Scroll To Top
Geek

Andor’s Finale Was A Spectacular Reminder Of Why It Deserves Your Time

Andor’s Finale Was A Spectacular Reminder Of Why It Deserves Your Time

Andor
Courtesy of Disney

The gays lived! And the first brick of the rebellion has been thrown.

rachiepants

The Disney+ Star Wars series Andor ended its 12-episode first season just as it began, spectacularly. In a time when it feels as though we’re on the verge of global collapse, this show couldn’t be more timely. Forget Jedi mind tricks, lightsabers, and dynastic chosen ones. Forget midi-chlorians and Force lightning. Andor eschews all of that and is all the better for it. Instead of magical beings, it’s about normal people rising up and beating back a rising tide of fascism with the brick in your hand (metaphorically but also, yes, literally).

Plus, it even managed not to bury its gays.

Vel and Cinta in Andor

Courtesy of Disney

Maybe it’s Star Wars fatigue, too much TV to choose from, or that some fans aren’t as familiar with Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as they are, say, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Whatever the case may be Andor, is reportedly not drawing the same kind of audience as its Disney+ counterparts The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. This is a shame, because after having seen the first 12 episodes, it’s become clear that not only is Andor the best of the streamer’s Star Wars series, it’s the best show of 2022.

So please allow us to make a case for why you should be giving this series your time.

When the season begins, we meet Cassian Andor years away from his heist to steal the Death Star plans in the film Rogue One, and he barely resembles the committed rebel he’s destined to become. While he loathes the Empire, he’s largely driven by his desire to just get by, fly under the radar, and above all survive. Relatable.

Andor

Courtesy of Disney

When he’s recruited, or more accurately strong-armed, into joining a mission for the Rebellion, his slow evolution to rebel begins. It’s not a totally atypical hero’s journey on the surface, but it’s all in the execution.

Rather than rely on institutional memory shorthand, Andor takes the time to truly present the horror of fascism, not with bombastic strongman leaders but by showcasing the bureaucrats and everyday people who carry water for the Empire. Ironically, by narrowing the focus to regular, non-Force-sensitive individuals, the series reveals the true terror of oppression and the Empire. The show returns actual stakes to what has become more of an, albeit entertaining, nostalgia fix.

Heroes rise, and their humanity only enhances their heroism, because the cost is high for bravery — but also far more relatable.

Dedra Meero in Andor

Courtesy of Disney

The same is true for villainy when it’s at the hands of Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), an officer of the ISB aka the Empire’s CIA. It’s far more chilling because it resonates in a way that feels grounded in reality. She’s arguably the best villain that Star Wars has produced in, well, a very long time.

The first season is broken into multi-episode arcs, each culminating in a climactic episode, that’s made more thrilling by the time taken in the previous episodes to lay the groundwork, characterization, and stakes. Some of the tensest moments in television history are found in Andor, and it’s both excruciatingly nail-biting and thrilling at the same time.

The same is true of the writing: Never before has Star Wars offered this kind of dialog — or monologues that come regularly throughout the series. Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgard), the mysterious leader of the early Rebellion, offers an oration about sacrifice in episode 10 that left fans absolutely floored.

Luthan Rael in Andor

Courtesy of Disney

It was both the most Star Wars speech to ever have been uttered, while also being unlike anything that came before it — because it spoke to the unspoken part of the Rebellion. The cost. The stakes. The loss. But also hubris and yes ego it takes to rise up against an overwhelming force. If Skarsgard doesn’t take home an Emmy for this performance, we rebel.

How good is Andor? Well, as incredible as Luthan’s big moment is, it might not even be the greatest moment in that episode, let alone the series. But we won’t spoil the other speech, as it involves a surprising and fun bit of casting.

Then there is, of course, the final speech, which is saved for out actor Fiona Shaw, who stars as Maarva, Andor’s adoptive mother. Health failing, she calls on her community to wake up, rise up, and fight the “Empire Bastards.” It’s just what her fellow citizens need to hear to shake them from the complacency that’s allowed the Empire to spread throughout the galaxy with impunity. It also feels like a bit of a wake-up call to the audience who can’t help but see echoes of that dynamic IRL.

Maarva Andor in Andor

Courtesy of Disney

We could honestly go on and on about Andor’s greatness, (including how visually stunning it is) but instead, we’ll close with this: It also serves as a reminder of what made the original Star Wars so great and why it has had such a lasting impact. It’s not just the world-building, cool aliens, and lightsaber duels, but rather the feeling it engenders inside the audience’s hearts and minds — that spark of the Rebellion it kindles.

Andor reignites those feelings and stokes the imagination of what could be when people everywhere, small in power alone, coalesce into something bigger for the purpose of something greater. In a word, Andor is spectacular and arguably the truest and worthiest sequel (although technically a prequel) to the original film trilogy.

With the holiday weekend here, many will be confronted with some of the Empire-like thinking that has crept into the ideologies of even those closest to us. It can leave you feeling hopeless, alone, and overwhelmed by what feels like the inevitably of the insidiously creeping fascism.

Andor

Courtesy of Disney

With that in mind, we can’t think of a better way to celebrate the long holiday weekend than spending it with a reminder of what can be, the power we have when we’re ready to come together, and start throwing (metaphorical) bricks. Is there a more legitimate mark of a truly great piece of art? Feeling inspired is always something to be thankful for.

All of Andor season one is now streaming on Disney+. Watch the trailer below.

Andor | Official Trailer | Disney+

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories

author avatar

Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.