This review contains full spoilers for episode seven of Andor, now available to view on Disney+. To remind yourself of where we left off, check out our Andor episode 6 review.
While he'd love nothing more than to move on and switch focus back to finding his sister, the stark realisation that Stormtroopers now patrol the streets of his hometown brings back unwelcome memories. It's this coupled with a heartbreaking scene with his proxy mother, Maarva, that is the episode's standout moment. Fiona Shaw is outstanding as she tearfully tells of her love for him and her hate for the Empire. Two of the rawest emotions may finally be what unlocks Cassian's mind to what he needs to do. He's the match, his mother's pain the matchbox, and the Empire is ready to burn.
The tonal crash that beckons in Cassian's resort getaway is a stark one, but a welcome dash of levity in the context of the episode. Nicholas Britell once again stakes his claim for MVP with an energizing hit of the closest we've got to dance music in Star Wars since Figrin D'an laid down his woodwinds. No matter how much Andor tries to escape his troubles, however, we're once again shown that destiny is inescapable as the Empire's grasp finds him again. The walls of the maze are yet again closing around Cassian. We'll have to wait to see how he finds his way out of this one.
Naturally, after last week's daring raid on the Aldhani Imperial base, there was going to be some fallout, and that's exactly what this bold and beautiful episode, entitled \"Announcement\" focuses on.
The fact that this episode relies so heavily on scenes that are long, complex and require perfectly polished dialogue is testament to the overall quality of this show. The pace has been once again methodically slowed to that resembling an intense Cold War thriller and it's handled beautifully. Moreover, the score by Nicholas Britell is particularly prominent and adds so much to each scene in such a subtle manner. And in fact, volume one of the soundtrack, that incorporates music from episodes 1 to 4, is now available (opens in new tab) on music streaming services.
\"Andor\" continues to excel and this is the best episode so far. The visuals are incredible and don't stretch the imagination to breaking point, there's virtually nothing in the way of deliberate, subliminal toy placement, the plot is intriguing, the pacing is worthy of investing in a defibrillator, the story is clever and the dialogue is exceptional. Treat yourself and dive headfirst into this show, if you haven't already.
The first season of Andor premiered on Disney+ on September 21, 2022, with three episodes, with the rest of the season's episodes being released weekly through November 23. It received critical acclaim, with praise toward its writing, directing, performances, action sequences, musical score, and the darker, more mature tone compared to previous Star Wars projects. A second season is currently being filmed in London. It will conclude the series, and lead into the events of Rogue One.
Disney CEO Bob Iger announced in November 2017 that Disney and Lucasfilm were developing live-action Star Wars television series for the new streaming service Disney+. One of these series was revealed a year later to be a prequel to the film Rogue One (2016). The series was described as a spy thriller show focused on the character Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna reprising his role from the film. Production was expected to begin in 2019 after Luna completed filming the second season of Narcos: Mexico. Jared Bush originally developed the series, writing a pilot script and series bible for the project.
By the end of November 2018, Stephen Schiff was serving as showrunner and executive producer of the series. Tony Gilroy, who was credited as a co-writer on Rogue One and oversaw extensive reshoots for the film, joined the series by early 2019 when he discussed the first story details with Luna. In July 2019, Rick Famuyiwa was in early talks to direct several episodes after doing the same for the first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian. Gilroy's involvement was revealed that October, when he was set to write the first episode, direct multiple episodes, and work alongside Schiff; Gilroy had officially replaced Schiff as showrunner by April 2020. Six weeks of pre-production for the series had taken place in the United Kingdom by then, but this was halted and production on the series delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pre-production had begun again by September ahead of a planned filming start the next month. At that time, Gilroy, who is based in New York, chose not to travel to the UK for production on the series due to the pandemic, and was therefore unable to direct the series' first episode. Instead, the UK-based Toby Haynes, who was already \"high on the list\" of potential directors for the series, was hired to direct the first three episodes. Gilroy would remain executive producer and showrunner. Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced the series' title, Andor, in December 2020, along with its 2022 release date. Luna was revealed to be executive producing the series, which was set to consist of 12 episodes. In February 2021, Ben Caron and Susanna White were set as additional directors. Sanne Wohlenberg and Michelle Rejwan also executive produce.
