there is not much of rain in Star Wars. In the classic movies, it rains a little on Dagobah, and that’s it. The prequels gave us the rain-swept world of Kamino, while the sequels drenched Luke and Rey in Ahch-To for the last jedi. But in neither of these cases did the use of rain signal an aesthetic shift into Star Wars film noir territory. In fact, although Attack of the clones had winks at bladerunner Skyline, the Star Wars saga has never gone completely sci-fi black to the Bounty hunter… until now.
This is how the seemingly innocuous opening of Andor it subtly reboots the Star Wars aesthetic for the better.
Although Star Wars has long been obsessed with depicting seedy bars and gambling dens from another world, for the most part, those places tend to be Easter egg versions of the original cantina in A new hope (see: the bar in the force awakens) or an intentionally opposite, brighter variety of high-class gambling (as in The Last Jedi). Even in the mandalorian Y boba fett bookSo, the Star Wars underworld tends to emulate the same kind of aesthetic we got from Jabba’s Palace and, again, the original Tatooine cantina. Variations on that theme occur, but never with the rawness of the opening episode of Andor.
The representation of the Morelna Uno brothel, in the first minutes of Andor, gives a cyberpunk veneer to the Preox-Morlana Corporate Zone. not just any of this Look like previous seedy Star Wars bars, but the establishment Cassian infiltrates may not even be doing anything illegal. (The only person really breaking the law here is Cassian, since he’s not actually a Pre-Mor employee.)
Andor immerses us in this scenario, with its complex rules, without much fanfare, echoing the narrative style not only of Bounty hunter but from William Gibson’s cyberpunk novels. Here, Cassian feels more like a character from necromancer either count zero than a traditional hero of the Rebellion.
Though none of this does Andor an actual and literal reboot, of course the change in worldbuilding is significant. Yes, the images of the opening of Andor remind any self-respecting sci-fi fan Bounty hunter, but the implication runs deeper than that: again, for the most part, when it comes to the “underworld” or the seedier sides of this galaxy, the newer Star Wars shows and movies have tended to rely on previously established rules. instead of creating new ones. And while it is true that Only retroactively redefined the economy of the Star Wars galaxy by scrambling for Coaxium hyperspace fuel, it’s not like the movie significantly changed the needle in terms of what we could expect on various planets. the mandalorian has done a slightly better job of creating unique planets and environments, but because the New Republic governmentreturn of the jedi it’s pretty vague, there’s still a generic Star Wars classic in most places Mando visits, especially Nevarro.
But Andor it’s not really like that. Ferrix isn’t just a generic Tatooine-esque planet like Jakku or Nevarro. There is a vivid quality that is not shorthand, but a bit more realistic. And if you contrast this with the very thin credibility of the various Tatooine cities in boba fett bookthe contrast becomes clear: the creators of Andor they don’t just hope to get by with a vaguely generic Star Wars aesthetic, at least not to the extent that their predecessors did. Instead, there new rules on these planets. Y new esthetic. For the first time in a long time, the boundaries of the Star Wars universe finally appear to be expanding.
Andor stream new episodes on Disney+.