Andor: brilliant performances + seamless effects = the best overall Star Wars show yet

In spite of the fact that I consider myself a huge fan of both of the Gilroy Bros, I was unprepared for the brilliance of Andor.

Brilliant supporting actors and well-written characters

The characters in Andor have an interior three-dimensionality that’s been lacking in a lot of franchise films and shows.

Kyle Soller as Syril Karn: a tightly-wound functionary with severe mommy issues. When given access to power, this combo makes for a compelling villain.

Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma: the rebellion’s indispensable leadership figure. We finally get to see underneath her serene authority figure as Mothma navigates the halls of power. Under constant surveillance, she carries a heavy burden. Mothma the public figure is illuminated as the private mother of an ungrateful kid and wife of a supreme douchebag husband.

Stellan Skarsgård as Luthen Rael – a master chameleon. He presents at times as a grizzled veteran, others, a stylish collector selling goods to the galaxy’s elite, with flourish and panache. A dynamic spectrum of a performance – we really feel the magnitude of his sacrifices.

Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Arvel Skeen: this guy has a Brando-like vulnerability on screen that’s special. His work in Girls and The Bear being other great examples. It’s just incredible that an actor of this caliber is in a bit part in a star wars tv show.

Seamless effects

Even though I’m a fan of the virtual-set Volume of The Mandalorian, Andor‘s mostly-real environments are amazing. Filming at real locations (such as the McLaren HQ) instead of a CG-generated sci-fi set gives the show a verisimilitude that eclipses most major sci-fi and fantasy shows these days.

The VFX is often a small element blended into a real environment, such as when a ship crashes on a planet, or when rebels hike mountains & a single Tie Fighter screams by. In Star Wars, Tie Fighters usually present a threat as a collective. In Andor, by they succeed in making a single fighter as a menacing threat, both when it’s patrolling at far distances as well as up close.

When in a fully imagined environment, Andor excels there as well – they’re making Coruscant interesting in ways it hasn’t been – Mon Mothma’s sleek limo – the way it casually navigates the city – the way the skyline reflects off its polished surface at night: just gorgeous!

Compelling lead

There are so many other aspects to praise, but let me conclude with Diego Luna in the title role. The body language of a man encumbered by trauma, and the eyes of a man who’s slowly figuring out how to find inner peace by confronting an unfathomable enemy.

It’s a shame we already know his fate – in an ideal world, Andor would’ve predated Rogue One – but once this series is over, that film’s already riveting conclusion is going to impact even stronger.

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In spite of the fact that I consider myself a huge fan of both of the Gilroy Bros, I was unprepared for the brilliance of Andor. Brilliant supporting actors and well-written characters The characters in Andor have an interior three-dimensionality that's been lacking in a lot...Andor: brilliant performances + seamless effects = the best overall Star Wars show yet