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The backstory of a thief

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WORLD Radio - The backstory of a thief

Disney+ has released a prequel series that takes the Star Wars franchise into darker territory


Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, September 23rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. This week a new Star Wars series debuted on Disney+. It’s called Andor and it’s a prequel to a prequel.

Rogue One from 2016 was the prequel to the original Star Wars blockbuster from 1977 and Andor is a prequel to Rogue One. Got it?

BROWN: Ha! Glad you cleared that up. But even though it sounds like more of the same, our arts and media editor Collin Garbarino says don’t expect more of the same.

Andor takes Star Wars in a more adult direction.

AUDIO: [Theme music]

COLLIN GARBARINO: Andor begins with the title character Cassian Andor walking through futuristic city streets in the rain. The light has a neon-blue cast, and the buildings have a gritty techno feel. This opening scene feels like an homage to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner. And it signals that Andor is taking the Star Wars universe into darker territory.

Doorman: Wait there. No weapons. No comms. No credit. No nonsense. In you go. Upstairs lounge is closed tonight.

The story is set five years before the events of Rogue One and Star Wars: A New Hope. Actor Diego Luna returns to the role of Cassian Andor—one of the heroes in Rogue One who stole the Death Star plans. In this series we’ll see where he comes from, and how he gets roped into battling the empire. Part of his quest is obviously personal.

Hostess: There was a girl from Kenari, but she left several months ago. We have a lovely lady here tonight from Tahina who’s got those big dark eyes you’re looking for.

Andor: This girl from Kenari, any idea where she went?

Hostess: What are you? Seriously. Boyfriend? Husband?

Andor: I’m looking for my sister.

Hostess: Well, whoever she is, she’s not here. She disappeared. People come and go. You should leave.

Tony Gilroy is Andor’s showrunner. He wrote the script for Rogue One, and he also helped create the Jason Bourne movies. In this series, Gilroy’s giving me the kind of Star Wars I like best. I’m not interested in space wizards with laser swords. I’m here for the smugglers and space junk—and the droids.

Andor: Listen to me. It’s important. I know it takes a lot of energy, but can you make a lie for me?

B2EMO: I can lie. I have adequate power reserves.

Andor: Don’t tell anyone you saw me. Don’t tell anybody you know where I am.

B2EMO: That’s two lies.

Andor: Let’s have both.

B2EMO: I will have to recharge at home.

I’ll be ecstatic if we can get through all twelve episodes of the first season of Andor without seeing a single lightsaber.

No one was clamoring to see Cassian Andor’s background, and the series is already retracing some of the character’s development arc. But we’re seeing new corners of the galaxy, and we also get a nuanced look at the bad guys. Some believe in what they’re doing. Some just want to get through the day.

Boss: When I said bad timing, I wasn’t referring to the fact that you spent all night worrying this. I meant that I am on my way this very morning to an imperial Regional Command review, where I’ll be asked to make a report about our crime rates, and the goal of that speech, should you ever be asked to deliver it, is brevity. Minimizing the time the Empire spends thinking about Preox-Morlana benefits our superiors and, by extension, everyone here at the Pre-Mor Security Inspection team, which at the moment includes you.

Cassian Andor isn’t a hero. He’s a thief. But he and his thieving friends care about each other. They’re trying to scrape by in a bad situation. Luna strikes a good balance with his portrayal of this morally compromised protagonist. Stellan Skarsgård is also great as the man who will recruit Cassian for the rebellion.

Luthen: I’ll give you another thousand credits to tell me how you got it.

Andor: Another thousand?

Luthen: Done. How?

Andor: You just walk in like you belong. Takes more than that, doesn’t it?

Ador: What? To steal from the Empire? What do you need? A uniform, some dirty hands and an Imperial tool kit. They’re so proud of themselves, they don’t even care. They’re so fat and satisfied, they can’t imagine it.

Luthen: Can’t imagine what?

Andor: That someone like me would ever get inside their house, walk their floors, spit in their food, take their gear.

Luthen: The arrogance is remarkable, isn’t it?

I really like many of Gilroy’s choices in this series, and it’s far and away better than the Obi-Wan series we got earlier this year. But parents need to be aware that this series isn’t kid friendly like the rest of the Star Wars franchise. It’s rated TV-14 for more than sci-fi action. In the second episode an unmarried couple head to the bedroom after some kissing. And in the third episode we hear a four-letter word uttered for the first time in the Star Wars universe.

Bix: You’ve been holding out on me.

Andor: And you’ve been skimming off the top. So let’s not get emotional.

Despite forcing an enslaved Leia into a metal bikini, up to this point Star Wars remained squeaky clean when compared to other mega franchises. But Andor is a serious, gritty series set in a corner of the galaxy that’s forgotten hope and redemption exist. It’s an interesting story, but I kind of wish it had been an original series rather than a Star Wars spin off. Star Wars loses some of its wonder and magic when earthling expletives enter that galaxy far, far away.

I’m Collin Garbarino.

