“Andor” feels different because it takes its time. There are references and Easter eggs, but it doesn’t feel like every frame has to contain a reason to bring up Wookieepedia. Even the dialogue seems slower. There is something about the more relaxed pace that fits the genre this series appears to be in.
“Andor” is a political thriller. Yes, it’s set in the “Star Wars” universe, but with a few changes, it doesn’t have to be. It feels like a story we could see elsewhere if a few names and references were changed. There were moments, particularly in “The Book of Boba Fett,” that felt like someone forgot that story is king. The narrative has to come first. I’m reminded of advice I was given years ago while writing fiction; For the most part, you should be able to change the genders of characters or the setting of a story without much effort. Whether or not that’s true is up to you, but the point is that the story itself always comes before everything else.
Through the first episodes of “Andor,” there was never a moment that felt like the writers were saying, “Look at the Stormtroopers! Ooh, here’s a character you know! Desert planet, you guys! You know who was born on a desert planet?” This is said with love, but it’s true. “Andor” lets us breathe with the characters and feel what they’re feeling without distraction. It gives us time to wonder where they’re going. Three episodes in, and we’re still not quite sure where everyone’s allegiance lies.