Andor Is the Most Adult Star Wars Project Yet

Andor has premiered its first episodes on Disney+, telling the backstory of the hardened Rebel spy who helped uncover the secret of the Death Star and its fatal weakness. The time in which Andor begins is a dark one (5 BBY) – a moment when the Galactic Empire is at its strongest, and the spark of rebellion has not yet caught on into a wildfire. By taking the focus away from all the fantasy and philosophy of the Jedi, and putting it on the everyday people caught up in the struggle, Andor is, by far, the most adult Star Wars project that the franchise has ever produced. 

It starts with the type of production that showrunner Tony Gilroy has put together. Gilroy, his cast and crew have all been upfront about the fact that they were going to be creating a different sort of visual aesthetic than the one the Star Wars franchise has largely adopted. In fact, it was a goal that Gilroy had as far back as his work directing Rogue One. As longtime creature and makeup effects artist Neal Scanlan said during Rogue One's release in 2016: 

"I have a little theory that in all of our hearts, as brilliant and as wonderful as CGI is, and I of course am an absolute fan of it, this is going to make me slightly controversial, but there's something deceitful about it... And I think there's just a natural – something just deep inside us that knows when something is real. It may not be that it's as perfect or fantastical or mind-blowing as the CG version may be, but it's something that you allow into your heart and into your soul, and it allows your imagination to make up some of the little spots."

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(Photo: Lucasfilm)

That's certainly evident in Andor's production design. The set pieces and worlds the show has offered are full and real; real extras populate the backgrounds of shots, doing real purposeful actions; the aesthetic detail is pristine in making things feel rusted, dirty, gritty, and lived-in. Even details like new droid character B2EMO having faulty power cells and speech issues are flaws that make the character and drab setting feel that much more real. It's a level of production that arguably brings Star Wars and Disney+ up to a prestige level on par with the likes of HBO for the first time. Nothing flimsy or childlike about it.

Aside from the impeccable production values, Andor has a signature Gilroy style to it that is definitely aimed more towards adults, with playwright-style monologues and esoteric dialogue between characters. The world we're looking in on is also filled with the sort of moral gray Gilroy enjoys playing in, rather than the good-vs-evil heroism of your typical Star Wars story. Its serious rumination on the effects of the fascist rule on a populace is a timely one – and a narrative that is clearly meant for the adult mind to ponder. 

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Finally, Andor is also delivering the most adult Star Wars story we've ever seen in quite a literal sense: sex, murder, and swearing are all to be found in Andor's first three episodes, another clear signal that the series is definitely not meant for the younger end of the Star Wars fan pool. This show is for the grown-up fan, and Star Wars needs more TV shows and films like it.

Star Wars: Andor streams new episodes Wednesdays on Disney+.