Can I Watch Andor Without Having Seen Rogue One or other Star Wars Movies and Shows?
Trying to get into a new show within an existing franchise can be a daunting task. Within the world of Star Wars, it’s been basically impossible. The Mandalorian started out as a story that kind of stood on its own, but eventually it made more and more references to both films and past shows in its existing universe that a newbie just trying to follow Mando and Baby Yoda would probably wind 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, Disney+’s most adult-oriented and complex Star Wars show yet, getting its 12-episode Season 1 (of a planned two) underway, the question comes again: can I watch this show without watching several movies and shows as advanced research? We’ll get into it below a bit deeper, but showrunner Tony Gilroy has proven in the past to be a master of telling isolated stories (he wrote and directed the brilliant film Michael Clayton) and building his own worlds (he wrote the original Bourne trilogy), and he does it again with Andor.
Andor is good enough in its smart plotting and rich characters that, at least in the early goings, it doesn’t need to depend on easter eggs, cameos, and references to other happenings in the Star Wars universe. It’s main concern—as it should always be—is telling a good story.
And, so, even the most novice of Star Wars fans can enjoy Andor, which in addition to Gilroy’s great work as showrunner also has the benefit of some great 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 Rogue One or other Star Wars movies or shows?
The answer, surprisingly, is yes. While the events of Andor will lead into what happens in Rogue One (following two 12-episode seasons), all that film will give you is knowledge of what’s to come. Andor is a largely easter egg-free Star Wars experience, which is rare. Past Disney+ Star Wars shows, like The Book of Boba Fett, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and even much of The Mandalorian have required prerequisite knowledge of the Galaxy Far, Far, Away; Andor is just telling a cool story.
Now, of course, context of the larger Star Wars universe will help to paint the picture of what, exactly, is going on in the world here. Andor is set a few years before the events of Rogue One, which comes about 19 years after Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and leads directly into Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. This is a time period where the Jedi have largely been exterminated following Emperor Palpatine’s declaration of Order 66, and Anakin Skywalker has been fully engulfed by the Dark Side, becoming Darth Vader.
It’s also around 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 keeping a watchful eye on young Luke Skywalker, but the series let us know that he also had a relationship with young Princess Leia as well.
But all of that is just what we said it was: context. Since Andor takes place before Rogue One, you won’t need to know anything before watching. The show, thus far, has been essentially free of Easter Eggs; if a character like Ben Mendelsohn‘s villainous Orson Krennic (from Rogue One) shows up, you may miss out on knowing who that is, but in terms of the story, you won’t be missing out on anything.
And while cameos and references and easter eggs are always fun for those who are dialed in, we shouldn’t lose sight of why we love these kinds of projects—and Star Wars specifically—in the first place: the good storytelling.
And Andor is without question 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 culture editor for Men’s Health, with bylines in The New York Times, MTV News, Brooklyn Magazine, and VICE. He loves weird movies, watches too much TV, and listens to music more often than he doesn’t.