Andor: The Complete First Season UHD Review

4.5 Stars Thinking man’s Star Wars
Andor First Season Review

Disney brings another popular Disney+ series to 4K Blu-ray, Andor, in a 3-disc set in steelbook packaging.

Andor (2022–)
Released: 21 Sep 2022
Rated: TV-14
Runtime: N/A
Director: N/A
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Cast: Diego Luna, Kyle Soller, Stellan Skarsgård
Writer(s): Tony Gilroy
Plot: Prequel series to Star Wars' 'Rogue One'. In an era filled with danger, deception and intrigue, Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a Rebel hero.
IMDB rating: 8.4
MetaScore: N/A

Disc Information
Studio: Disney
Distributed By: N/A
Video Resolution: 2160p HEVC w/HDR
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: Dolby Atmos, English 7.1 Dolby TrueHD, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: TV14=TV-14
Run Time: 9 Hr. 6 Min.
Package Includes: UHD
Case Type: 3-disc UHD steelbook
Disc Type: UHD
Region: All
Release Date: 04/30/2024
MSRP: $54.99

The Production: 4.5/5

A prequel series (of sorts) to the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Andor follows the life of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and how he came to join the rebel forces prior to his final mission of helping to steal the plans to the Death Star. This is, perhaps, the most intelligent story in the Star Wars universe so far, and a lot of that credit goes to showrunner Tony Gilroy (Rogue One, the Bourne movies), who seems to know a lot about political intrigue. It is also the only series that is comprised almost entirely of new characters – the only three characters we have been introduced to previously from Rogue One are Andor, Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), here seen as the Senator of planet Chandrila and was first introduced to Star Wars fans as the leader of the Rebel Alliance in Return of the Jedi (portrayed by Caroline Blakiston in that film) and Saw Gerra (Forest Whitaker). Most of the fun from the series is figuring out who is with what faction and where their loyalties lie, so I am not going to discuss too much of the plot of this first season in this review.

What I will say is that the series starts out with Cassian exploring the galaxy to locate his long-lost sister, which inevitably leads him to become entangled with underground forces looking to take down the oppressive Empire. This does lead to Cassian landing in prison, which comprises three of the best episodes in this first season that features a compelling performance by Andy Serkis. This is a thinking man’s Star Wars that even a casual but more mature fan can enjoy.

Video: 5/5

3D Rating: NA

This first season of Andor was captured in 6K resolution with Sony VENICE cameras with ach episode completed as a 4K digital intermediate in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Disney+ streamed the episodes in heavily compressed 4K with both Dolby Vision and HDR10 high dynamic range. The 12 episodes are spread out over three BD100 discs (4 episodes each) and are presented in 2160p HEVC encodes with HDR10 and are major improvements over the bitrate-starved streaming versions. This is evident from the opening shot of episode one, Kassa, with Cassian walking on a dimly lit walkway in the rain. There is a lot of detail here, even in the shadows, which occasionally suffered from black crush on Disney+. This also is not a bright and shiny Star Wars, but a much more realistic world with muted colors with colder greys and blues, which HDR10 delivers expertly.

Audio: 5/5

Default audio on these discs is a lossless Dolby Atmos track (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core) that, like the video, puts the streaming version to shame. These mixes are highly immersive, even during some of the more subtle sequences such as the opening shot with rain falling all around and above you. LFE is strong where necessary, adding extra emphasis to explosions and such. Dialogue is clear and understandable throughout.

Special Features: 3.5/5

All of the special features have been loaded onto Disc One, with the remaining discs containing only the episodes.

Ferrix Part 1: Imperial Occupation (1080p; 8:18): Showrunner Tony Gilroy, actor Diego Luna and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy discuss the origins of the series as an origin story of Cassian.

Aldhani: Rebel Heist (1080p; 7:42): A brief look behind the scenes of episode four.

Coruscant: Whispers of Rebellion (1080p; 8:44): A brief look at the production design of Coruscant.

Narkina 5: No Way Out (1080p; 7:30): Character building on the prison ship.

Ferrix Part 2: Fight the Empire (1080p; 7:35): A behind the scenes look at the season finale, centered more around the scoring sessions.

Concept Art Cards: Three post-card size cards with concept art.

Overall: 4.5/5

Andor: The Complete First Season is an intelligent and engaging origin story of Cassian Andor, one of the main rebels from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, as well as a taught, slow-burning political thriller that does not necessarily require knowledge of the Star Wars universe to be enjoyed.

Todd Erwin has been a reviewer at Home Theater Forum since 2008. His love of movies began as a young child, first showing Super 8 movies in his backyard during the summer to friends and neighbors at age 10. He also received his first movie camera that year, a hand-crank Wollensak 8mm with three fixed lenses. In 1980, he graduated to "talkies" with his award-winning short The Ape-Man, followed by the cult favorite The Adventures of Terrific Man two years later. Other films include Myth or Fact: The Talbert Terror and Warren's Revenge (which is currently being restored). In addition to movie reviews, Todd has written many articles for Home Theater Forum centering mostly on streaming as well as an occasional hardware review, is the host of his own video podcast Streaming News & Views on YouTube and is a frequent guest on the Home Theater United podcast.

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