Rolling into the final month of the premiere season of Andor, it’s clear Tony Gilroy has created one of the most unique live-action Star Wars TV shows yet. It shows, not tells. It is unapologetically uninterested in catering to its audience’s predictions, theories, and hopes. It seeks to tell the stories of ordinary people slowly gearing up for a war.
And some days, it feels as though no one is really talking about it.
Outlets like this one are constantly publishing content around it. Star Wars fan podcasts and YouTube channels are discussing it every week. But when you go to social media to hear what others are saying about it … it feels surprisingly quiet compared to how, for example, your Twitter feed might look the night before a new episode of The Mandalorian.
This unexpected shift in “discourse” — or lack thereof — isn’t because people don’t like the show or because no one is watching it. It may actually be because it’s simply not a show that feels the need to bother with hyping up its audience — or giving viewers steam to do that for themselves — between episodes.
Of all the many things Andor truly isn’t interested in doing (or not doing), its lack of week-to-week familiar character guest spots might be one of the most significant.
The show features two highly recognizable Star Wars characters, Cassian Andor and Mon Mothma. We knew from the first trailer that Saw Gerrera would show up at some point. But other than a few easter eggs here and there … the expectation that Character X from Our Other Favorite Star Wars Show will magically manifest on-screen is basically zero.
Let’s be honest: Star Wars TV over the past few years has been good overall. But it has relied heavily — perhaps too heavily — on a seemingly endless stream of “cameo of the week” character appearances. One week it’s Ahsoka, the next it’s Mando — and it’s not even his own show! Who’s that? It’s Cobb Vanth from that book series that came out over five years ago. Krrsantan who? Hey look, it’s Rex and Hera in The Bad Batch! What are they doing here??
There’s nothing ultimately wrong with a shared universe of characters that pop in and out of different shows to keep people interested in following the intertwined web of narratives that is the expanded Star Wars universe. But what it does do is create a weekly expectation that someone we already know is going to show up and steal the show.
This is a major reason you tend to see more “hype” on social media right before new episodes drop. “Is xyz going to show up this week” is something people not only want to know, but also desperately want to talk about.
Not as many people are talking … because not as many people are expecting to see someone from Rebels orThe Clone Wars.
This is not the only reason the tone of discussion among Star Wars fans has shifted with Andor, of course. This show is heavy. It’s a lot to take in, and it can take longer to process events — and there aren’t always big bursts of info or shocking reveals to create post-episode buzz. It’s a different kind of show. It warrants a different kind of collective reaction in the fandom.
That doesn’t make it bad — none of this sets the groundwork for an underwhelming or unsuccessful show. Perhaps we’re just not used to a Star Wars story that doesn’t feel it has to shock or please us to tell its story. It’s so focused on giving us a story that it’s forgotten how much Star Wars fans have come to rely on the promise of cameos and other shots of dopamine to generate viral tweets.
Maybe this is the future. We all watch an episode of Star Wars and just … quietly take it in.
That wouldn’t be so bad, really.
New episodes of Andor stream Wednesdays exclusively on Disney+.
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