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Star Wars’ distant past has potential for Game of Thrones-like drama

While pondering yet another big IP Disney+ series can seem like an exhaustive thought considering its current breakneck output, Andor‘s critical success for both the streaming platform and the Star Wars franchise as a whole gives a taste of the potential that the Old Republic could provide to a TV series. That’s in addition to the benefit of being heavily separated from the Skywalker Saga legacy.

No series needs to be darker and more serious to be inherently better, but the level of tension and drama found in Cassian Andor’s gritty origin story should be a seamless fit somewhere within the literal thousands of years worth of history in Star Wars’ distant past. In the Old Republic, there’s no shortage of Jedi, Sith, intergalactic factions, political intrigue, and more that could give Disney+ and Lucasfilm a major and long-running Game of Thrones-level drama to keep audiences reeled in season in and season out.

The Old Republic provides an embarrassment of riches

A collage of characters in Star Wars: The Old Republic promo art.

One of the biggest rewards that author George R. R. Martin’s dark fantasy epic is reaping — so far — on the small screen is having a wealth of lore from the past to pull from. House of the Dragon, to the surprise of no one, is proving to be a mammoth success for HBO despite the maligned final season of the flagship series, and that’s in part because it takes place far enough back into the past to stand on its own merits while still being recognizably similar to what made the majority of Game of Thrones so revered.

Star Wars, despite Lucasfilm’s staunch resistance to grow past the Skywalkers, enjoys a similar embarrassment of riches in lore on paper. The likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, and more are undeniable crowd-pleasers, but the studio is going to have to learn to live without them sooner or later. The Old Republic presents one of the best avenues to do so with its own expansive timeline, and it even gives potential creative teams an out by not having to adhere to the strict Skywalker lineage.

There are certainly beloved stories in the Old Republic era currently confined to the alternate Legends canon. Many longtime Star Wars fans will naturally point to the Knights of the Old Republic video games as a template, and while there’s definitely plenty of exciting material to adapt there, we’ve yet to see what ground the upcoming PlayStation 5 remake will choose to cover. But there’s more than enough room to tell countless new stories if writers and directors so desire while still drawing inspiration from established ones.

Whether it’s the Galactic Republic’s full-scale war against the Sith Empire, fending off onslaughts from the Mandalorian warrior civilizations, or Sith infighting, there’s an abundance of lore that’s more than worth fleshing out into compelling TV drama.

Andor’s brand of political intrigue is the blueprint

Cassian Andor and the supporting cast in an Andor promo poster.

While it might still be in the early going with Andor just 11 episodes into its planned 24 (to be spread evenly across two seasons), the political element of the show is already impressive. The spy-thriller genre fits this aspect of the story like a glove, but as Game of Thrones and House of the Dragon show, more fantasy-focused stories can benefit from this kind of intrigue as well.

Though it might be tiresome for some to hear these particular plaudits, Andor does have an HBO quality to it when it comes to the political intrigue that stems from its espionage-focused setting. And while shamelessly trying to replicate what HBO has done for Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is a recipe to fall flat, Andor shows how tastefully this appeal can be done in its own right.

That blueprint could arguably be applied on a larger scale through an Old Republic TV series on Disney+, with the politics and turmoil on a bit more open a scale since this age sees both the Jedi and Sith front and center in terms of in-universe relevance. It would also be exciting to see potential parallel stories being told from the perspective of the Galactic Republic and the Sith Empire.

A long-form and serialized drama

Darth Bane clashing with his apprentice Darth Zannah in cover art for Drew Karpyshyn's Path of Destruction novel.

Game of ThronesHouse of the Dragon, and now Andor — each for their own unique reasons — are ongoing evidence that the general public is still hungry for long-form, serialized dramas filled with branching storylines. While obviously not as simple to effectively execute as it might sound on paper, the Old Republic has all of the moving pieces to make an overarching story that can run for several seasons. Well-written and deep casts of characters with unique motivations and tantalizing political intrigue would be enough to keep discourse alive.

Mysteries, revelations, action, and political (or physical) backstabbing are all things that aren’t alien to the Star Wars universe, as betrayals within the Jedi, and especially the Sith ,can be great resources for narrative inspiration. The idea of seeing Darth Bane destroy the “establishment Sith” to build his new order with the Rule of Two in place alone would make for an enticing premise, an exciting villainous perspective, and at least a few seasons of storytelling.

Andor | What’s Happening on Level 2? | Disney+

So far, Lucasfilm’s only mainstay Star Wars show is the platform’s flagship The Mandalorian series, which is poised to premiere its third season next year. The franchise is understandably most fitting in the theatrical format, and TV has been getting oversaturated as of late, but when Star Wars inevitably returns to the big screen, perhaps that will allow for the studio to focus more on quality over quantity on the TV side.

At that point, and as The Mandalorian‘s mini MCU-like corner of the galaxy eventually comes to a close, an Old Republic series could have the lion’s share of the spotlight on the small screen to stretch and breathes as it needs.

The bulk of the first season of Lucasfilm’s Andor is available to stream now on Disney+, with the season finale set to be released on Nov. 23.

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Andor shows how human and political Star Wars can be
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The content being added to Disney+ seems to be coming at breakneck speed. Yet, whether it's from Marvel Studios or Lucasfilm's Star Wars shows, treating serialized storytelling like an assembly line starts to dilute the point of "hourlong dramas" and chips away at the emotional impact that these stories should be having. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a solid throwback romp with Ewan McGregor reprising his role as the beloved legacy character, but it suffered from surprisingly low production value and that it was painfully obvious that this was supposed to be a movie first. The Book of Boba Fett before it also felt like abridged fan service that pulled the rug out from under its lead protagonist.

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