Andor – Disney as open subversion

ANDOR Episode 10 (spoilers ahead) – Stellan Skarsgård delivers a stellar speech, becoming a better Che, a sci-fi Nechayev, a post-modern Bourgeois Sans-culotte, a stern middle-class anarchist fighting for political ideals like social equalityeconomic equality, and popular democracy by all means necessary. Unlike the entitled Skywalkers, a simple merchant of Coruscant is sawing at the legs of a galactic Empire. He strikes back, before we even see a Skywalker appear. He targets money first, very clever – not a Death Star,—money, reliable people and equipment. Careful, long-term planning – not impulsive action on the wings of the force. STAR WARS after all this dwelling in negativity or ridicule, has now Diego Luna as Cassian Andor and Skarsgård as Luthen Rael, “the buyer” both homing in like missiles from the catechisms of any revolution,…hot, angry, but inventive, unrelenting and controlled. Overly controlled, dissecting “sacrifice” and what it really means if you want to start a rebellion, holding a pep talk about an abyss he is standing on. Not for the faint of heart, but for those who grind their knives against ruthless, autocratic regimes and their consequences worldwide.

Andor and this wonderfully carved speech in Episode 10 in a magnificent setting revives everything Star Wars was ever about in the first three movies and makes it a mature and dangerous choice of a citizen without superpowers or a second life in the force. It feels second to only Rutger Hauer’s “…time to die” Speech in Blade Runner 1, and I am afraid I am not overestimating it with this heavy reference. 

Be nonplussed, this (the whole Andor has this ring in its best moments) gets infused through an old school Network giant who should not do this, who seems to be getting hijacked in broad daylight by rebellious subversion. After Bambi and tons of Donald Duck, the dreadful Avengers: Infinity War, after 6 Star Wars films more or less to discard, depressing animated Clone Wars all too much in favour of the Empire and the legacy of Palpatine, ANDOR delivers the blow – a school of revolution. Why shall anyone seriously bother for real? Well, because this overshoot of a series does what I preach for more than 10 years professionally – it uses a well known platform with high production value to inject counter-culture into the mainstream. They do not bother to listen, like inside of that prison. We can be pretty sure that the real powers on this planet do not think they should even listen. That is why it works out in the open – they may be already too afraid to really censor that from the background – or worse, they may not even have it on their radar… 😉

As entertainment in an internationally famous storyworld, it is perfectly placed. Luthen at its laser focused centre point, not only Cassian. Luthen, the vendor of antiquities is the stone to build on, and he nails it for all generations in an historical depth: How to defeat an superior enemy and what to expect when you really go to war, all in a very personal, but also general nutshell. Self-reflective, harsh and to the point that it hurts. Many will learn from that. Many will follow. The Empire will fall…if it turns to right-wing autocracy and climate crisis denial. (for a current definition of Empire in the sense I use it, see e.g. Negri, A., Hardt, A. (2000) Empire. or Michael Hardt’s essay titled ‘Empire 20 Years On’ published in the November/December 2019 edition of New Left Review). Watch ANDOR, even if it means feeding the beast (Disney+) a bit…

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