MYRNA BROWN, HOST: Today is Friday, September 23rd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day.

Good morning. I’m Myrna Brown.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. This week a new Star Wars series debuted on Disney+. It’s called Andor and it’s a prequel to a prequel.

Rogue One from 2016 was the prequel to the original Star Wars blockbuster from 1977 and Andor is a prequel to Rogue One. Got it?

BROWN: Ha! Glad you cleared that up. But even though it sounds like more of the same, our arts and media editor Collin Garbarino says don’t expect more of the same.

Andor takes Star Wars in a more adult direction.

AUDIO: [Theme music]

COLLIN GARBARINO: Andor begins with the title character Cassian Andor walking through futuristic city streets in the rain. The light has a neon-blue cast, and the buildings have a gritty techno feel. This opening scene feels like an homage to the sci-fi classic Blade Runner. And it signals that Andor is taking the Star Wars universe into darker territory.

Doorman: Wait there. No weapons. No comms. No credit. No nonsense. In you go. Upstairs lounge is closed tonight.

The story is set five years before the events of Rogue One and Star Wars: A New Hope. Actor Diego Luna returns to the role of Cassian Andor—one of the heroes in Rogue One who stole the Death Star plans. In this series we’ll see where he comes from, and how he gets roped into battling the empire. Part of his quest is obviously personal.

Hostess: There was a girl from Kenari, but she left several months ago. We have a lovely lady here tonight from Tahina who’s got those big dark eyes you’re looking for.

Andor: This girl from Kenari, any idea where she went?

Hostess: What are you? Seriously. Boyfriend? Husband?

Andor: I’m looking for my sister.

Hostess: Well, whoever she is, she’s not here. She disappeared. People come and go. You should leave.

Tony Gilroy is Andor’s showrunner. He wrote the script for Rogue One, and he also helped create the Jason Bourne movies. In this series, Gilroy’s giving me the kind of Star Wars I like best. I’m not interested in space wizards with laser swords. I’m here for the smugglers and space junk—and the droids.

Andor: Listen to me. It’s important. I know it takes a lot of energy, but can you make a lie for me?

B2EMO: I can lie. I have adequate power reserves.

Andor: Don’t tell anyone you saw me. Don’t tell anybody you know where I am.

B2EMO: That’s two lies.

Andor: Let’s have both.

B2EMO: I will have to recharge at home.

I’ll be ecstatic if we can get through all twelve episodes of the first season of Andor without seeing a single lightsaber.

No one was clamoring to see Cassian Andor’s background, and the series is already retracing some of the character’s development arc. But we’re seeing new corners of the galaxy, and we also get a nuanced look at the bad guys. Some believe in what they’re doing. Some just want to get through the day.

Boss: When I said bad timing, I wasn’t referring to the fact that you spent all night worrying this. I meant that I am on my way this very morning to an imperial Regional Command review, where I’ll be asked to make a report about our crime rates, and the goal of that speech, should you ever be asked to deliver it, is brevity. Minimizing the time the Empire spends thinking about Preox-Morlana benefits our superiors and, by extension, everyone here at the Pre-Mor Security Inspection team, which at the moment includes you.

Cassian Andor isn’t a hero. He’s a thief. But he and his thieving friends care about each other. They’re trying to scrape by in a bad situation. Luna strikes a good balance with his portrayal of this morally compromised protagonist. Stellan Skarsgård is also great as the man who will recruit Cassian for the rebellion.

Luthen: I’ll give you another thousand credits to tell me how you got it.

Andor: Another thousand?

Luthen: Done. How?

Andor: You just walk in like you belong. Takes more than that, doesn’t it?

Ador: What? To steal from the Empire? What do you need? A uniform, some dirty hands and an Imperial tool kit. They’re so proud of themselves, they don’t even care. They’re so fat and satisfied, they can’t imagine it.

Luthen: Can’t imagine what?

Andor: That someone like me would ever get inside their house, walk their floors, spit in their food, take their gear.

Luthen: The arrogance is remarkable, isn’t it?

I really like many of Gilroy’s choices in this series, and it’s far and away better than the Obi-Wan series we got earlier this year. But parents need to be aware that this series isn’t kid friendly like the rest of the Star Wars franchise. It’s rated TV-14 for more than sci-fi action. In the second episode an unmarried couple head to the bedroom after some kissing. And in the third episode we hear a four-letter word uttered for the first time in the Star Wars universe.

Bix: You’ve been holding out on me.

Andor: And you’ve been skimming off the top. So let’s not get emotional.

Despite forcing an enslaved Leia into a metal bikini, up to this point Star Wars remained squeaky clean when compared to other mega franchises. But Andor is a serious, gritty series set in a corner of the galaxy that’s forgotten hope and redemption exist. It’s an interesting story, but I kind of wish it had been an original series rather than a Star Wars spin off. Star Wars loses some of its wonder and magic when earthling expletives enter that galaxy far, far away.

I’m Collin Garbarino.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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