Here's Why Andor Looks so Much Better than Kenobi

Here's Why Andor Looks so Much Better than Kenobi
Image credit: Legion-Media

After three of Andor's twelve Season One episodes were released last Wednesday, varied opinions were shouted across social media.

One positive opinion seemed to be a consensus:

Andor looks really good visually.

Disney and Lucasfilm have released several Disney+ limited series since its inception in 2019, including the years-anticipated Obi-Wan Kenobi earlier this year. They've all garnered relatively positive ratings and general excitement, but Andor has since been the most visually breathtaking.

On r/StarWars and Twitter, viewers asked why that was.

One quickly debunked argument was that the budget was much higher for Andor. However, the budgets across all Star Wars Disney+ projects were similar relative to show length. The Answer is much simpler.

Tony Gilroy, Andor's showrunner, told Empire that his show refused to use Disney's StageCraft technology. This tech is a massive virtual wall that projects sets for actors, a new version of the greenscreen. Actors act in front of StageCraft; everything else is computer generated. The difference between StageCraft and traditional greenscreen is that it allows actors to be immersed in the set as well, but it's still another cinematic manipulation.

Gilroy prefers practical effects. He wanted Andor to use actual, traditional sets and locations. The effect is a realistic and stunning visual look. The downside is the incredible effort needed for practical effects, the logistical toll it takes on the creators.

Viewers seemed to appreciate the change of technique.

Andor was called the most cinematically beautiful Star Wars project since The Last Jedi. While Star Wars has always been a visually impressive franchise, garnering Oscar nominations and wins for visual effects since 1977, Rian Johnson's Last Jedi was one of its most visually impressive films.

Some took the opportunity to put past Star Wars projects on blast. Twitter users were confused at how a show about low-level character Cassian Andor would have a higher production quality than one about Obi-Wan and Darth Vader – two of Star Wars' original and most lasting characters.

Andor and Gilroy have gone to prove that viewers do notice and definitely care about quality. Huge budgets don't always mean everything; simple tricks that have been around since the dawn of filmmaking have stood the test of time. Redditors remind Star Wars executives that 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope looked more visually stunning than the CGI-riddled prequels, due in part to those practical effects.

What do you think about Andor's visuals? How do they compare to previous Star Wars installments?