In 2016's Rogue One: A Star War's Story (Metascore: 65), audiences were introduced to Rebel Intelligence officer Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), who puts his life on the line multiple times to aid in the rebellion against the Empire. But what was Cassian's life before meeting fellow rebel Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and securing crucial schematics that would later help General Organa (Carrie Fisher) and others sympathetic to the rebel cause?
Cassian's pre-Rogue One storyline is brought to the smaller screen in Lucasfilms' latest project, the Disney+ series Andor (Metascore: 74). Created by Rogue One writer Tony Gilroy, the prequel series stars Luna, once again, as Cassian, with the show opening five years before the events of Rogue One.
Born on the planet of Kenari, which was largely destroyed by one of the Empire's mining projects, Cassian is rescued and adopted by Maarva (Fiona Shaw) and Clem Andor (Gary Beadle), who raise him on the planet Ferrix.
Andor begins with Cassian, a small-time thief with a conscious, on the planet Morlana One, where his search for his younger sister, whom he left behind in Kenari, continues to lead him to more dead ends. When two Pre-Mor security officers try to shake Cassian down for money, a fight between the three ensues and one of the officers is accidentally killed. In an effort to cover his tracks, Cassian murders the second officer and returns home to Ferrix. The deaths set off a series of events, including a manhunt for Cassian and devastating consequences for the people of Ferrix.
The fourth live-action Star Wars series has already been renewed for a second 12-episode season, which will bring Cassian's story line to the beginning of Rogue One. It will still be a while before audiences can enjoy new episodes of Andor, though, as Season 2 has only just begun filming, so for now, here are 10 other shows to watch if you like Andor, ranked by their Metascore.
Best for: Sci-fi fans or anyone looking for a show that consistently makes "best of" lists
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After the Cyclons, an android race created by humans, attack and decimate the very people that made them, only a few thousand humans who were on ships when their colonies were destroyed have survived. The Battlestar ship Galactica is the sole remaining military ship and the human races' best chance for survival. Led by Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) and President Roslin (Mary McDonnell), it's now up to the Galactica to create a fleet out of the surviving ships and lead humans to Earth, a colony no one is sure exists. Like Andor, the celebrated Peabody-winning series has been praised by critics and viewers as a sci-fi series that transcends the genre and features not-to-be-missed dramatic performances by its cast. Of course, there are also lots of cool battle scenes and special effects.
"The series' brilliant conceit is that enemies are often sane and rational, and many good guys and gals are obsessed, flawed, and ruthless." — Ken Tucker, Entertainment Weekly
Best for: Fans of Luna
Where to watch: Netflix
Admittedly, there's not much in terms of the overall look and feel of Narcos: Mexico that makes it an obvious choice for Andor fans, but hear us out. Both series star Luna as a criminal with varying degrees of morals intact — though Cassian is considerably higher on the likable scale. Both shows are also intense dramas that don't shy away from violence. There's nothing PG about Narcos: Mexico, which stars Luna as Miguel Ángel Félix Gallardo, the real-life drug lord who created the Guadalajara Cartel and is responsible for creating much of the drug trade that still plagues the people of Mexico. Like the original Narcosseries, which focuses on the Columbian cartel and Pablo Escobar, Narcos: Mexico tells history from both sides, including the cartel and law enforcement, in this case DEA Agent Kiki Camarena (Michael Peña).
"There are upwards of 20 main characters in Narcos: Mexico, and it's a credit to showrunner Eric Newman — and their team of capable screenwriters and directors — that they all turn out to be distinctive and compelling." — Nick Schager, Daily Beast
Best for: Fans of science-based series and lots of accents
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Like Andor, Orphan Black is anchored by a lead character who is a small-time criminal with a heart of gold. Okay, maybe not gold, but someone that more often than not does the right thing. Also like Andor, there's no shortage of accents in the sci-fi series Orphan Black, but in this case they are almost all delivered by Emmy-winner Tatiana Maslany. The series opens with Sarah (Maslany), an English expat in Canada, witnessing a woman who looks identical to her step in front of a train and kill herself. Sarah assumes the woman's identity and eventually learns she has more clones from around the world. Some want to be her seestra, some want to kill her. Families, amirite? Along with these new sisters and her adopted family, Sarah works to uncover the mystery behind her birth, which was orchestrated by the very corrupt organization Dyad, the Empire baddie in this series.
"Brilliantly written and photographed, it's as thrilling, exciting and groundbreaking as The X-Files was in its era." — Tirdad Derakhshani, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Best for: Star Wars fans who also identify as Trekkies
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Like Andor, Star Trek: Discovery is a prequel, with the events in the show taking place in the 23rd century, 10 years before the beloved Star Trek: The Original Series, and jumping to the 32nd century in subsequent seasons. Discovery begins with Michael Burnham (Sonequa Martin-Green) having been demoted and reassigned to the USS Discovery after she begins a war between the Klingon Empire and the United Federation of Planets. Like Cassian, Michael is a character that has a habit of breaking rules and running towards, rather than away, from dangerous missions.
