Andor takes us back to the beginning of Star Wars

Stellan Skarsgård and Diego Luna in Andor

Andor took me on a nostalgia trip. This prequel to the original 1977 Star Wars movie (and the Rogue One film) reminded me of the excitement that the original film generated in its day.

Andor came out as a TV series. But the original Star Wars was the first big blockbuster movie hullabaloo I remember catching my attention. I lived in Carlsbad, NM, in 1977. The closest theater with Star Wars was in El Paso, TX. My husband and I drove over to see it on opening night, sat in the parking lot to get stoned before we went inside, and we’re simply thrilled out of our minds with the spectacle and space tech look of it.

All these years later and I’m in my living room, alone and definitely not stoned, watching the 12 episodes of season 1 of Andor on Disney+. It looks the same. It’s like going back in time.

The Plot

Diego Luna in Andor

Diego Luna plays Cassian Andor. He was a thief who’d lived a hard life. The story begins with Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård), who was secretly a rebel leader and organizer, recruiting Cass to help steal millions of credits with a small gang of rebels.

These folks were true believers who wanted to bring down the Galactic Empire. Cass wasn’t there yet. The film is about his conversion to joining the rebel forces.

After the big heist, the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB) wanted him. He was in prison for a while and lead a prison break. Then he went back to his home planet because his adoptive mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw) died. A big fight between the ISB, the Stormtroopers, and the local rebels took place around the funeral. The plot is much more complicated and nuanced than that, but by the end of the first season, Cass was ready to be a leader in the rebellion. One more season with this hero leads into the Rogue One story.

The plot included episodes with familiar characters like Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) and Syril Karn (Kyle Soller).

The Women of Andor

Because this blog is what it is, I have to talk about the women of Andor.

Adria Arjona in Andor

Bix (Adria Arjona) was Cass’s friend. She was a mechanic who lived near his mother. She was in cahoots with him, selling his stolen goods. She originally connected him with Luthen.

Fiona Shaw in Andor

Fiona Shaw played an aging rebel with a cute droid companion. She had adopted Cass after rescuing him. She was a towering figure (in many ways) in the rebellion and deeply loved by many.

Genevieve O'Reilly in Andor

Senator Mon Motta (Genevieve O’Reilly) lived a double life as a Senator who financed rebel groups in secret. She got in trouble when some of her money transfers came under scrutiny from the ISB. She had a husband and a teen daughter.

Faye Marsay in Andor

Vel (Faye Marsay) was Mon Mothra’s cousin. She was the leader of the small group Cass joined to steal millions in credits. She was in love with another member of the group, Cinta (Varada Sethu). Cinta returned her affections, but was more focused on the rebellion and less concerned with keeping Vel happy.

Denise Gough in Andor

Dedra Metro (Denise Gough), an ISB officer, was the villain we were supposed to hate. She wanted desperately to catch Cass and destroyed many people to achieve that, including almost destroying Bix. She was hard and relentless and her Soviet style costumes made her even more menacing.

All the women characters were strong and smart and courageous. The first two or three episodes were all about Cass, and I was honestly considering not watching it all. When the women started showing up being central players in the rebellion, I stayed with it. There was one woman director. Susanna White directed 3 episodes.

Little did I know, passing a joint back and forth in our little Volkswagen back in 1977, that I was on my way to watch the beginning of a huge industry that would spawn dozens of movies and TV shows and generate characters and merchandise recognized everywhere in the world.

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