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Star Wars: Andor


JohnC
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This looks gorgeous, especially the brutalist deep-dives into the guts of Coruscant. That bit where Space Gorman went to visit his mum was spectacular - as if the Barbican had metastasised and taken over a whole planet. 
 

I recognised one location early on - the shot of the Imperial lady when they first cut to Coruscant, where she’s walking along a plaza under an elevated walkway. It was filmed in Canary Wharf, just outside the entrance to the Crossrail station. It made me wonder why they even bothered to use a real location, as the walkway and a strip of ground about ten feet across is the only real bit - everything else in shot (which is quite a lot) is special effects. It looked great, but I am curious as to why they didn’t just film her on a green screen and do the whole thing in FX - I struggle to believe that tiny area between the old FCA building and a restaurant was critical to the shot’s success. 

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21 minutes ago, K said:

Yeah, I don't quite get the "it doesn't feel like Star Wars' criticisms either. To me, it really brings to mind the kind of bleak utilitarianism of the first half hour of Star Wars, where craggy people in well-worn clothes and seventies British character actor faces buy dirty equipment from a scrapyard in a desert. The planet Andor starts out on could easily exist in the same universe as Mos Eisley - it's got the same vibe of desperate people quietly going about their business. And the focus on administration and authoritarianism in the Coruscant bits fits nicely with George Lucas' dislike for bureaucrats and jobsworths.

 

The more recent Star Wars films seem to use Return of the Jedi as their model, with lots of humour and derring-do, but this seems to complement the tone of the original film quite nicely, with its mix of impersonal, monolithic Imperial megastructures, and grubby people in the slums trying to make ends meet. It takes it further than the original film did, but it's hardly inconsistent.

 

Fantastic post! Absoutely. A great observation of the tone of this and I absolutely see that tone in ANH. 

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1 hour ago, K said:

Yeah, I don't quite get the "it doesn't feel like Star Wars' criticisms either. To me, it really brings to mind the kind of bleak utilitarianism of the first half hour of Star Wars, where craggy people in well-worn clothes and seventies British character actor faces buy dirty equipment from a scrapyard in a desert. The planet Andor starts out on could easily exist in the same universe as Mos Eisley - it's got the same vibe of desperate people quietly going about their business. And the focus on administration and authoritarianism in the Coruscant bits fits nicely with George Lucas' dislike for bureaucrats and jobsworths.

 

The more recent Star Wars films seem to use Return of the Jedi as their model, with lots of humour and derring-do, but this seems to complement the tone of the original film quite nicely, with its mix of impersonal, monolithic Imperial megastructures, and grubby people in the slums trying to make ends meet. It takes it further than the original film did, but it's hardly inconsistent.

 

One of my favourite scenes in A New Hope is the one where Tarkin drones on about regional governors, so this series is catnip to me. It says something that we've got a heist and a dinner party being set up for the next episode and I'm looking forward to the dinner party a lot more. I'm hoping it'll be like the scene in the Dune novel that unfortunately didn't make it into the recent film.

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13 hours ago, K said:

That bit where Space Gorman went to visit his mum was spectacular - as if the Barbican had metastasised and taken over a whole planet. 

 

 

Also, the music in this bit is lovely. It reminds me of the haunting soundtracks to Moon and Cypher. Love that stuff.

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They're doing a great job of masking the joins to the extent that I have no idea what is a real location, what is CG and what is a set. I assumed that terminal was a real location but wouldn't have been surprised to find out it was 95% CG. I assume Mon Mothma's house was a set? It looked amazing. I suppose, in answer to @K's question about why shoot on location and then paint out 95% of it, perhaps the final shot ends up just 'feeling' like she's walking through a busy outdoor concourse, because she was. It's sometimes hard to shake the effect that everyone is in a little space surrounding by CG when they're in the Volume. That said, the StageCraft stuff is brilliant for fights on top of fast-moving vehicles - both The Mandalorian and Boba Fett had stellar scenes on an Imperial convoy and train respectively.

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The criticisms that it “doesn’t feel like Star Wars”, what Star Wars are they talking about? The OT feels nothing like the PT, Clone Wars feels nothing like either of those, and the books and comics have their own sub-sets entirely. EU fans tend to be a bit sceptical of the new canon, and High Republic readers are off doing their own thing. Same with the many canon comics.

 

For me, Andor feels like Rogue One and some of the more interesting EU novels, while BoB and Kenobi felt more like spin-off comics. 

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8 hours ago, womblingfree said:

The criticisms that it “doesn’t feel like Star Wars”, what Star Wars are they talking about? The OT feels nothing like the PT, Clone Wars feels nothing like either of those, and the books and comics have their own sub-sets entirely. EU fans tend to be a bit sceptical of the new canon, and High Republic readers are off doing their own thing. Same with the many canon comics.

