“All in all, Star Wars: Andor delivered another strong addition to the show this week. Next week’s episode is sure to be another enthralling doozy” says Annlyel James
Star Wars is known for many things; inspiring heroes, iconic villains, epic battles, cool weapons, and lovable aliens. There is one thing, however, that I don’t often find myself saying while watching all of these great stories. And that is, “Wow, look at this acting.” I would like to immediately clarify that I don’t think actors who have roles in Star Wars are bad actors because that is quite the contrary. And yet, Andor has displayed another echelon of acting that I haven’t quite seen from anything else in this franchise.
This week’s episode thrived on quiet moments fueled by character development sometimes through nothing more than facial expressions. The entire cast has brought such a somber vitality to this series with their individualistic missions. Each character feels like the actor knows their entire backstory up to the moment of this series. Each scene is steeped in purpose, and every line is potent. I was particularly blown away by Kyle Soller, Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgard, and of course, Forest Whitaker.
Kyle Soller’s Syril Karn is one of the unluckiest people I’ve ever seen in this franchise. His story has been an absolute pain to watch as he tries to prove his loyalty to the Empire via his dedicated service. But with every advance, he gets crushed a little further under the Empire’s snobbish impertinence. Are we seeing the birth of a new rebel? One who will play an even more important part leading into Season 2 like Agent Kallus in Rebels? Or is this cringe-worthy storyline of his going to conclude in him becoming an even stauncher Imperial? I can’t wait to see how his story pans out over the next few episodes.
Diego Luna, who was already my favorite character in Rogue One, has brought even more depth to Cassian through his unwavering silence. He’s not a talkative character. In fact, he’s not a very likable guy at that. He’s not a charming hero but instead is the type of fellow you really wouldn’t want to know. Tragedy has forged his storyline since childhood. Turning him into a man who kills first and asks questions later.
His performance in this week’s episode, “Narkina 5“, was nothing short of brilliant as we see him assuming the terrifying and demeaning role of a prisoner. Even though this turn of events in his storyline contradicts a line in Rogue One when he tells Chirrut Imwe that it’s his first time in a cell, the prison scenes were fascinating to behold. His horror through his facial expressions was so palpable. But as the episode shifts into a 30-day time jump, you can almost see him giving in. Becoming a mindless robot like the Empire wants as he completes dayshift after dayshift.
What will be the moment that steers him onto the full path of rebellion and how will we see him transform from this quiet criminal that we see now into the rebel captain we know in Rogue One? I cannot wait to find out.
Stellan Skarsgard is already a great actor. But this series has made me realize more and more just how good of an actor he is. The way he approaches every scene is utterly sublime. Luthen Rael is undoubtedly one of the most fascinating characters I’ve seen in this franchise as he steers the Rebellion from the shadows. His determination to see the end of the Empire and the way he’s going about it is something we haven’t seen in this franchise. And that makes his storyline all the more refreshing. If Skarsgard isn’t nominated for an Emmy for his performance I will be royally upset because he is crushing it in this role.
And last but not least, I have to highlight Forest Whitaker as my favorite part of this episode today. Whitaker is already an Oscar-winning actor and for good reason. But maybe he can finally get an Emmy for his performance in this show. In less than five minutes the amount of presence he brought to this series as Saw Gerrera was nothing short of powerful. From his delivery of lines to his facial twitches, he portrays Gerrera to utter perfection, convincingly reminding us that he’s playing a character who’s been fighting an uphill battle against oppression for decades.
I already thought his role in Rogue One was great. But he is incredible in this series. Absolutely mindblowing.
All in all, Andor delivered another strong addition to the show this week. This three-episode arc’s conclusion is a little bit more difficult to decipher but I know this. Next week’s episode is sure to be another enthralling doozy that’ll have me utterly floored by Gilroy’s storytelling yet again.
I couldn’t be happier to be a Star Wars fan right now.
Star Wars: Andor is streaming exclusively on Disney Plus now.
Annlyel James is a Senior Correspondent of The Future of the Force. She is passionate about Star Wars and Marvel but loves a wide variety of movie genres. Aside from her role with Future of the Force she also writes for her blog: annlyelonline. Follow her on Twitter where she channels the Force frequently!