Recently, I rewatched the Book of Boba Fett for the second time at the same time I was also going through Andor week to week. It was an interesting experience seeing two such drastically different shows side by side both taking place in the same universe while telling completely different kinds of stories. Still, they were both very Star Wars in their own way.
Which led to me seeing a lot of discussions over the last few weeks on social media about comparing the shows together. And look, I have no problem with people ranking shows. We each have our personal favorites. For example, I’m a massive fan of animation. It’s my favorite medium and it’s what finally hooked me into the Star Wars fandom. Most of my rankings tend to have the animated shows at the top, and the Clone Wars movie is my second favorite Star Wars movie (yeah, I hear you. Judge me all you want. I don’t care). But I completely understand that this isn’t true for other people. It’s simply my taste.
What does bother me is the call for all shows from here on out to be like Andor, which is just not at all a viable business model. Also, it hasn’t been great to see the takes of using Andor to bash other series. I’m not going to say that Andor isn’t good. It’s phenomenal. It completely blew my expectations out of the water in every way. But every show and movie coming out of Star Wars shouldn’t be an Andor. They can take lessons from it like, for example, how easy it was for Tony Gilroy to include queer characters. Pardon me as I stare deadpan at Dave Filoni. But every single show shouldn’t be exactly like Andor.
I am a firm believer that Star Wars is for everyone, but not all Star Wars is for everyone and that’s okay.
From a business perspective, Star Wars needs a wide variety of shows to survive in the long run if they want to keep churning out series and movies under the Disney umbrella. It’s why we need shows geared toward younger viewers like Star Wars Resistance and the upcoming Young Jedi Adventures. Many on social media had shared their children struggled with Andor with its dialogue-heavy story and lack of pew pews and lightsabers. This is okay. Children weren’t the target demographic for Andor. It’s a show they can grow up into to enjoy when they’re older. This is the same for adults with animation. I’m going to watch Young Jedi Adventures because I love the High Republic era and animation. But I’m not going to fault an adult if they don’t want to watch a preschool show despite the power Bluey has over the masses.
But also from a story perspective, Star Wars is so massive. There can’t be a single show that encompasses all of what this world is trying to say. For example, the Jedi usually play in the mysticism of the galaxy. They represent hope in a way that’s almost religious, something we’ve seen in series like Obi-Wan Kenobi. They’re essentially magical beings that are the more fantastical elements of the franchise. Andor is a very real-world series, showcasing our real-world issues with things like how fascism holds power, police brutality, profiling, and more. While there are plausible theories that Luthen Rael is a Jedi in hiding, having a Jedi bust in with the Force and a lightsaber changes the function of the series. Tony Gilroy could pull it off, but introducing a Jedi into Andor would cause a fundamental paradigm shift with Andor’s real-world narrative that would have to be addressed in its text.
How a series functions is important for the kind of story that is being told. That is why I try not to compare the kind of story being told between shows. This doesn’t mean I don’t criticize them for execution. I’ll be the first to say that Star Wars Resistance isn’t a perfect show. It’s far from it. How the shows function, though, is what I struggle to criticize and I never like comparing that aspect to something like Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels. Clone Wars is telling the narrative of the war between Episodes II and III against the backdrop of Ahsoka’s coming of age. Rebels tells the story of the formation of the Rebellion. Star Wars Resistance details how fascism invades during peacetime. Those are three very different functions of their narratives. Criticize execution all you want, but I find it hard to compare their functions to each other because those are all very different things.
I often like to compare Star Wars properties to fruit. Each one is a different kind of fruit that functions in a different way for each person. Andor might be an apple, The Mandalorian might be a banana, Star Wars Resistance might be a kiwi, and so on and so forth. Each fruit functions in a different way from the other but at the end of the day, it’s still all fruit. When I make my chicken salad, I put apples and grapes into it. I would never put bananas or kiwis in a chicken salad, but I would put them in a parfait. It depends on what I want to use the fruit for. I might want apple cider one day which I would never put pineapple into (though pineapple cider sounds amazing). The different functions of the food don’t make them any less fruit. They’re simply different from each other, but it’s all still fruit at the end of the day.
Star Wars is like this too. Book of Boba Fett is a very different show from Andor. It doesn’t make it any less Star Wars though. It’s simply a different kind of Star Wars telling a different kind of story. I won’t say that Book of Boba Fett is perfect. It’s not. I still struggle with a lot of the choices like killing the Tuskens or the lack of character development with characters like Fennec Shand and the Mods. I’ll never be okay with the killing of Garsa Fwip. Still, it’s the pulpy side of Star Wars with the bounty hunters, tons of live-action aliens, pew pews, a Darksaber, and even a rancor vs mecha battle. It’s popcorn Star Wars which is made more for the masses than something more niche like Andor. It’s just as important in its own way. Book of Boba Fett is its own kind of fruit.
And when you mix all the fruit together, you get the beautiful salad that is Star Wars.
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