 

For me, Andor feels like Rogue One and some of the more interesting EU novels, while BoB and Kenobi felt more like spin-off comics. 


I’d frame it like this. A New Hope is: the hero swinging across a chasm while exciting music plays, the princess gives him a kiss for good luck and laser beams dance harmlessly around them. 
 

Andor is: shooting dead a crying, desperate man in cold blood while space Nazis plan their execution quotas. 
 

There’s an enormous tonal gap between the two. I don’t think I’m criticising the show for it, just recognising that the first three episodes had little to tie them to the franchise (except the main character), to the point where I wonder if it started life as a script for another sci-fi show. 

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29 minutes ago, Popo said:


I’d frame it like this. A New Hope is: the hero swinging across a chasm while exciting music plays, the princess gives him a kiss for good luck and laser beams dance harmlessly around them. 
 

Andor is: shooting dead a crying, desperate man in cold blood while space Nazis plan their execution quotas. 
 

There’s an enormous tonal gap between the two. I don’t think I’m criticising the show for it, just recognising that the first three episodes had little to tie them to the franchise (except the main character), to the point where I wonder if it started life as a script for another sci-fi show. 

Or, A New Hope is a smuggler being cornered in a seedy bar by a gangster and in order to escape he shoots the gangster point blank from under the table and walks off not giving a shit. 

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Enormous tonal gap my arse. Darth Vader murder Captain Antilles in cold blood, the Troopers execute Jawa’s, Owen and Beru,  Mos Eisley is a scum hole, Han kills Greedo, The good guys murder an endless number of storm troopers, Vader chops an old friend in half, Moff Tarkin sends tie fighters out to die to make the escape look real, the rebels sacrifice themselves to the cause, the Death Star destructions kills thousands upon thousands of people…if you can see the darkness in that well I’m lost.  
 

If anything all the films that reflect the main characters as hero’s without fault have been shite. It’s the different shades that make things interesting which is why Rogue One and now Andor are fantastic.

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There is a tonal gap between the two though - despite the all murders in SW, they are addressed in a very different way. Han kills Greedo with a casual glance (and a blaster), Luke isn't overly fazed my seeing his Aunt and Uncle's grisly remains. It's essentially a space fairly tale and fairly tales can be pretty dark but they don't dwell on the darkness.

 

Andor would handle those moments in a very different way. There is room for all different tones in an expanded universe. 

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7 hours ago, superfunk said:

Or, A New Hope is a smuggler being cornered in a seedy bar by a gangster and in order to escape he shoots the gangster point blank from under the table and walks off not giving a shit. 


Surely you recognise the difference in the character portrayals between Han and Andor? The example you give is exactly my point - Han is a roguish adventurer, Andor is an unprincipled killer. 
 

You don’t need to be a student of film to get this, it’s all up there on the screen. Ask the man on the street and he’ll tell you Star Wars is fun, but Andor is dark. 

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There's definitely a different feel/tone/whatever to this opposed to pretty much every other Star Wars screen production but as far as I'm concerned, that's good.  There's plenty of room for variety.

 

Not sure what I prefer TBH - I bloody loved Obi Wan for the fan service (not ashamed to admit this - it was ace), the Clone Wars/Rebels provided tons of superbly entertaining episodes, The Mandalorian gave me some of the best TV moments in recent years (season 2 finale - *chef's kiss*) and now we've got this much grittier take on the galaxy.

 

I'm just enjoying it all TBH.  Though I REALLY want a live action version of the High Republic and the Darth Bane saga....

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4 hours ago, Popo said:


Surely you recognise the difference in the character portrayals between Han and Andor? The example you give is exactly my point - Han is a roguish adventurer, Andor is an unprincipled killer. 

Yes, yes of course I can recognise the difference. I was just making the point that Andor is taking the darker, grittier elements of what was always in Star Wars and running with it. It’s not a huge tonal difference; just Star Wars…front a certain point of view. 

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4 hours ago, Boothjan said:

There's definitely a different feel/tone/whatever to this opposed to pretty much every other Star Wars screen production but as far as I'm concerned, that's good.  There's plenty of room for variety.

 

Not sure what I prefer TBH - I bloody loved Obi Wan for the fan service (not ashamed to admit this - it was ace), the Clone Wars/Rebels provided tons of superbly entertaining episodes, The Mandalorian gave me some of the best TV moments in recent years (season 2 finale - *chef's kiss*) and now we've got this much grittier take on the galaxy.

 

I'm just enjoying it all TBH.  Though I REALLY want a live action version of the High Republic and the Darth Bane saga....

Totally agree. I just love getting semi regular new Star Wars stuff! I haven't read any High Republic - maybe that should change...