In February 2022, star Stellan Skarsgård indicated that the series would have a second season, with filming for it beginning in late 2022. That April, cinematographer Adriano Goldman said there had originally been plans for the series to last five seasons, but he believed those had changed and it was now expected to last three. At Star Wars Celebration a month later, Lucasfilm confirmed a 12-episode second season. Gilroy explained that the original five-season plan was deemed to be \"physically impossible\" due to the series' scale, and instead they realized that they could end the series with one more season that led directly into the events of Rogue One.
The first season begins five years before Rogue One and tells one year of Andor's story when he first becomes a revolutionary. The next four years are then covered by the second season, which leads directly into the events of the film. Gilroy approached the two seasons as two-halves of a novel and described the show beginning as \"a very simple, almost film noir situation for a thief [Andor]. A skeevy kind of guy gets in big trouble, tries to sell something he has to save his ass\". Luna said the series was about the building of a revolution, and said it was important to explore \"the revolutionary we can become to change things, to stop war, to make this world a livable place\" which he felt was relevant to real-world issues. Gilroy stated, \"This guy gave his life for the galaxy, right I mean, he consciously, soberly, without vanity or recognition, sacrificed himself. Who does that\" He wanted to explore that idea in the first season, beginning with Andor \"being really revolution-averse, and cynical, and lost, and kind of a mess\". The season shows the destruction of Andor's homeworld when he was a boy and is then based on Andor's adopted planet, which becomes radicalized against the Empire.
Luna and Gilroy said the series was also about \"how the disenfranchised can stand up to effect change\". Co-star Fiona Shaw described Gilroy's political commentary in the scripts as a \"great, scurrilous [take] on the Trumpian world\", adding that \"our world is exploding in different places right now, people's rights are disappearing, and Andor reflects that. [In the show] the Empire is taking over, and it feels like the same thing is happening in reality, too\". Meanwhile, Gough has stated that her character arc in the series deals with gender politics, while Gilroy explained that \"We have a very, very, very deep dive into the Imperial side of the story\". After starting with Andor's story in the first three episodes, the fourth begins to expand the scope of the series to include the rest of its large ensemble cast, such as Rebel leader Mon Mothma, whose path will cross with Andor's in the second season. Gilroy felt Star Wars fans would see Mothma in a new light after watching the series, and added that there were key characters and events in the series that would be different or \"more interesting\" than fans previously realized: \"What you've been told, what's on Wookieepedia... is really all wrong\".
Diego Luna was confirmed to be reprising his role as Cassian Andor from Rogue One with the series' announcement in November 2018. In April 2019, Alan Tudyk was announced as also reprising his Rogue One role of K-2SO. A year later, Stellan Skarsgård, Kyle Soller, Genevieve O'Reilly, and Denise Gough joined the cast. O'Reilly reprises her role of Mon Mothma from Rogue One and other Star Wars media. Adria Arjona joined the cast in August 2020, and Fiona Shaw was revealed to also be appearing in December, when Tudyk was not included in an official cast list. A month later, Tudyk confirmed that he would no longer be appearing in the first season due to Gilroy's story changes but he could appear in potential future seasons. Robert Emms was cast in a supporting role in June 2021, when Skarsgård revealed that Forest Whitaker was reprising his role as Saw Gerrera from Rogue One. In February 2022, David Hayman confirmed that he had a role in the series after being spotted by fans during filming. The first season has over 200 named cast members and over 6,000 extras. Benjamin Bratt joined the cast for Season 2 after being spotted with the crew in Valencia.
Filming began in London, England, at the end of November 2020, with the production based at Pinewood Studios. The series was filmed under the working title Pilgrim, and was the first live-action Star Wars series to not make use of the StageCraft digital background technology. This was done because the scripts were more suited to being filmed on locations and large sets, and Luna noted that taking a different filming approach for the series made it similar to Rogue One, whose filming style was distinct from other Star Wars films. Toby Haynes directed the first three episodes, with Ben Caron, Susanna White, and Haynes each directing another \"block\" of three episodes. Jonathan Freeman and Adriano Goldman served as cinematographers. The series was previously reported to begin filming in 2019, and then June 2020, but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Both UK and U.S. COVID-19 protocols were followed on set, including daily temperature checks and tests for COVID-19 three times a week. Filming at Pinewood Studios was expected to end in July 2021. 59ce067264