Warning! SPOILERS for Andor.Andor has released its first three episodes, and episode 3, on its own, is already blowing both Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett well out of the water. Andor has only just started, so there’s no way of knowing if the show will be able to maintain consistent quality for the rest of its run. That being said, what Andor has achieved so far is already doing a great job at avoiding plenty of the issues that plagued the preceding Star Wars shows.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Andor is a prequel series to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story that’s set to chronicle Cassian Andor’s journey with the Rebel Alliance all the way up to 2016's Rogue One. Episode 3 saw Cassian team up with Luthen Rael of the Rebel Alliance to escape from the Pre-Mor Authority officers attacking Ferrix to find Cassian. Between the action, the score, and the character writing, the episode does an excellent job at closing out the three-episode premiere and setting up the conflict for the rest of the season.
Related: Andor Episode 3 Ending Explained (In Detail)
Not only did Andor episode 3 succeed at setting up the conflict for the rest of the season, but it also managed to blow both Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett clean out of the water in terms of crafting its own identity. While Obi-Wan and Disney's Boba Fett were both met with positive reception early in their runs, they both became increasingly divisive as they continued, mainly due to a noticeable decline in their visuals, characters, and overall stories. Thus far, Andor has managed to avoid a lot of the problems that plagued those two shows, with episode 3 perfectly encapsulating its strongest points.
Andor Feels Like Star Wars, Without Obi-Wan & Boba Fett’s Fan Service Issues
One of Andor’s biggest selling points so far is undoubtedly how it’s able to feel like Star Wars without overindulging on fan-service, as Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett did. Both Obi-Wan and Boba Fett featured many references to other Star Wars stories, whether they be mainstream like the movies or TV shows or more obscure like the comics or Star Wars Legends material. While this was likely done to flesh out the current canon, this also fell into the bad habit of getting so wrapped up in fan-service that these references would take priority over their stories. Obi-Wan was focused largely on references to Star Wars prequel trilogy, Boba Fett was focused largely on Tatooine and continuing where The Mandalorian left off, and both efforts got to the point that they were hard to enjoy without having a wider knowledge of Star Wars canon—both old and new.
Excessive fan-service has been a big problem for Star Wars shows of the past few years, but Andor has avoided that issue from being somewhat disconnected from the larger Star Wars mythos. While other shows would have a distracting amount of Star Wars cameos and references, there are also little to no references to characters or stories from other parts of the franchise, not even to the Jedi or the Force, and all the worlds that have been introduced so far are original to the show. The show does involve the conflict between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, but it’s used mainly as a vehicle for the wholly original story of Cassian’s journey. Even with all of that, it still has the hallmarks of a Star Wars story by being a sci-fi story of someone being caught up in the greater conflicts of the galaxy while on their personal journey, and that results in episode 3 being able to focus solely on its story without needing to connect to other parts of the franchise. In short, Disney+'s Star Wars: Andor manages to engage with the audience without relying on their nostalgia, and that’s doing a lot to separate it from its predecessors.
Andor Looks So Much Better Than Obi-Wan Kenobi & The Book Of Boba Fett
Another point in Andor’s favor over Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett is its visuals and audio. While Obi-Wan and Boba Fett had plenty of good scenes, both shows, more often than not, would suffer from either poor visuals—both regarding CGI and general lighting—or sound mixing that didn’t work with what the show was trying to do. Disney's Obi-Wan Kenobi was especially bad about visuals with how dark a lot of scenes looked and how unnatural the lightsabers were. These problems aren’t present in Andor, though, as not only is the sound mixed far better, but the use of real locations and less dramatic costume designs makes it much more visually appealing. This is best exemplified in episode 3 appearing to have a lot of its action done with practical effects accompanied by a score that sets the mood just right in every scene. Thanks to the effects and score, the episode was able to effortlessly sell the intense action of its story, something that wouldn’t have worked as well if it kept to the same standards as Obi-Wan and Boba Fett.
Related: Why Andor Looks So Much Better Than Disney's Other Star Wars Shows
Andor’s Characters Are Real People, Not Just Star Wars Archetypes
The biggest thing working for Tony Gilroy's Andor, of course, is the characters, specifically in how real they all feel. There are far more good Star Wars characters than there are bad, but even the good characters can occasionally get bogged down by repetitive character notes and plot lines. If someone isn’t some manner of Jedi or Sith, then they’ll still be someone living in some big, alien world and saying and doing things far removed from reality. As such, Andor ends up standing out for how its dialogues and actions are focused more on personal issues than the affairs of the wider galaxy, making the cast of Disney+'s Andor come off as more grounded than Star Wars characters usually are. Even the setting helps with this, as the grit and dirt of Ferrix help sell it as a place real people would be living in and not a fantastical alien planet that could never really exist. Episode 3 brought that to its peak by not having a lot of action and being almost entirely centered on dialogues between the characters designed to flesh out their histories and motivations. There’s a degree of realism found in Andor that isn’t usually present in Star Wars, and it’s noticeably using it to its advantage.
Andor Is What Modern Star Wars Should Be (Obi-Wan & Boba Fett Were The Past)
Overall, it’s not hard to see Andor as an example of what modern Star Wars, specifically Disney's Star Wars, needs to strive to be. Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Book of Boba Fett both stuck to the same formulas that have always persisted in the franchise. Consequently, even their high points ended up being a drag more than they should have. While Andor’s basic story is also covering familiar territory, what makes it work is how different everything that makes it up is. Between the characters, the dialogue, and the overall look of the show, everything about Andor is a fresh take on Star Wars not just for being more grounded and character-driven, but for telling the sort of story that Star Wars usually doesn’t tell. As a prequel to Disney's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it makes sense that Andor would be like that, and with any luck, it’ll be able to keep to that for the remainder of its run and inspire future projects to follow its lead.
Andor releases new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.