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On 02/10/2022 at 21:17, K said:

This looks gorgeous, especially the brutalist deep-dives into the guts of Coruscant. That bit where Space Gorman went to visit his mum was spectacular - as if the Barbican had metastasised and taken over a whole planet. 
 

I recognised one location early on - the shot of the Imperial lady when they first cut to Coruscant, where she’s walking along a plaza under an elevated walkway. It was filmed in Canary Wharf, just outside the entrance to the Crossrail station. It made me wonder why they even bothered to use a real location, as the walkway and a strip of ground about ten feet across is the only real bit - everything else in shot (which is quite a lot) is special effects. It looked great, but I am curious as to why they didn’t just film her on a green screen and do the whole thing in FX - I struggle to believe that tiny area between the old FCA building and a restaurant was critical to the shot’s success. 


Canary Wharf is an amazing location.

 

Plus light has a big part to play. 
 

Green screen looks like green screen 

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My God, episode 4 was fucking brilliant.

 

What a bloody show…

 

Loved Skarsgard in both personas, loved space Scotland, loved Mon Mothma’s scenes, loved knobhead’s return to his Mum’s flat, adored every ISB scene (as someone who still has the Imperial Sourcebook for the old D6 Star Wars RPG from West End Games, those scenes cut deep, man).

 

But it all pales to nothing next to Mon Mothma’s fucking Sky Car. Holy shit that’s one of the most beautiful objects I’ve ever seen.

 

Just fucking look at it…

 

5A4508BB-6F52-4A01-A315-CCD1B062889E.jpeg

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Another piece of retrofitted Earth tech appeared this week.

 

Spoiler

The navigation device, or as it’s also known, the Polaroid SX-70 instant camera:

 

D6B2ED99-F826-4B7C-AFE9-80B49ACE5281.jpeg.852ae90cbfeb4811234d437d2091ac24.jpeg

 

2032261890_SWSX-702.thumb.JPG.133312c863c029576b3cc17406c3d160.JPG

 

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Another excellent episode. I thought that, after last week, this week would have been 

Spoiler

the heist. But instead it was more steady build up, more character building, slowly ramping anticipation and tension as the payoff approaches. I so wanted to watch what happens next straight away.

 

Also, I love the way that a single TIE fighter on patrol feels so threatening here.

 

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This is just bloody awesome isn't it? I'm finding myself hanging on every word in every scene, like I do in a proper well-written drama, rather than having to mentally gloss over ropey dialogue and acting, as is the case with some other Disney+ shows.
 

Spoiler

The rebel stuff was much better this week - there was some genuine tension and I feel really invested in the little gang now. The main downside was that, again, it's clearly the middle act of a large 2hr 'episode', and by the halfway point I could tell I was going to have to wait another week to see events come to a head.

 

Interesting to see that Mon Mothma has a daughter. I wondered if she'd have avoided having kids, given her decision to work against the Emperor. Perhaps the kid was born before Palpatine seized full control. I wonder if her husband is gathering information on her? He was acting pretty suspicious in the speeder. Also, did we miss the dinner party??

 

I'd say this is definitely the best space-based TV show I've seen since Battlestar Galactica season 1.

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I tell you what, that was

 

Spoiler

fantastic setup episode. It really sold the tension in the characters leading up to the heist, fleshed out what was happening with the other characters as well like Mon Mothma's tension with her husband, and then Security Man's obsession with Andor.

 

Also, that was probably the most effective couple of shots for making a Tie Fighter seem like a genuine threat than any Star Wars thing has ever done. And that includes the action sequence in Mando where two of them show up in that Sorcerer inspired episode.

 

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The pacing feels a bit off to me in this, last episode seemed to imply a sense of urgency that wasn't here this week.

 

I thought the dinner party was going to be a set up for a dune style political dinner party intrigue but I'm guessing it was just an example of Mon Moffma (?) having a douche husband. 

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Great episode. Ratcheted up the anticipation nicely.

 

I really want to punch Perrin Mothma - smug prick.

 

More real world things…

 

Spoiler

D082139E-9C5B-490E-AC04-8306DD28B337.thumb.jpeg.ee84f05f9974f96638711086d391bab8.jpeg

 

That’s an aircraft galley.

 

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God I love this series so much, more by the episode.

 

Somebody wiser than me put it like this: most people saw the Death Star conference room scene, saw Vader choking people out and said "fuck yeah, this is awesome".

 

The Gilroys saw the same scene, looked at everything else in it, and said "fuck yeah, this is awesome".

 

The way this fleshes out what it's like to be Imperial / Rebel gives everything more meaning.

Spoiler

And bonus points for making TIEs scary as hell.

 

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