Star Wars should learn from Andor and stop making Disney Plus shows that are so obsessed with the Jedi

 Cassian Andor walks through a scrapyard in his self-titled Star Wars Disney Plus show.
Cassian Andor walks through a scrapyard in his self-titled Star Wars Disney Plus show.

I very much enjoyed the Obi-Wan Kenobi, and stuck it out with Star Wars: Ahsoka, when this highly anticipated Star Wars TV duo landed on Disney Plus. But, by the time the credits had rolled on the latter in mid-2023, I think I’ve had my fill of Jedi-led stories in Lucasfilm's iconic galaxy far, far away.

Sure, seeing these series' Force-wielding protagonists clash with their Sith counterparts and other overtly villainous folks – amid the crackle and buzz of lightsabers – is always highly enjoyable. But the bits in between – channelling the Force and so on – have become rather stale in my eyes. Blah blah “concentrate”, blah blah “use your feelings”... you get the idea.

Even in Disney Plus shows that initially don’t revolve around the Jedi, such as The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, still tread old ground and eventually lead to the telekinetic hot-glow-stick wielders showing their faces. While I was entertained by the Kill Bill-style battle between Ahsoka and Morgan Elsbeth at the end of The Mandalorian, other appearances from the Jedi have either been a tad underwhelming or overbaked. Yes, I know ‘Baby Yoda’ is cute and all, but seeing Grogu train with a digitally recreated Luke Skywalker in season 2 of The Mandalorian (one of the best Disney Plus shows, in many people's eyes) wasn’t the dose of nostalgia and role-reversal I think Disney hoped it would be.

A screenshot of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Jedi's Disney Plus TV show
A screenshot of Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in the Jedi's Disney Plus TV show

Andor, though, showed me and many other Star Wars fans that you can make a great Star Wars show without a single Jedi appearance. In fact, I’d argue that Andor is the most interesting piece of Star Wars content that Disney has done to date – something that TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter Tom Power also claimed in his Andor season 1 review.

Yes, I know it was a slow-burn to begin with, but the series' determination to explore how planets and societies operate under the yolk of the Empire is fascinating, as is peeking behind the curtain of how the Imperials maintained galactic control (beyond their legions of Stormtroopers) across the cosmos post-Star Wars Episode III. Andor's morally gray characters with a strange mix of selfless and selfish motivations, including its so-called heroes in the titular renegade, Luther Rael, and even Galactic Senator Mon Mothma, made for far more interesting viewing than the stereotypical good and bad guys that we've come to expect from those on the Light and Dark, and the Republic and Empire, sides of the divide.

Andor gave me all of that, as well as a planet-hopping yarn, complete with tense action, cool ships, great costume design, and even discussions over the foundations of society and rebellion to fuel one’s mind with discourse. Throw in its multi-genre appeal – Andor is filled with sci-fi drama, political thriller, and espionage-based action – and here is one of the more recent new Star Wars shows and movies that feels creatively unique among its peers.

Kino Loy and Cassian Andor clash in in Star Wars: Andor season 1 on Disney Plus
Kino Loy and Cassian Andor clash in in Star Wars: Andor season 1 on Disney Plus

So I want to see Lucasfilm lean more into other parts of the lived-in Star Wars universe, especially projects that ask audiences to question what we know of it. Okay, Star Wars: The Acolyte (out on June 4), is yet another tale based around the Jedi, which contradicts the points I've made. But, considering it's set during the High Republic era – the first time we'll see this period in a live-action production – and it'll be similarly amoral to Andor with how it positions the too-comfortable Jedi and their Sith underdogs, it should deliver something befitting the kind of show that I want to see from the Disney subsidiary.

But that's all I'd like to see. Not only do I want more Andor (thankfully, Andor season 2 is on the way), but how about a series that goes deeper into exploring what life is like from an Imperial point of view – the Star Wars: Tie Fighter videogame did this, as did other recent gaming titles like Star Wars: Battlefront II and Star Wars: Squadrons. Disney has a vein to tap into there.

Ahsoka Tano holds up one of her lightsabers in her standalone Star Wars TV show on Disney Plus
Ahsoka Tano holds up one of her lightsabers in her standalone Star Wars TV show on Disney Plus

Equally, I’d like to see a series that looks at Han Solo and Lando Calrissian. Okay, Solo: A Star Wars story already did this to some extent, but I feel there’s more to dig into there. Could something of this ilk happen in the apparently still-in-development Lando project, which may see Donald Glover play the roguish schemer once more? I live in hope.

Failing that: how about focusing on the adventures of explorers or traders adapting to the new Imperial rule, or ignoring it completely and pushing into the worlds on the far edges of the Outer Rim? We could bounce forward into the era of the recent Star Wars movies and examine how Benicio Del Toro's DJ, the oddball slicer first and last seen in 2017's Star Wars: The Last Jedi, came to be. Speaking of those movies, Finn was basically side lined after Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so I’d love for that wrong to be righted, and for us to get a look at how Finn became a Stormtrooper under the First Order. John Boyega, who played Finn in the sequel films, exclusively told TechRadar (in a chat with Tom Power) that he's "open" to appearing in another Star Wars movie, so give him the tale that he deserves.

In summary: there’s a rich tapestry of untapped potential in the Star Wars franchise that Disney could explore without looking all doe-eyed at the Jedi – and I, for one, want them to actively lean into this more. Make it so, please.

"Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose"

A hooded Mae stands on a shoreline in Star Wars: The Acolyte
A hooded Mae stands on a shoreline in Star Wars: The Acolyte

In a chat with fellow Managing Editor Matt Bolton, we brainstormed a few er... creative... Star Wars show ideas. Read on for our machinations:

  • How about Pod Racing: Drive to Survive, where we follow pod racers in their efforts to gain renown while staying alive.

  • Jawa Storage Wars could follow plucky Jawas in the bowels of a Sandcrawler as they try to trade all manner of items scraped and scrounged across Tatooine.

  • One Man and His Droid: a touching tale of a moisture farmer bonding with an errant astromech.

  • Keeping up with the Kashyyykians, a semi fly-on-the-wall docuseries following socialite Wookiees as they go about the high life on their homeworld of Kashyyyk, compete with jewel-encrusted bowcasters.

  • Similarly, The Real Housewives of Coruscant could explore the glitz and glamour of the spouses of high-ranking senators in the capital of the Republic/Empire, complete with high-drama and high-fashion inspiration from Padmé Amidala.

  • Below Deck: A Star Wars Documentary would be a reality show-meets-documentary following the life of select crew members of a Super Star Destroyer, where we see junior officer Bendak Willough-tee get in a steamy relationship with TIE pilot Courtnita Skipponch.

  • Deal or No Deal: Tatooine Edition sees new contestants try and get a good deal out of Jabba the Hutt – only those that fail to strike said deal get fed to a Rancor.

  • Cantina Nightmares where galactic chef Goron Rancorsey tries to save falling cantinas around the Outer Rim, all the while yelling “you’re serving f***king blue milk!”

  • Frozen Planet could feature Droidvid Clatteborough, renowned nature documentary presenter and protocol droid with dulcet tones, exploring life on Hoth while dodging predatory wampas.

There are some ideas for you there, Disney. Matt and I are happy to consult – just please cut the amount of Jedi shows and realize that not everything has to happen on Tatooine and/or feature those crowd-pleasing but overused Jedi, you hear?

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