'Andor' review: Dramatic, gritty and engrossing, Diego Luna-starrer's a winner already

If Disney+ decided to push one of their marquee spin-offs to focus solely on 'Andor', then it's safe to say they played their cards right

'Andor' review: Dramatic, gritty and engrossing, Diego Luna-starrer's a winner already
Diego Luna as Cassian Andor (Disney+)
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All of these weeks kept leading up to this. 'Andor' packs a wallop in the three episodes that premiered on Disney+ and have all the makings of a riveting show. The prequel to 2016's 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' takes its time to build the world of Diego Luna's Cassian Andor, and then switches to high-octane mode. Set around five years before the Rebel spies figured out the plans for the Death Star, the series focuses on Luna's life and times, and his journey into the Rebellion ranks, and safe to say, he may not be a maladjusted young man, but he's got his own battles.

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Nothing about Andor suggests that you can take him easily. He isn't hesitant to kill and he will if he has to. That much is made clear in the first few minutes of the season opener. Wanted for murder, Andor is on the run and needs to get off planet Ferrix. Along the way, his thieving days get some screentime as he aims to pawn off a piece of Imperial tech and that's when some key characters get their introductions as well. Adria Arjona's Bix Caleen and Fiona Shaw's Maarva play their roles to perfection as does Kyle Soller's Syril Karn, a sergeant who is in hot pursuit of Andor for killing the two officers. Stellan Skarsgard's appearance just shakes things up and there's more of him in the next few episodes.

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It's not all smooth sailing as creator Tony Gilroy consciously keeps the pacing to a walk as opposed to hop. The tonality makes it hard not to draw comparisons to his 'Bourne' trilogy as the world of Andor is dark and survival is a daily challenge. That said, 'Andor' is engrossing and there's clearly a story to be told. The cast plays their part to perfection and clearly, the show's a winner even if it's just three episodes in, while also making up for the delay of 'The Mandalorian' Season 3 that's slated for a 2023 release. If Disney+ decided to push the show to focus solely on 'Andor', then it's safe to say they played their cards right.

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'Andor' just adds to the impressive shows the streamer has released over the last three years. It started off with 'The Mandalorian' and then moved on to 'The Book of Boba Fett' before bringing back Mando and his little tyke for a second run. With Luna's spy thriller spanning 12 episodes, there's a lot to look forward to every Wednesday for the next nine weeks.

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'Andor' Episodes 1-3 are available for streaming on Disney+

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