Rebel With A Cause

Andor trailer brings back Rogue One's most impressive trick

Here’s one big reason to get excited for Andor.

In a little over a month, Disney+ is going to release its latest live-action Star Wars adventure, Andor. The highly anticipated series is set to take place around five years prior to the events of 2016’s Rogue One, and will follow Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) as he establishes himself as one of the galaxy’s most formidable Rebel spies.

While Andor doesn’t seem quite as notable as Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series still promises to tell a worthwhile Star Wars story. And, if the show’s latest trailer is any indication, it looks like Andor may end up being Lucasfilm’s most visually impressive Disney+ series to date.

The Empire’s oppressive gaze is everywhere in Andor.Lucasfilm

Disney’s Rogue One Prequel — The latest trailer for Andor opens with shots of several inhabitants of a lush planet all turning to look up in fear at the arrival of an Imperial Star Destroyer. It’s a moment that feels deliberately reminiscent of the way Imperial ships and weapons are shown throughout Rogue One, especially during one of Rogue One’s best visual moments: When director Gareth Edwards’ camera starts on the ground, then pans up to show a massive Imperial Star Destroyer hovering over Jedha City.

While the rest of the Andor trailer focuses on Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly), Luthen (Stellan Skarsgård), and Cassian’s attempts to infiltrate the Empire, the teaser still maintains the same ominous mood of its opening. In fact, it’s looking like Andor may actually manage to replicate the impressive visual style of Rogue One.

A Star Destroyer hovers over Jedha City in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.Lucasfilm

Rogue One’s Greatest Achievement — Like many of Disney’s Star Wars titles, Rogue One suffers from its own share of narrative shortcomings.

However, the prequel remains one of the most visually interesting Star Wars movies to date. The film, which was shot by Dune and The Batman cinematographer Greig Fraser, boasts an intimate yet epic aesthetic that separates it from other Star Wars movies and TV shows by showing us the boots on the ground.

During Rogue One’s Jedha and Scarif sequences, Edwards and Fraser base the film’s action on the perspectives of the rebel troops. The duo accomplishes that through a number of well-executed visual choices, which include shooting the Empire’s AT-ACT walkers via low-angle shots that emphasize how tall they are while still keeping them in the same frame as the film’s fragile human characters.

Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen) fires a rocket at an AT-ACT in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.Lucasfilm

Edwards’ eye for scope and scale is put to use throughout Rogue One. From the film’s memorable prologue to its nerve-wracking final act, Rogue One frequently rides the line between personal and sprawling, blending Fraser’s ground-level photography with the massive landscape shots Star Wars fans expect from the franchise.

As a result, there are moments when Rogue One feels like the most visually epic yet intimately visceral Star Wars film. It always seemed a little unlikely that Andor’s streaming budget would allow it to reach the visual bar set by its predecessor. However, while it remains to be seen just how well Andor actually manages to recapture Rogue One’s scope, the trailer suggests that it’s at least going to make the attempt.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) poses as an Imperial Officer in Andor.Lucasfilm

The Inverse Analysis — Andor’s latest trailer suggests that it’s going to bring back the gritty visual style that Rogue One established. The trailer features the wide, planet-establishing shots that Rogue One did, and it links the Empire’s massive galactic presence to the perspective of those who are trapped under the regime.

The trailer’s other sequences maintain the same street-level visual style that was put to good use throughout Rogue One. And unlike Obi-Wan Kenobi, the series also appears to actually be well-lit from top to bottom.

While it remains to be seen just how effective Andor’s story is, it’s looking increasingly likely that those who watch it will get to experience a visually impressive Star Wars adventure.

Andor premieres Wednesday, September 21 on Disney+.