After taking over the production of Star Wars, Disney has made millions on sequel films and spinoff television shows viewable only on their streaming platform, Disney+. These shows include The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and most recently, Andor. Of these shows, Andor scored the highest in viewer satisfaction, with a 96% rating from Rotten Tomatoes. So what makes Andor better?
Christian Blauvelt writes in his IndieWire article:
“‘Andor’ was the first ‘Star Wars’ property since ‘Mandalorian’ season 1 that felt like it expanded the ‘Star Wars’ galaxy rather than reducing it to the familiar.”
Until now, most of Disney’s Star Wars series has been centered around characters that fans already know well. These include Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. The sequels to the original films also provide this familiarity for fans by incorporating characters such as Yoda, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, and Hans Solo. Of course, this production decision was necessary for the success and continuation of the franchise, but Disney seems to have taken it a bit too far with the Boba Fett and Obi-Wan spinoff series.
Perhaps the overly familiar coupled with an appeal to an immature audience caused the lower ratings in these two series. Blauvelt argues that Andor is the first Star Wars series that feels “definitively for adults.” But why does Andor feel more adult than in the other series?
James Whitbrook, a writer for Gizmodo, believes that Andor demonstrates a deeply religious or spiritual element, particularly in the final episode, which a more mature audience can only understand. Although Star Wars has always embraced mystical ideas in connection to the Force and Jedi, Andor seems to push these ideas further and tie them to the concepts of rebellion and freedom.
“There is a sense of a higher power at play through Andor, and most keenly in this final episode, but by layering it in the context of human connection and emotion, by placing its religious lens into a material form of spirituality, the show gives something Star Wars desperately needs if it is ever to grow beyond the yoke of the Jedi and Sith’s eternal conflict.”James Whitbrook
Although Andor’s more mature appeal could relate to spirituality, the main character, Cassian Andor, is also undoubtedly grittier than many of Star Wars’ previous protagonists. Characters like Luke, Leia, Rey, Obi-Wan, and Hans Solo are undeniably morally upstanding. In fact, almost every main character in Star Wars fits neatly into the sides of either dark or light, good or evil, Jedi or Sith. And if a character does not fit into one, then they must choose.
However, Cassian Andor does not fit as cleanly into this binary construct. He chooses to fight for the rebellion, but this decision is based on his own interests. Viewers recognize that, at his core, Andor is good, but he is not heroic in the same way as most other Star Wars protagonists. And this makes his character far more interesting and complex. Today’s viewers like gritty, believable, relatable characters, and Andor provides this kind of protagonist. As a result, Andor will hopefully amass more viewers and renew interest in Star Wars as a whole.