Science

Episode 4 Andor takes off as we finally meet the Star Wars Rebels

The question of whether the next episode of Andora will live up to the high standards the show has set for itself has been answered, and the answer is a resounding yes.

The first three episodes, released simultaneously last week, set the bar impressively high for this latest Star Wars spin-off, and…in fact, Episode 4, titled Aldhani, is the best of the bunch so far. Honestly, the thought of how far this show and story can go is enough to give you goosebumps.

We pick up more or less right where we left off the story in Episode 3, and the always amazing Stellan Skarsgård (Luten Rael) has Diego Luna (Cassian Andor) aboard his unusual but strangely familiar starship. It’s called Fondor Haulcraft and appears to be of Corellian design. It also looks like it was based on concept art. (will open in a new tab) James Kline, project manager for Solo: A Star Wars Story. Stories” for the early Millennium Falcon. It’s great, isn’t it, when a cool character in a sci-fi movie or series has a cool ship to match?

Related: Andor is an exciting sci-fi that should grab the attention of other studios

Luten Rael’s ship, known as the “Fondor transport ship”, is of Corellian design. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

Skarsgård is featured prominently on screen, and his character in Andor is no different; he practically steals every scene he’s in. And throughout this live-action spin-off, the dialogue between every character, important or not, has been consistently high. Mind-blowing lines like “It took a combination of idiocy, ineptitude and sheer selflessness to bring this farce to its full climax of incredible disaster” make me want to rub my hands with menacing glee.

What’s more, not only does the character development move at the right pace to keep us excited but not overwhelmed, so does the storyline and world building. And given the period in which this particular story is in the chronological order of the Star Wars movies and series, we were inevitably going to see the planet Coruscant, and that doesn’t disappoint.

Where is Andor in the Star Wars timeline…
• Episode 1 “The Phantom Menace” – 32 BBY
• Episode 2 “Attack of the Clones” – 22 BBY
• “The Clone Wars” – 22 BBY
• Episode 3 “Revenge of the Sith” – 19 BBY
• Solo: Star Wars. Stories” – 10 BBY
• Obi-Wan Kenobi – 9 BBY
• Star Wars Rebels – 5 BBY
➜ Andor – Begins in 5 BBY and takes us to the events of Rogue One.
• Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Stories” – Year of the Battle of Yavin
• Episode 4 “A New Hope” – Year of the Battle of Yavin
• Episode 5 “The Empire Strikes Back” – 3 ABY
• Episode 6 “Return of the Jedi” – 4 ABY… and so on
(BBY – before the Battle of Yavin, ABY – after the Battle of Yavin)

This week’s episode featured several strong, smart and vibrant female characters, starting with Vel Sarthi. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

We can also see the Empire at a slightly younger age than we first met years ago in A New Hope. And while Kyle Soller was amazing as the overly ambitious and authoritarian Deputy Inspector Cyril Karn, who has been the main antagonist so far, we get to meet the equally intriguing Denise Gough as Lieutenant Dedra Miro of the Imperial Security Bureau, who, despite the third storyline thread makes a lasting impression and we welcome the opportunity to see more of it, which we will almost certainly do.

I hope we haven’t seen Karn for the last time, and we suspect we haven’t. What turn his character will take remains to be seen. To paraphrase Senator Palpatine, “We will be following his career with great interest.”

The austere, sterile design of the Imperial Security Bureau contrasts beautifully with the lush green setting of the main storyline, Cassian Andor’s first encounter with the rebel forces on the planet Aldani with Fay Marsya (Vel Sartha). Much of Andor was filmed in the UK, in remote locations such as Pitlochry, Scotland and the East London Docks, which were also used for interior shots of Scarif in Rogue One. It’s always fun to see British actors playing imperial officers, and it’s been that way throughout Star Wars (if we don’t forget Peter Cushing). Unusually, it was decided to use the British pronunciation of the word “lieutenant” here, which is not bad at all – it certainly adds a certain … je ne sais quoi. It’s just unusual for a show of this magnitude, aimed at a very wide international audience. Perhaps this is further proof that the studio really left showrunner Tony Gilroy alone to create exactly the show he wanted. And we are always so grateful.

Lieutenant Dedra Miro, played by Denise Gough, is another character we want to see a lot more of. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

By no means is this show predictable, at least not yet, and just as unusual for a show of this magnitude, we get sucked in and quickly invested in each character. And this is only the fourth series. Even more delicious layers are added as the plot thickens like a rich, robust stew. Last but not least, this is a first look at the complicated personal life of politician and key future Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma, again majestically played by Genevieve O’Reilly, who played the same character in Rogue One.

Her discreet interaction with Luten Rael at his high-end antique shop on Coruscant was without a doubt the highlight of the week. Fans noticed thin Easter eggs (will open in a new tab) since this episode aired, but more importantly, it gave us a great glimpse of Skarsgård’s character and he looks just as interesting as Eric Selvig. What makes the pace of this show so effective is that while Andor’s journey this week was relatively easy, it gave each of the other characters a chance to lay some fascinating foundations.

The musical score by Nicholas Britell is also worth mentioning, as it is more prominent this week than in previous episodes. Its strength, like everything else in this epic sci-fi series, lies in its subtlety. Like a slowly rising crescendo that perfectly captures the story, his presence becomes more powerful as the show progresses.

Mon Mothma, again majestically played by Genevieve O'Reilly, was also intriguing.

Mon Mothma, again majestically played by Genevieve O’Reilly, was also intriguing. (Image credit: Disney Plus)

If Andor maintains such a refreshing high quality, it will no doubt take its place among the giants. It’s more like a well-written, beautifully crafted drama set in space than science fiction per se. And it’s pretty refreshing. There’s no doubt that after Andor, the Gilroy team will be able to write their own ticket, and would it be great if they lend their talents to another sci-fi franchise, say… a Stargate reboot? Let’s do it.

In other, rather sad, Star Wars news, according to The Hollywood Reporter. (will open in a new tab)“Rogue Squadron” is a project that should become a director (will open in a new tab) Patty Jenkins, was “cut from the studio’s production schedule”, which is essentially the equivalent of an indefinite postponement. From the looks of it, it still has a release date of December 22, 2023, but it’s hard to imagine that this will happen since pre-production has been halted. Perhaps Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy will redirect this after Andor’s critical success, but we’ll have to wait and see.

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