Trying to step into a new show within an existing franchise can be a daunting task. In the world of Star Wars, this has been virtually impossible. The Mandalorian started as a story that type of stood on its own, but eventually it made more and more references to past movies and shows from its existing universe that a newbie just trying to keep up with Mando and Baby Yoda would probably end up feeling pretty lost. If you hadn’t seen the Star Wars movies, something like Obi Wan Kenobi would basically be a non-starter.
With Andor, The most complex and adult-oriented Star Wars show on Disney+ to date, heading into its 12-episode Season 1 (of two planned), the question comes up: can I watch this show without watching multiple movies and shows? as advanced search? We’ll get to that a bit later, but showrunner Tony Gilroy has proven in the past to be a master at telling isolated stories (he wrote and directed the brilliant movie Michael Clayton) and building his own worlds (he wrote the original Thick headed trilogy), and he does it again with Andor.
Andor is pretty good at its smart plot and rich characters that, at least initially, don’t need to depend on Easter eggs, cameos, and references to other events in the Star Wars universe. Its main concern, as it should always be, is to tell a good story.
And, so even the most novice Star Wars fans can enjoy Andor, which, in addition to Gilroy’s excellent work as showrunner, also benefits from superb leading performances from Diego Luna, Stellan Skarsgård, Fiona Shaw and Adria Arjona.
In short? It’s a good show. Whether you’re a Star Wars fanatic or have no idea what the Death Star is, you should watch it.
can i watch Andor without having seen A thug or other Star Wars movies or shows?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes. While the events of Andor will lead to what happens in A thug (after two 12-episode seasons), all the movie will give you is knowledge of what to expect. Andor is a Star Wars experience largely free of Easter eggs, which is rare. Past Disney+ Star Wars shows, like The Boba Fett Book, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even a lot of The Mandalorian have required prior knowledge of the Galaxy Far, Far, Away; Andor just tell a cool story.
Flow Andor here
Now, of course, the context of the wider Star Wars universe. will be help paint the picture of what exactly is going on in the world here. Andor takes place a few years before the events of RogueOne, which occurs about 19 years after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and leads directly to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. It’s a time when the Jedi were largely exterminated after Emperor Palpatine declared Order 66, and Anakin Skywalker was completely engulfed by the dark side, becoming Darth Vader.
It is also about 5 years after the events of Obi-Wan Kenobi, which followed Ewan McGregor’s titular Jedi during his years in hiding, when we knew he was watching over young Luke Skywalker, but the show let us know he also had a relationship with young Princess Leia.
But all of that is exactly what we said: the context. Since Andor takes place before RogueOne, you won’t need to know anything before watching. The show, so far, has been essentially free of Easter eggs; if a character like Ben Mendelsohn’s villainous Orson Krennic (from A thug) appears, you might miss who it is, but in terms of the story, you won’t miss a thing.
And while cameos, references and Easter eggs are always fun for those connected, we shouldn’t lose sight of why we love these kinds of projects – and Star Wars in particular – in the first place: good storytelling. .
And Andor is undoubtedly one of the best, even if you don’t get a quick glimpse of Darth Vader’s lightsaber or Jar Jar’s earlobes.
Evan is the cultural editor of Men’s Health, with bookmarks in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine and VICE. He likes weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he does.