How Andor Elevates The Action Of Star Wars


Andoro is the newest piece of the Star Wars mythos, and it seems to have shifted one of its shortest-lived characters into a new action hero. The first few episodes have been packed with laser shootouts and complex intrigue, but the violence on display has taken a slightly new direction from the franchise.


the Star Wars franchise continues to experiment with full projects steeped in genres it had previously only dabbled in. Both of the franchise’s previous live-action Disney Plus series has gone deep into the space western genre, Rogue One was the first proper war movie, and Andoro is a full fledged spy series.

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The entirety of the mainline Star Wars franchise has covered one version or another of a weak underdog Rebellion doing battle against a massive technologically superior Empire. The wars in the stars have included most of the traditional hallmarks of real-world armed conflict. The original trilogy borrows a healthy amount of historical and contemporary shorthand to codify its on-screen aggressions. World War II is the most common reference point, with its massive land engagements and focus on aerial supremacy, but there’s plenty of Vietnam influence in the Battle of Endor. These films were built primarily on a war that ended thirty years before their release, but war changed, and the franchise changed to reflect that. War doesn’t look like it did in the 40s or the 70s anymore, and war movies have been eager to stay current.

Many war movies inspired the original Star Wars. The 1955 movie The Dam Busters provided entire lines of dialogue and informed the film’s aerial combat scenes. The 1961 movie The Guns of Navarone inspired much of the central Death Star plot. The movie also borrowed from westerns like The Searchers, and their connection to Akira Kurosawa’s work is well-established. War movies which released after the original trilogy were very different. Steven Spielberg’s 1998 movie Saving Private Ryan changed the landscape and set the tone for countless other war films. Films depicting modern conflicts took the immediacy, the pulse-pounding action, and the human drama and applied it all to ongoing conflicts around the world. Andoro is the first Star Wars project to borrow more from the battles of today than from the old favorites.

The first big action scene in Andoro is an urban engagement with countless civilians in the direct line of fire. A violent overreach of power by a law enforcement agency that results in multiple innocent bystanders’ deaths. It all starts because a couple of cops threaten and attack an innocent man for the apparent crime of being somewhere they didn’t like him being. They even ask him if he “swam over”. It would be tough to be more blatant. Andoro is drawing a series of direct lines between the forces of the Empire, invading armies, and the modern police forces that act like them. Where Endor was a battle between indigenous rebels aided by the jungle and a violent occupying force, Andoro centers its first conflict around a couple of heroes bravely defying oppressive state power.

Military types have been saying that the city is the modern battlefield for years now, but the franchise with war in its name has only just caught up. The big battle scenes in the newest trilogy still feel mostly dominated by gigantic World War II clashes. Andoro, by shifting the scale down by several degrees and re-centering the action in a more contemporary setting, manages to feel so much more immediate. It’s ripped from the headlines sci-fi action in a way that Star Wars hasn’t been since Return of the Jedi. The biggest risk of this strategy is that the franchise has always been fantastical and escapist. Adding lasers and hover bikes to a story that hits a bit too close to home won’t make it whimsical. in this way, Andoro seems to be going for a new gritty take on the material, but without all the edgy baggage that term typically implies. The newest Star Wars series seems to be using its unique new approach to violence to add to its story, and it’s a brilliant evolution of the format.

Andoro might be considered an outlier in the franchise, but it could also be the new direction that breathes in some much-needed new life. The Mandalorian was the last Star Wars project to attain near-universal praise, and it did so by leaning into its genre, its strong new cast, and its radically different tone. The show about the steel-clad space bounty hunter and his adorable adopted son can’t be described as particularly realistic, but its tone is a bit more morally gray than the typical Star Wars project. It seems like Disney is never 100% sure what it’s doing with this long-suffering franchise, but if Andoro is put forth as the example, then there may yet be some great things on the horizon.

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