Today is one of the biggest days for Star Wars releases in a very long time. Andor episode eight has dropped, featuring the welcome return of two Rogue One characters and an unexpected appearance from a sequel trilogy actor in a new role. At the same time the full, six-episode season of the animated Tales of the Jedi hit Disney Plus, filling in the blanks of Ahsoka Tano’s backstory and giving some much-needed depth to Count Dooku’s betrayal of the Jedi Order.
There’s a lot to get through, so let’s get stuck in:
Andy Serkis makes his ‘Star Wars’ comeback in ‘Andor’
The Lord of the Rings icon Andy Serkis played Supreme Leader Snoke in the sequel trilogy. As of this week’s Andor, he can add another character to his Star Wars roster. He plays prison foreman Kino Loy, who’s in charge of Cassian Andor’s work gang. He’s a brusque and intimidating presence in the show. With an inevitable jailbreak episode coming, we’re excited to see whether his loyalties lie with his fellow inmates or the guards.
“I wanted him to come from a place where he was put in prison for, perhaps, standing up for workers’ rights, and then put into a position of authority because that’s what he does. He is a natural leader. But he really just wants to serve his time. He’s got a family. He wants to get out and get back, and assumes that that’s going to happen after his incarceration.”
Serkis is great addition to any production, so we’re happy that Andor has added yet another acting heavyweight to the cast.
Saw Gerrera is back in ‘Andor’ and as entertaining as ever
Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera turned heads in 2016’s Rogue One as a take-no-prisoners guerilla fighter against the Empire. He has no time for diplomacy, committing terrorist acts against the Empire with little care for collateral damage. This makes him one of the more complex Star Wars heroes, as even his allies in the Rebellion criticize him for going too far.
Gerrera is in fine form in Andor, dismissing the various anti-Empire factions as “Neo-Republicans. The Ghorman Front. The Partisan Alliance. Sectorists. Human cultists!” and saying that he alone has the “clarity of purpose” that’ll achieve victory. We know how Gerrera’s story ultimately plays out, but it’s going to be a wild ride to get to that destination.
Whitaker is only in this episode for a short scene opposite Stellan Skarsgård’s Luthen, though he instantly steals the show with his commitment and intensity. We’re hoping he’ll be a major player in the rest of season one and the upcoming season two in 2024.
‘Andor’ quietly sneaks in another ‘Rogue One’ hero
Saw Gerrera isn’t the only Rogue One character to return this week as the show very quietly reintroduced us to Duncan Pow’s Ruescott Melshi as an inmate in the Imperial prison. Melshi will go on to become one of Cassian Andor’s closest allies and is instrumental in forming the Rogue One team and successfully stealing the Death Star plans.
It’s refreshing that Andor trusts the audience enough not to have to underline that Melshi is a returning character. It is yet another indication that Tony Gilroy is going to confidently weave together the two seasons of Andor and Rogue One into a seamless whole. Expect Melshi to play a big role in Cassian’s escape from prison and, if Rogue One‘s story is anything to go by, he should turn into a reliable ally as the show goes forward.
‘Tales of the Jedi’ is getting rave reviews from critics and fans alike
Tales of the Jedi is now here and neatly fills in some blank spots in the franchise. We now know a lot about how Count Dooku fell to the Dark Side, and the show revealed some important moments in Ahsoka Tano’s backstory. We also saw Jedi Master Yaddle finally get some characterization. As expected, this show is aimed at committed Star Wars fans. It may come across as a little disjointed to anyone who isn’t familiar with The Clone Wars and Rebels, though it looks great, has a stacked cast, and features a bunch of fun lightsaber action.
As of writing, the Rotten Tomatoes score is yet to be calculated, though it’s sitting at 100 percent audience approval rating. Social media is lighting up with people cooing over the insanely cute Baby Ahsoka, praising the depth of writing of Count Dooku’s betrayal, and enjoying the way episode four fleshes out some important offscreen moments during The Phantom Menace. We’re hoping this isn’t a one-off and crossing our fingers that more Tales of the Jedi will one day arrive.
Here’s where ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ sequel could go
Fans are still reacting to the bombshell news that Lost creator Damon Lindelof is spearheading a new Star Wars movie set after The Rise of Skywalker. This will be the first canonical exploration of events after the Skywalker saga, so where could the galaxy be heading in the wake of Palpatine’s destruction and the defeat of the First Order?
We went through some of the options earlier today. Disney and Lucasfilm have already told some non-canonical stories featuring Rey, Finn, and Poe that likely point in the vague direction of where these characters are heading. Beyond that, it’s possible Lucasfilm may look to the old Legends continuity for inspiration. Fan-favorite arcs, like the Yuuzhan Vong, would shake up the big-screen Star Wars universe. After the Skywalker Saga, we really don’t want yet another copycat Empire appearing out of nowhere like the First Order.
Expect more updates as fans digest today’s Star Wars smörgåsbord. The multiple dots can now be connected thanks to Tales of the Jedi‘s unsubtle criticism of the Jedi Order around the time the prequel trilogy begins. The next CG animation release will be The Bad Batch‘s second season, which is due to premiere on Jan. 4, 2023. That’s just over two months away, so expect an update/trailer on that very soon.