If You Like Watching Diego Luna Walk Around, You’ll Love ‘Andor’
The following post contains very minor spoilers for the first three episodes of Andor. But only if you consider me telling you that the title character walks around a lot a spoiler.
Star Wars has one of the great openings in movie history. After the title crawl and John Williams’ bombastic score, a spaceship flies into view from behind the camera — followed by an even more massive ship in pursuit. George Lucas immediately drops the viewer into the middle of the action, and we’re hooked by the overwhelming sense of scale and the palpable sense of danger. The intensity doesn’t let up until C-3PO and R2-D2 make their way down to Tatooine several minutes later.
Contrast that with the new Star Wars series on Disney+, Andor. It begins with a man walking alone in a place called the “Preox-Morlana Corporate Zone.” The man, we will soon see, is Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), the master spy previously featured in the film Rogue One. But this guy isn’t that Andor. The new series takes place five years prior to the events of Rogue One, before Andor had become a leader in the Rebel Alliance. Here, he’s just a guy trying to escape from the Empire as fast as he can.
Okay, maybe not that fast.
Disney+ debuted the first three episodes of Andor simultaneously, and it takes until the end of the third episode for Andor to really get mixed up with the Rebels. Instead, he spends the show’s first 90+ minutes wandering around the planet Ferrix, looking for the credits he needs to outrun the space police after he kills two men in self-defense. Andor goes to visit one person who owes him money, then he walks to another to try to sell something. He visits his adoptive mother and his droid. Then he walks some more.
Clearly, Andor wants to establish it is not your typical Star Wars show. Opening without the typical bombastic action sequence is by design. And there are further thematic reasons for Andor to spend so much time walking around Ferrix. As we slowly (very slowly) learn over the course of the first three episodes, he is a nomad without a home or a family. His constant walking is a symbol of that.
But that idea comes through within the first ten minutes of the first episode of Andor — and then it repeats that idea for at least an hour before much of anything else happens. Until then, Cassian walks around. And then other characters walk around too. It’s like a Star Wars show for people who loved Gus Van Sant’s Gerry.
Here is an incomplete accounting of Andor walking scenes:
Diego Luna Walking in Andor
To be fair, the third episode of Andor is far more exciting than the prior two. And the first two episodes do contain some interesting details about life on this remote planet; the way people go about their daily lives and work, what they drink when they need a caffeine jolt, who rings the bell in the local clocktower. The connective tissue between all these people is Cassian Andor, so following him from one resident to the next creates this sense of an interconnected community which, as we see, is about to rebel against the Empire’s despotic rule.
Andor communicates all of that quite clearly; it just does it in such a leisurely way, that it almost becomes self-parody. I welcome a Star Wars series that represents a change of pace from the rest; frankly, the franchise could use it. But I’m not sure that new pace needs to be quite so leaden.
New episodes of Andor premiere on Wednesdays on Disney+. Sign up for Disney+ here.