'Andor' Trailer Review: An Epic Look at the Rise of the Rebels

There continues to be no announcement on the release date for a new Star Wars movie, so I'm going to have to get my fix from several upcoming Disney + series. While most of the various series tractor beam the events before or after the original trilogy, we haven't yet seen the formation and rise of the Rebellion in series or movie form yet. Considering we recently saw Obi-Wan Kenobi's renewed commitment to the Force and his own involvement with resistance to the Galactic Empire, Andor is a proper follow-up to that story and a kind-of sequels in ways. Diego Luna's roguish Cassian Andor is a complicated character that should have an intriguing arc leading him to the character we meet in Rogue One. 

I'd be ecstatic if a surprise trailer for the next movie suddenly dropped, but any promise of Star Wars entertainment is a win. Here is the new trailer for Andor followed by my thoughts.

The trailer crafts a tease towards a story that is epic and cinematic. There are promises of spaceship battles, big sweeping set pieces, various unique locales, and big scale ground warfare. Of course, the trailer is designed to give the viewer the idea they are in store for a grand adventure worthy of the big screen. My assumption is that it will not be anywhere near having a tentpole budget that is given to Star Wars pictures, but it will be on the higher end for a TV series. A major positive is showrunner Tony Gilroy has experience being involved in the famous galaxy with his reshoot work on Rogue One.

If I were forced to make a prediction on how much galactic spaceship battles and visual spectacle we're being gifted in the series; I'd say the big battle and 'wow' factor will bookend the show with the 'dogfights' and explosions being a series climax.

The trailer is promising 'old-school' Star Wars action and adventure, but with it being a streaming series that must be parsed over six episodes with what I assume is an entire budget smaller than a tentpole movie. Instead, it will be focused more on political intrigue and the character arcs of Cassian Andor, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly), and Luthen (Stellan Skarsgard).

I'm not trying to disparage this series with my stance that there will be less big scale 'movie moments' and action than is being promised in this trailer. The action shown here looks impressive and jaw-dropping. I love the scene where a giant shadow is cast over the forest with Rebels looking up at the intimidating Star Destroyer. It is a clear call-back to Star Wars: A New Hope (I constantly try to avoid typing the subtitle for the original movie, because that wasn't the title of it during its original release, but I also realize just like my hatred for words franchise, content and brand that it is established enough in movie culture it is easier for my readers if I use them occasionally), but this time used less for kicking off the story thrills and more for a feeling of dread.

The trailer established the Empire is in a state of power and ruling with an iron fist. The citizens have fallen in line and hope is lost. But then it hints that the Empire is overestimating its powers just like every regime and kingdom in history. This causes a door for the Rebellion to enter that leads to its first major victory that connects it with the original trilogy. 

The series is named after Andor, and in theory it is his story, but Hawkeye and The Book of Boba Fett proved a name in the title doesn't mean the star of the series. I am sure the major arc will be his journey of thief with selfish motives growing into a major spy for the Rebellion. I am sure there will be a lot of the oppressed rising up, but Mothma and Luthen will be a major focus as those of privilege against the Galactic Empire.

I am fascinated about figures in prominent positions that risk not only their prestige and rank, but their very life for underground causes they passionately believe. Star Wars has always had echoes of World Wars 2 and especially, the rising movements against Nazi Germany, but history has provided many more historical and modern movements against oppressive regimes that this series can allegorize (Google says its a word). 

I never really connected the obvious dots that Mothma was likely someone of prominence before risking it all by helping to form the Rebels, but it makes sense that it wasn't just Princess Leia who used her power and influence to build an army against the Galactic Empire.

The Mothma story is the most intriguing with a look at how she may be alienated from the elite and what drove her to give it all up to fight against the Empire. Andor already has a solid arc established in Rogue One, and so I am fine with him being secondary at points in the series. It will be fascinating to see how what I am assuming are the three central leads, Luthen, Andor and Mothma, eventually intersect. Luthen not being in anything after this series may mean his fate is more tragic. I am always up for a good sacrifice arc in a Star Wars tale.

There is a part of me that feels like this time period has been mined enough when there are centuries of lore and millions of star systems to explore. But the likelihood this will lean heavy into spy missions and the initial formation of the Rebellion with characters that haven't gotten the spotlight makes this worth getting excited about.

It is great to see Forrest Whitaker back as Saw Gerrera, but based off his billing being rather low, my prediction is that what we see in the trailer may be one of his only scenes. I am not allowing myself to get too excited about his involvement, but would rather be delightfully surprised if he plays a big part. 

Did Andor know Saw in Rogue One? Because if they didn't then that may reveal how much we can expect Saw in a series named after another character. I am sure I just made a Star Wars fan scream over my ignorance regarding this minor issue.

Speaking of scream, I have made sure to lean heavy on the block features on social media, because I would rather live in ignorant bliss over certain Star Wars fans' attitudes and reactions when it comes to this series. There has been toxicity and racism over certain new characters introduced in recent years along with a misguided perception of 'wokeness' harming the galaxy that I love. I always welcome diversity and a long-time franchise going in fresh directions and being more accessible to new fans. The cast here is once again diverse with some characters that I am really interested in seeing develop, and so, I just want to assume everyone is as excited as me about this direction. My goal is to try to avoid the toxic elements in fandom as much as possible going forward.

One of the main antagonists looks to be imperial officer Dedra Meero (Denise Gough), and considering there was not any noticeable female officers by the time the original trilogy begins, I am very interested in how she plays out in the series. The 'no longer canon' books had established that the Emperor was only interested in having male humans in prominent positions to further act as an allegory for Nazi Germany. 

There is a lot of potential for complex storytelling with the Meero character who has risen in rank with an Empire that largely prefers the other gender. I wonder if there will be a story that has her wrestling with defecting or the disparity forcing her to be more ruthless to earn her spot. One of the more intriguing villains in the now non-canon books was Admiral Daala who became one of the central figures after the death of the Emperor, and who long had to battle with the fact she was talented but female in a male dominated Empire. I wonder if this character will take Daala attributes.

There is a chance for the series to dig into ideals and values. A chance to explore what drives a movement and what is deeply valued by individuals. What does one do what their ideals are challenged or when their allegiance is to a group that pushes a message that does not benefit them? Of course, I am not expecting this series to plunge into all these messages and themes, because we're expecting Star Wars to be fun and exciting, but that doesn't mean it can't challenge us and make us think.

This was an excellent trailer and I have now shifted over to Team Excited, when before this trailer, I really didn't care about this series outside of 'I will watch anything Star Wars'. I have high hopes for Andor, and aim to strategically plan my work schedule in September, so that I can actually review this series as the episodes drop. 

What do you think about the trailer and where does this rank in anticipation for upcoming series?