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The first viewers watched the Star Wars TV series Andor starring Diego Luna on Disney+ in September 2022 – how did it turn out? – September 22, 2022

On the Disney+ channel on September 21, three episodes of “Andor” were posted at once – a new series in the Star Wars universe about how a simple thief became a revolutionary and fighter against the Empire.

Photo: Kinopoisk
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On some inhospitable rainy planet, a bearded man with shifty eyes walks into a bar. His name is Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and he is looking for his long lost sister. Local policemen are attached to him, word for word – and two corpses in the alley. It could be lucky: the police chief just reported upstairs about the level of crime, and he would prefer to attribute the double murder to an accident – but his ambitious young deputy (Kyle Soller) thinks otherwise and opens a real hunt for Andor. It costs a lot of money to fly off the planet, and the only chance to earn it is to sell an expensive device to a mysterious buyer (Stellan Skarsgård). However, many colleagues (Andor works on some kind of dismantling of decommissioned starships) sharpen their teeth on Andor. And they are not in a hurry to help, but someone is ready to hand him over with giblets.

Photo: Kinopoisk
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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, or rather, in the USA in 1977, George Lucas directed Star Wars, which at that time was not yet any episode 4. Since then, several good and evil empires have risen and collapsed, wars, unfortunately, have not gone away – and the Star Wars universe has grown incredibly, like that very galaxy. Especially in this sense, a rich harvest now, when Disney bought the universe from Lucasfilm – and in fact restarted the entire series, and it blossomed like an alien squid in all directions. The trilogy of 7-9 episodes is the same naive, slightly exalted space opera. But there is also the series The Mandalorian in the spirit of spaghetti westerns, and Boba Fett’s Book about the cosmic godfather, and Obi-Wan Kenobi – sheer melodrama … Some failed, others successful, but it is important that there are many of these attempts.

One of the most successful and original was the film “Rogue One” – about ordinary rebels fighting the Empire, and one unknown, but important mission. This is a real war movie: there are no Jedi with swords and miraculous rescues, but only ordinary people of a distant galaxy who, alas, die one after another. Died and the hero of the Mexican actor Diego Luna, partisan and spy Cassian Andor. But he was so fond of the audience, and even the Moon itself – that, perhaps, a whole series of the same name about Andor and about how he turned from a disappointed and lost individual into a person ready to sacrifice his life for his views and for others.

Luna acted as one of the producers. And the showrunner and screenwriter of Andor was Tony Gilroy, who also worked on Cast Away. It is worth looking at his filmography, as it immediately becomes approximately clear what to expect: this is a man who wrote scripts for all the films about Jason Bourne, for The Great Game, and directed as a director – Michael Clayton and Nothing Personal. That is, he masterfully mastered the space of a political and corporate thriller. In The Outcast, he apparently did not have enough space or confidence to roam, and the producers were still twisting their hands – so there is still no, no, but the spirit of Lucas’s blockbusters slips through. But “Andor” outdid even “The Mandalorian” and “Boba Fett”, in which there is quite a lot of everyday life, cynicism and everyday life.

It’s quite different: the planets where the Gilroy series, Morlan One and Ferrix take place are not exotic oases of exciting adventures, but something like a mixture of industrial zone and East Berlin of the GDR era. The planets Plyuk from Daneliev’s “Kin-Dza-Dza” and Saraksh from “Inhabited Island” are also apparently somewhere nearby. It is hard to believe that the formidable Darth Vader lives in the same universe, the Emperor works gloomy witchcraft and recklessly Han Solo. The main feeling that eternal rain, dirt and rust radiate here is routine and hopelessness. How banally hopeless is the totalitarian regime in which the case is taking place. There are aliens and droids here, but these are not amazing creatures, but disenfranchised nationalists.

Andor himself, by the way, also (and here the Mexican accent of Diego Luna works for the plot) from some wild planet that the Empire dug up for minerals: a separate plot arc tells about his childhood. By the way, little Andor was adopted by the heroine, played by the English actress Fiona Shaw – best known for her role as Aunt Petunia from Harry Potter. True, Petunia is a bitch, and the foster mother here is unparalleledly kind. But Andor himself is far from Harry: a selfish, cunning type, although not without Ostap-Bender’s charisma. Otherwise, you won’t be able to survive here.

Some kind of imperial state corporation is holding the planet in its fist, and for the first two episodes Andor is trying to either get money or appease his colleagues – this is more of a psychological thriller with social overtones than something remotely reminiscent of a space opera. Even the camera work with close-ups of faces, even the deliberately slow pace – this is something from Balabanov or Herman, or something. Only by the end of the third series, the ring around Andor shrinks, and the show, as if coming to its senses, gives out an action scene; but even blaster shots here don’t squeak the familiar perky “pee-pee”: they whistle darkly, like bullets at the temple.

Whether “Andor” will turn into cosmic “17 Moments of Spring” or, say, Gorky’s galactic “Mother” will be seen further. There is still a lot of the first season ahead, and then the second. But one thing is clear: this is an interesting experiment on the genre field. It’s not clear who it’s for. Fans of the classic Star Wars may not appreciate the slow pace and dark aesthetic, while thriller fans will shy away from the fantastical setting. But all the more pleasing is such a bold attempt to circumvent the framework and soar above the familiar – like real Jedi. “Don’t try, do it,” as Master Yoda used to say.

Fedor Dubshan, especially for Fontanka.ru

Photo: Kinopoisk
Photo: Kinopoisk

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