ANDOR’s fourth episode, ALDHANI, peels back layers of the early Rebel Alliance and the Imperial forces and reintroduces a long-time favorite B-player from the Star Wars universe. It continues to be the most original Star Wars tale since THE LAST JEDI.
Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård, in an absolutely commanding performance) has changed Cassian’s life as the story now feels directly on the path to meet up with the events of ROGUE ONE. As I mentioned in my earlier reviews, when ROGUE ONE wasn’t about the core Star Wars groups, I wasn’t as invested in their outcome as I could have been. But now, having a story that doesn’t seem to connect to the Skywalkers, Solos, Palpatines, or bounty hunters in any way is a massive win for Star Wars. I’m a pretty staunch defender of THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, but even I rolled my eyes a little at Rey’s last lines in the film. Remove ANDOR’s characters from the universe that binds them, and we still have an incredible series about espionage, colonialism, the rise of fascism, and second chances.
At 12 episodes, ANDOR will be the longest first season to date for a Star Wars live-action series. This has given the story time to breathe, introduce new characters, tell backstories, and deliver the action in a much slower burn than many fans are used to. However, I’ve heard that some fans want the show to “get to the point,” so ALDHANI may frustrate these same viewers.
I remarked on this last week, but it’s worth discussing Siril Karn and his security force team. They’re in “cover your ass” mode this week, and through this lens, we’ll learn more about how exactly they fit into the wheel of the Imperial Empire. Finn was introduced as a Stormtrooper in EP VII, but we never really looked at what it was like to “work” for the Empire. ANDOR explores the bureaucracy and workplace squabbles of those that serve the many layers underneath Darth Vader. These scenes contrast perfectly with our introduction to the rebels and their various disagreements and strategies. While watching the STAR WARS Original Trilogy, have you ever thought about the vast disparity between the Empire’s massive resources and how little the Rebellion has? Now take that back to when the Rebellion is nothing more than a small network of spies and secret activists working in the shadows. Luke Skywalker didn’t just jump into his X-Wing fighter and blow up the Death Star without years of planning, coordinating in secret, and many unnamed heroes doing their part. ANDOR proves how huge the Star Wars universe is and how exciting stories that don’t have to tie into what we already know can be told.
ANDOR Episodes 1-4 are streaming on Disney+ with a new episode each Wednesday.