In the process of running to AndorThe team behind the new Disney Plus series hit a particularly difficult point: This is not Star Wars space opera. Instead, the program is nitty hotel of a galaxy far, far away.
In a world ravaged by the Force and other forces large and small, Andor Is one more detailed way into the battles between light and darkness. “I think Rogue One is a movie about an event. You don’t know those characters, you don’t understand exactly where they come from, what it takes to happen [to get them there]”Diego Luna said in a press conference about returning to his character Cassian Andor. “For me, today is quite fitting to tell the story of what needs to happen for a revolutionary to emerge.”
It doesn’t take the imagination to guess what feels so obvious about that plot now, in a time when so much change needs to happen for the world to feel from afar. But what is most effective about Andor in the first four episodes shown to critics is a well-founded look at how the Dark Side has built itself as a force to be reckoned with. And no one personifies that better in these early episodes than Kyle Soller’s villain, Syril Karn.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for the first three episodes of Andor.]
Syril is the type of bootlicker that asked for more credits to his extra credits. He takes extreme pride in his presentation, modifying his uniform to make himself stand out as the brightest apple of the bunch. He’s an asshole. But in the first episodes of Andor, it’s clear that Syril believes in the job. He’s not trying to brown his nose; he simply exists as a desire to please and trust the authority figure he serves.
In a time where Star Wars is struggling to make its baddies work, Syril stands out (and not just because of those obvious blues and reds). Books by Boba Fett is a bit messy, provided not a complicated anti-hero nor particularly attractive antagonists so that our despised hero can fight back. Mandalorian there’s a good enough twist on the Star Wars good/evil dichotomy, but the villain is not what comes to define the show (even when played by a Giancarlo Esposito). Obi-Wan Kenobi ran off the runway a bit with its evil Empire characters. And The Rise of Skywalker‘share is…better than unspeakable.
Syril feels like a better version of the last standout failures. Even on first impressions, he was absolutely brilliant: a literal corporate man, imagining himself as a hero – and, without getting him right™, is certainly operating from a place that makes each of his actions feel logical and understandable. Although he is not stupid, one has the feeling that he is so isolated in his position that even explaining the flaws of the system cannot get through to him.
Then, Soller’s kick-off performance shows how much this means personally to him, even while he’s on a corporate mission. Not only is he doing his job; he identifies with the men killed by Cassian. “Two men are dead, sir. Workers,” Syril insisted in the first episode. “If that’s not worth the stay, then I’m not worth the uniform.” As he refutes, it’s clear that his frustration is more than just dressing up and letting these men’s lives be a “sad but inspiring” and “mundane” misconduct. , which is the implication that people in his position could easily be lost to the company. world in general. Adjusting the lighting for his uniform is all he can do to create the right power for him, rather than the other way around.
And so, in an effort to make myself known, he makes disastrous mistakes and gets more people in the company killed in the process. He’s willing to accept that everyone in Cassian’s hometown is a “bluff and a bluff,” as his corporate lover tells him, because he remembers that it was unity in action. Even we as spectators did not see any scheme or fraud; we see him and his enforcers recklessly running in with a halfway attack. What follows is a series of legitimately thrilling battles and some amazing images of Cassian escaping across the fields, before we return to Syria, shattered and presumably the Empire.
While Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) and Refurbished (Moses Ingram) entrenched in the highest orders of the Empire’s central death cult, Syril exists a few light years away from that moral universe. He has more in common with Cassian, though he never admits it. That’s what makes him such a compelling character to follow with Cassian, and through the early days of both the Rebellion and Andor: Like perhaps thousands of people across the universe, he doesn’t know what he’s part of. He’s not threatening because he’s some fallen Templar. Syril is dangerous because he is imitating the monstrosity without fully understanding it. From his vantage point on the ground, he is merely a powerful figure that people love to hate. But as we knew all too well in our own galaxy a long time later, it is this kind of insignificant evil that can pose the greatest threat.
The first three episodes of Andor Currently streaming on Disney Plus. New episodes will drop every Wednesday.