An Andor, “Kassa” Review

SERIES: Star Wars: Andor
S1:E1. “Episode 1”
Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, James McArdle, Antonio Viña
Tony Gilroy
Toby Haynes
September 21, 2022
Cassian Andor becomes a wanted man.

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By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

Let me say this straight away: I did not like Rogue One, the movie to which Andor acts as a prequel. I didn’t think any of the characters were sufficiently developed. The only one with any charm or heart was the robot, K-2SO. It’s always seemed to me like people were fooled into thinking they liked the movie because of all the classic Star Wars stuff in it, along with its darker tone, which I admit does appeal to a large group of fans. But for me, a dark tone by itself doesn’t cut it. I need something underneath the dark packaging to sink my teeth into.

I don’t expect to change people’s minds about Rogue One. At this point, people believe what they believe. Furthermore, I don’t expect Andor to change my mind about Rogue One. But the good news is, changing my mind about Rogue One isn’t what Andor needs to do. This show’s job is to be good in and of itself. What I hope for Andor more than anything is that it does something Rogue One didn’t do: Make me like and care about Cassian Andor.

Disney+ premiered Andor with its first three episodes. It did something similar with Obi-Wan Kenobi, dropping the show’s first two episodes on its premiere date. Apparently, releasing multiple episodes out of the gate helps the show make a bigger splash in terms of viewership. Me? I’d be happy with a single episode premiere. It draws things out, makes the experience of the show last longer, etc. (Plus, it makes it easier to review.)

In our opening scene, we get the time stamp “BBY 5.” Star Wars geeks know this means five years before the Battle of Yavin, i.e. five years before the original Star Wars film. But more casual viewers? They won’t have a clue what that means.

Was that an intergalactic strip club Cassian went into in the opening scene? This being Star Wars, somehow I expected more Carrie Fisher style slave girl bikinis.

We knew we were likely going to get some scenes with child-aged Cassian, or Kassa. He had that line in Rogue One about being in the fight since he was six. It looks like he comes from a world that’s not overly industrialized. The group he and his sister are in looks vaguely tribal.

I wouldn’t go as far as to say I was bored by this episode. But it did feel like there wasn’t much happening. I’ll chalk it up to first episode exposition and character introduction. But I won’t be inclined to be quite as nice next time…

Okay, I get it. Cassian has lots of friends and connections. Did we need to establish that four times? First there was the Brasso character. Then we had Bix Caleen and Timm Karlo. Then there was the encounter with Nurchi and Vetch. Finally, we had the little exchange with Pegla. Am I supposed to care about these people? The only one that really accomplishes that goal is the Bix character, played by Adria Arjona.

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