Andor has been nothing but a success story for Star Wars, with plenty of awards being bestowed upon the now critically acclaimed series.
The Rogue One prequel show aired in late 2022, but it quickly rose to fan-favorite status with many fans citing the care and commitment that went into the first season as a golden standard for the franchise.
A new report has also disclosed just how expensive Andor was for Disney to finance. It enjoyed a $250 million budget, but the quality of the show has proved time and time again that it was worthy, although admittedly eye-watering, investment for Lucasfilm.
Andor Star Defends Slow Start
Andor proved to be a huge success for Star Wars, but it wasn't without its critics. Some fans complained about the patience that the show demands in comparison to its faster-paced peers like Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Mandalorian.
Speaking to The Playlist, Andor's leading man Diego Luna has come out in defense of the show's slow pacing, citing it as necessary for a show that explores such gritty and dark themes.
Luna was asked if the overwhelmingly positive reception to the series has sparked more confidence in the cast and crew going into its sophomore season, especially given its slower nature, which is unusual for a Star Wars series.
The actor was quick to point out that confidence wasn't quite the right word, but instead, everyone involved in the show was "relieved" at just how much the audience enjoyed the series. Especially as they were already working on the second season when news of a Golden Globe nomination broke.
"I think confidence is not the word. I think just the relief, I would say, came, but way before the nominations. I remember when I got the news of the Golden Globe nomination, I was already shooting season two, so excited to be back."
Recently, Disney+ has taken to often releasing a group of initial episodes at once. The Obi-Wan Kenobi series saw the first two episodes released together, and when Andor was delayed by a month, the streaming giant chose to release a trio of episodes when the show eventually premiered.
Luna saw this as a "great call" because it gave the audience an idea of the "aim of the show" and allowed viewers to get to know its intriguing cast of characters.
"I think the first great move was to release the first three episodes. We were improvising. It’ll be very nice to say, “Yeah, when we were shooting, we knew the three episodes were going to come out at once,” but it’s completely not true. And I think it was a great, great call because, in a way, the first three episodes show you the aim of the show."
Addressing the show's slow start, Luna admitted that Andor does "ask for patience... because of the complexity" and defended this decision because "there is no other way to get there."
However, the idea to release the first three episodes at once allowed fans to get to that climatic third episode and become invested with the characters that populate the world of Andor.
"It’s a show that, yes, asks for patience, but because of its complexity, there is no other way to get there. And once it delivers, once it gets to that climatic third episode, you are so invested with these characters because of what’s going on."
Luna believes that the third episode was Andor's magic key, but the narrative needs time and patience to get to that point. Releasing all three episodes allowed fans to get to that point more quickly, and become excited for what was to come in subsequent weeks.
The Rogue One star also pointed out that the reaction to the series was "beautiful" and pointed out how many were "celebrating the show for the same reasons [that made Luna decide] to do the show."
It was a "great relief" for the actor that fans enjoyed Andor's realistic, dark, and complicated take on the Star Wars galaxy, and its cast of ambiguous characters and difficult themes.
"For me, it was a great relief because not just people were liking the show, but people were celebrating the show for the same reasons I decided to do the show. It was like, “Hey, you guys are very realistic. It’s dark; it’s complex, it’s unexpected. Characters are ambiguous, and it feels gritty. It’s challenging for audiences.” All of that. The people were celebrating the designs, the music, and the acting. I was like, “Wow, this is great! This is great!” Because many things I started reading in reviews, for example, it’s the stuff we were reminding ourselves of every day on set."
Was Andor a Fluke for Star Wars?
Since its premiere late last year, many fans have begged Disney for more shows with the care and quality boasted by Andor.
Of course, there will always be a place in the galaxy far, far, away for content that doesn't always tackle such difficult themes, but fans have hoped that Andor's success will inspire Disney to give other creatives the freedom and budget to produce high-quality and character-driven content.
However, there have been fears that Andor may have just been a one-off, and fans may not see anything of its kind again.
Of course, a slow burn isn't a prerequisite for a successful show, and neither are dark and gritty themes like those boasted by the Disney+ series.
It's likely that Andor Season 2 will pick up the pace as it leads into Rogue One. In November 2022, showrunner Tony Gilroy said that the sophomore season will be "very different" from Season 1. Whereas the debut season was about Cassian's origins and how he came to fight for the rebel cause, its sequel season will address how he became a leader, and follow around 30 characters as they grow through the subsequent years.
With any luck, the success of Andor will prove to Disney that there is a space in the galaxy for dark and gritty stories.
Of course, Star Wars: Legends was full of darker and more realistic glimpses at the beloved galaxy, and there are still plenty of fans from all ages enjoying the discontinued expanded universe. In some ways, Andor's success comes as no surprise.
The first season of Andor is now streaming on Disney+.