"With the crew established and the characters beloved, the series is now taking the time to lead boldly not with surprises, but with tremendous amounts of heart." — Alex Zalben, Decider
Best for: Star Wars fans who loved the prequels, and Star Wars fans who didn't and want a do-over(ish)
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While Andor and The Mandalorian don't require viewers to have any prior knowledge of the world of Star Wars, Obi-Wan Kenobi is better appreciated by those familiar with the characters. Not required, but helpful. Ewan McGregor reprises his prequel trilogy role as the titular Jedi Master in the Disney+ series, which picks up a decade after Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. He is living in exile on the planet Tatooine and keeping a watchful eye over Luke Skywalker (Grant Feely), riddled with guilt for allowing Luke's father Anakin (Hayden Christensen) go to the dark side. When members of the Empire kidnap Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) in an attempt to lure Obi-Wan out of hiding, he must once again reconnect with the Force and eventually face his former apprentice Anakin in his new state as Darth Vader.
"Under McGregor's welcoming wing, Obi-Wan Kenobi uses nostalgia like a weighted blanket: surrounding you with characters you already love, warming you with an uncomplicated quest, and inviting you to lay still, sans complaints, in order to appreciate what little time you have left with Obi-Wan." — Ben Travers, IndieWire
Best for:Andor fans who want a series that is similar in look and feel
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The Expanse is one of the closest non-Star Wars shows in look and tone to Andor, which makes it an easy pick for our list. Spanning several planets, the futuristic series is set in a time when humans have colonized the solar system. No surprise, humans have brought their issues with them, including political and governmental struggles. Now there's alien life form to contend with as well. Unlike Andor, which relies mainly on Cassian to guide the viewer through the series, The Expanse's multiple plots are told through a handful of lead characters, including Detective Miller (Thomas Jane), UN Secretary General Chrisjen Avasarala (Shohreh Aghdashloo), and ship captain James Holden (Steven Strait).
"The Expanse manages to take familiar sci-fi elements and synthesize them into something that looks and feels distinctive." — Josh Bell, Las Vegas Weekly
Best for: Fans of strong but silent lead characters
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Like Andor, The Mandalorian lives within the world of Star Wars without requiring audiences to have a PhD in Lucasfilms' canon. Set five years before the events of Return of the Jedi, the series start with Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal), a bounty hunter or Mandalorian, being tasked with retrieving Grogu and delivering him to be murdered. Instead, Din — or Mando as he's commonly referred — saves Grogu and makes the choice to go on the run with the child. It's a good decision too since not only is the child cute, but this baby (Yoda) also has the force, which becomes an extremely helpful tool as the pair rack up enemies.
"Every screen shot locks you comfortably into the familiar Star Wars canon, but somehow it all feels fresh and new. ... The Mandalorian feels like a trip worth taking with them." — Verne Gay, Newsday
Best for: Drama fans who can stomach some truly disturbing scenes
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Set 300 years before the events in Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon goes much further back as a prequel compared Andor's five-year headstart on Rogue One. Still, the two shows share some similarities, including plenty of fight scenes, flawed characters, shifting alliances, and fully fleshed out fictional worlds. Plus, flying dragons and Nakinians are both wild to see on screen. In House of the Dragon, the Targaryen dynasty is in flux when King Viserys (Paddy Considine) names his daughter Princess Rhaenyra (Emma D'Arcy) as the first female heir — and a misunderstanding on Viserys' deathbed makes his second wife Alicent (Olivia Cooke) believe Viserys changed his mind and wants their son Aemond (Tom Glynn-Carney) to be heir. This is what happens when families recycle the same five names for their kids.
"Sometimes the series overreaches in its effort to be bloodier, sexier, more risqué. ... But it is, for the most part, just fine to be back in [George R.R.] Martin's robust and intriguing history, an intricate tangle of noble houses, doomed knights, scheming strivers, and hopeless dopes." — Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
Best for: Fantasy fans
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Based on Robert Jordan's book series, The Wheel of Time follows five childhood friends from a small village as they embark upon a journey under the guidance of Moiraine (Rosamund Pike), a powerful Aes Sedai, and her Warder Lan (Daniel Henney) to discover if one of them is the Dragon reincarnated. According to a prophecy, the reborn Dragon will either save humanity from the Dark One or break the wheel and push the world into a state of terror and darkness. The five young villagers all have a bit of Cassian in them, with each character struggling over the idea of becoming the Dragon, trusting Moiraine, and deciding if and how they should keep their group together. Also like on Andor, there's plenty of action and beasts of varying degrees of scary.
"The good news for fantasy-hungry viewers is that this lush and ambitious series quickly approaches [Game of] Thrones, and even Peter Jackson's Tolkien films, in grandeur and polish. It's in the verve of life and depth of character that Wheel is a few revolutions behind." — James Poniewozik, The New York Times
Best for: Viewers who want a side of comedy with their sci-fi drama
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Dutch (Hannah John-Kamen), Johnny (Aaron Ashmore), and Johnny's brother D'avin (Luke Macfarlane) work for the Reclamation Apprehension Coalition (RAC) as highly trained bounty hunters who spend their days traveling the multi-planet Quad in search of their targets. The tight-knit trio are required to remain neutral towards conflicts as part of their duties, an ask that is much easier said than done. Throughout five seasons, the trio use their physical and mental strengths to complete their missions, which typically include no shortage of battles and plenty of zingy one-liners in the sci-fi series with a serious funny bone.
"The action is good, with all three actors receiving and dishing out their fair share of abuse, but the story is, literally, difficult to follow." — Jeff Korbelik, Lincoln Journal Star