No lightsabers, no Jedi: Why 'Andor' is a Star Wars show like no other


  • TV
  • Tuesday, 20 Sep 2022

The new 'Andor' television series, premiering on Sept 21 on Disney+ Hotstar, takes a whole new perspective on the Star Wars universe. – Photos: Disney+ Hotstar

Are you ready for a Star Wars show with no lightsabers, no X-wings, no Jedi nor Sith? In other words, one that is unlike any you’ve ever seen?

The new Andor television series, premiering on Sept 21 on Disney+ Hotstar, takes a whole new perspective on the Star Wars universe, eschewing the fan-pleasing lightsaber duels and epic space battles in favour of a grittier, more on the ground look at the birth of the Rebellion and the growing uprising against the Empire.

Set before events in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, it tracks the rise of the Rebellion from the perspective of that movie’s main stars: Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna.

According to Luna, the series is completely different to Rogue One in the sense that you get to know the characters a lot better here.

Rogue One is a film about an event. You don't get to know those characters. You don't get to understand exactly where they come from, what needs to happen (for them to get there),” he explained during a recent global virtual press conference.

The series tracks the rise of the Rebellion from the perspective of one of that movie’s main stars: Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna.The series tracks the rise of the Rebellion from the perspective of one of that movie’s main stars: Cassian Andor, played by Diego Luna.

“And for me, it's quite relevant today to tell the story of what needs to happen for a revolutionary to emerge, to exist, to come to live. What gives meaning in the life of someone to be willing to sacrifice everything for a cause? What needs to happen? That journey matters to me.”

Some of the things Cassian said during Rogue One had also stayed with Luna until today, which led to this line of thought.

“The character says stuff that haunts me in Rogue One. You know, that he started to fight when he was six years old. What does that mean, exactly? Why would a six-year-old miss his childhood and start a fight?” Luna explained.

“He talks about a dark past. He talks about doing terrible stuff for the Rebellion. What is he referring to? I think that story matters and is interesting. And there is a lot of material for us there.”

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and B2EMO in a scene from 'Andor'.Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and B2EMO in a scene from 'Andor'.

According to series creator, showrunner, executive producer, and writer Tony Gilroy, said the idea of following Cassian’s journey within the Rebellion was too good to pass up.

“We know where he ends up, and we know how accomplished and complicated he is,” Gilroy said.

Best known for writing the screenplays for the original Jason Bourne trilogy and being nominated for the Best Director and Best Original Screenplay Oscars for Michael Clayton, Gilroy was the co-writer for Rogue One.

He adds that that the idea of a story that takes Cassian literally from his childhood origins and walks him through the five-year revolution that takes him to that moment in Rogue One was what attracted him most to make this show.

“(This was) a moment in history in a place where huge events are happening and real people are being crushed by it,” Gilroy said. “The fact that we could follow somebody all the way through to the end, that was the buy-in for me (to work on Andor).”

Tony Gilroy (left) and Diego Luna on the set of 'Andor'. – Photo: Disney+ HotstarTony Gilroy (left) and Diego Luna on the set of 'Andor'. – Photo: Disney+ Hotstar

Although the series revolves mostly around Luna’s titular character, this is a story about the rise of a Rebellion after all, so there is an understandably large cast of characters.

Genevieve O'Reilly reprises her role as Mon Mothma (whom she played in the Star Wars prequel films as well as Rogue One), while new additions include Adria Arjona, who portrays Bix Caleen, Denise Gough, who plays Dedra Meero, and Kyle Soler, who plays Syril Karn. Forest Whitaker is also due to return as the incendiary rebel Saw Gerrera.

“There are a lot of characters in our show... everyone is going to be circulating and spinning and intersecting around the Cassian Andor story as we move towards Rogue One,” Gilroy says.

“It's a potent moment in history. And a lot of people are facing a lot of really difficult times and difficult decisions along the way. And that's what the show is about.”

Forest Whitaker (left) will be reprising his role as rebel Saw Gerrera in Andor'.Forest Whitaker (left) will be reprising his role as rebel Saw Gerrera in Andor'.

As a result, Luna said that Andor is a show about real people living in very dark times in that galaxy far, far away.

“This is a show about these people finding the strength to come up with a reaction to change and bring change to their reality. It's very inspiring,” he said.

“It's got adventure and action at its best, what you expect from Star Wars, but then it goes very intimate and it's very subtle and it takes time to understand each character and it has time for each storyline.”

“There are no Jedi around, and these people have to articulate a reaction to the oppression. It's the most grounded kind of Star Wars you'll get,” he said. “ I just think it's very rich, it's powerful, and hopefully people are going to like it.”

The first three episodes Andor premieres exclusively on Disney plus on September 21.

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Star Wars , Disney+ , Andor , Diego Luna

   

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