria Arjona) for help, but a jealous Timm (James McArdle) reports him to Preox-Morlana. Bix makes good on her promise to link a buyer, which sends one Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) en route to Ferrix to meet with Cassian.  Cassian arranges for transportation off-planet with the intention of leaving right after the deal with Luthen.

Meanwhile, Syril Karn is prepping Sergeant Kostek (Alex Ferns) and his men for an investigation on Ferrix, where they plan on apprehending Cassian.  There is reference to an imperial mining disaster on Kenari where everyone died – which could explain why Maarva is so insistent on keeping their past a secret.  Luthen is on board a ship, and another passenger tells him of Ferrix ‘if you can’t find it here, it’s not worth finding’.

Episode 2 does a good job of establishing the people Cassian cares about in the present day of this series and dives deeper into his found family on Ferrix.  The ongoing flashback of his life on Kenari is revealing that his pain from the past is what drives his ambition for rising up and revolting against his oppressors.  The other side of corporations feeling the pressure from the all-powerful Empire is explored as well.

(L-R): Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
(L-R): Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

Andor Episode 3 review: It’s a Done Deal

While Luthen meets up with Bix, and Cassian secures his departure, the Pre-Mor troopers get ready to raid their settlement on Ferrix.  Maarva is interrogated by Pre-Mor enforcers while Luthen and Cassian meet to sell the contraband.  While reminiscent of Darth Vader’s chest piece, Andor’s box is revealed to be an untraceable Starpath unit with vector crystals and seal still in tact which can track imperial coordinates for nine radial parsecs.

Young Cassian returns to the mining site intent on destroying equipment out of rage when a young Maarva stumbles upon him – revealing that she is evidently an adoptive mother figure. The twist that it is a Republic ship that crashed (and not Imperial given the timing) is an interesting look at how many separatist colonies may have felt before the Empire came along.  By the end of the episode, Andor is seen accompanying Maarva on her ship along with the droid ‘Bee’ and her shipmate.

The Pre-Mor goons manage to trace Cassian’s steps when he is heard trying to radio Bee.  They head out for Andor’s meeting spot while leaving a couple of troops behind.  Just as the sound of the rattling steel serves as intimidation tactics for the revolutionaries within the mining colony, Maarva’s manipulation attempts on the Pre-Mor officers have a similar mental warfare effect.  It only takes one curious officer to take her bait for her strategy to prove successful.

There is a battle sequence between Andor/Luthen and the first troopers on the scene.  Once it is clear that they are in trouble, an officer takes off to try and radio for help but his ship is rigged to a heavy piece of debris and he crashes before he can get away.  Cassian and Luthen escape on a speeder and set off a bomb which takes out a bunch of Syril’s troops.  Bix survives and is carried off by sympathizers, however, Timm was killed in action coming to Bix’ aid.

Thoughts on Andor so far

Three episodes of this Andor series have proven to be a dark depiction of the galaxy before hope is unlocked during the events of Rogue One, which ultimately lead to the original Star Wars (which is literally titled A New Hope).

There is a spark of revolution and rebellion that will seemingly unfold as we move closer to The Battle of Yavin. The multi-faceted story established by the origin of young Cassian and his connection to Maarva and a mysterious event that happened on his home world of Kenari is keeping up intrigue in this spy-thriller set in a galaxy far, far away.

Cassian Andor and the events which lead him to become the hero that we know him to be are shaping up to be one of the strongest outings in the live-action Star Wars series on Disney Plus, and it is exciting to see where the rest of the show will take its audience.

New episodes of Andor will release weekly on Disney+

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