Like so many people, I have grown up with Star Wars. I saw the original trilogy on VHS, my father took me to the movies with the 1997 revival, and I went through the theaters up to six times with Episode I: The Phantom Menace (I’m the son of the prequels). Later, with the arrival of The Force Awakens, I joined the sensation of event that was breathed in the queues of the preview sessions. There was hunger, there was a desire to feel the fanfare of Williams in a movie theater again and to return to that galaxy so far away, to enjoy the space fantasy typical of Jedi stories. So I fervently embraced what JJ Abrams gave us, mainly because there was a hunger. But the hunger diminished with each new release, as the recipes became more and more insipid, until, finally, after five movies and several series, the hunger turned into embarrassment. Now, with Andor, For the first time in a long, long time, I felt like devouring Star Wars again..
During these last few years, I can say that I have learned to relate to the current franchise landscape. I have assumed, like many others, that mediocrity is here to stay, that its presence, in the string of premieres like the one at hand, is something natural. Star Wars he has never rubbed shoulders with the great works of contemporary cinematography, he has not stood out in critical circles, nor in conversations about the great delicacies of cinema (whether he deserved it or not). But I also don’t think that, by definition, it should be labeled mediocre, because never been a mediocre product. Yes, we can say that it has had mediocre performances, with questionable scripts and humorous gags that border on the ridiculous. But as a whole, his fictions had always delivered a hymn to space fantasy so unique and special, so unique, measured and spectacular, that they managed to escape the aforementioned mediocrity.
And it is that despite having enjoyed, at times, products like Obi-Wan or Boba Fett, I don’t think they had a story to tell. There is no real compelling reason for its existence, beyond having characters that have legions of fans; beyond putting sequences on the screen (which I adore) in which I can see Obi-Wan training with Anakin, or Boba Fett riding a rancor. These are stories as innocuous as they are aseptic and lengthy, which do not compensate for their technical or narratological clumsiness with contributions commensurate with the circumstances; plots that were born attached to acclaimed characters, but without much to say. With Andor, on the other hand, I have once again been hungry for Star Wars because, among other things, I had the feeling that there was something to tell.
Tony Gilroy (writer of the Bourne saga) and John Knol (creative director of Industrial Light & Magic) already found the key a few years ago with Rogue One. Gilroy participated in the script that arose from Knol’s original idea: to tell how They obtained the famous plans for the Death Star. A clear and powerful meta-narrative that prevailed over its defects (which it had) and that, over the years, has been gaining followers. Andor, for his part, narrates the path traveled by several indispensable, although not so visible, members of the Rebel Alliance.. Some characters that allow us, through their concerns, motivations and actions, to introduce us to a theme that has hardly been explored until now: the relationship of the people with the policies of the Empire and its consequences. From Cassian’s political apathy, to Karis’s revolutionary fervor (embedded in his manifesto), passing through Luthen’s sacrifices, Mon Mothma’s financial engineering, the situation of the inhabitants of Ferrix, the ambition of sub-inspector Syrill Karn, or Dedra Meero’s promotion in the Imperial Security Bureau. All of them contribute their grain of sand to the construction of a plot that, due to tone and causality, seems to respond to different rules than those seen in, for example, the series led by Deborah Chow. Their stories intertwine to form a set that revolves around the fascism of the Empiredrawing a suffocating scenario that allows us, as spectators, to feel the oppressive weight of Palpatine’s machinery like never before.
Each of Andor’s arcs unfolds as a growing up that introduces the viewer, little by little, into the reality that surrounds this cast of characters. The BSI represents one of the threats that have intimidated me the most in Star Wars, a shadow that hangs over the protagonists operating, in a logical and insightful way, through characters who have succumbed to its machinery blinded by both propaganda and by his own ambition. It is the executing arm of the suppression of freedoms, the watchman whose mission is to stop revolutions before they become aware of their own existence; a tool of political oppression that every totalitarian regime has resorted to and a sensational ingredient with which to generate tension. And it is that with Andor, the Empire, has returned to be scary.
That fear, caused by the imperial machinery, would not be possible without the political nature of the series, without ideas as powerful as updating forced labor —through gamification—, legislative pressure or information censorship. Andor does not lack discourse, but it does not have plenty of politics either. It does well to embrace the Senate again, to show its state and its evolution after the fall of the democratic regime. In this way, as the prequels did, it once again expands the galactic universe, becoming a sensational window from which to glimpse how society beats at that specific moment in Star Wars history, something essential to understand (better) the rise. of the rebellion
The best of all is that there is background, but there is also form. The series abandons some of the vices acquired in recent times. The Stagecraft loses prominence in favor of excellent localization work. Its scenery rises through inhospitable landscapes, tangible architecture and successful digital insertions, to give rise to a resounding finish. One that is accompanied by a wardrobe to match —special mention for Mon Mothma—, remarkable props, a photograph that accompanies each moment and a montage that achieves the right rhythm for each chapter at each moment. All this together with a script that, from its initial structure of arcs of three episodes, manages to Raise the bet as the chapters go by without forgetting, despite his sober tone, the sense of wonder (impossible to forget the Eye), good deeds or humor. All this in key Star Wars, respecting the essence and celebrating it without turning the homage into homagenor respect in fear of novelty.
Andor is called Andor, but it could be called in many other ways, because its protagonists are not an excuse to build a television show, but a reflection of everything that the series wants to tell. And it is that I think that the series distances itself from the mediocrity in which the franchise has settled, in part, because it is clear about what it wants to narrate and how it intends to do it. I, for my part, had gotten used to that mediocrity, and I can say that I have learned to enjoy it without tearing my clothes off. But Andor has reminded me that Star Wars is not, or should not be, a mediocre product.and that is something that I had almost forgotten.
As a good friend (and one of the best critics I know) recently commented: Today’s Star Wars doesn’t deserve this series. Fortunately, the Star Wars of the last two months is called Andor, and it has made many of us believe in the cause again.