‘Star Wars: Andor’ should be ‘different,’ says Diego Luna

There’s an old expression used by artists at Lucasfilm: “To make Star Wars, you have to hate Star Wars.” ok maybe hate is a bit extreme (thanks, Yoda). But it’s clear that modern creators must be restless and dissatisfied with the way this 43-year-old franchise has explored its galaxy-wide potential thus far if they are to continue to grow and satisfy audiences in the long run.

We noticed the strange, anxious feeling of fan service that permeated Book by Boba Fettblow his plot off course until it actually was The Mandalorian season 2.5. Obi-Wan Kenobi offered a tighter, better, more meaningful story – but given the actors and timeline, it often felt like an extra prequel movie on the go. Revenge of the Sith 2.0 isn’t exactly groundbreaking Star Wars.

Now comes the new Disney+ Star Wars series, Andoro. Technically, it’s also a prequel. It tells the backstory of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) from Rogue One – a spy, haunted by his past actions, who helps Jyn Erso steal the Death Star plans. But here’s what Diego Luna wants you to know: this is not a “Rogue Zero Point Five”.

From five years before Rogue One and ending right before it, the sprawling 24 episodes of Andoro (spread over two seasons) represent a brand new Star Wars mix, something we’ve never seen before. Rogue One is a signpost to Andoro; it’s not the territory.

“Of the moment [writer-director Tony Gilroy and team] threw me at the idea, I was in it — it sounded really smart,” said Luna, also an executive producer on the project that took four long, difficult, COVID-filled years to bring to the screen.

By giving so much space to a character’s story that we saw a stranger die, with no Jedi or Skywalkers in sight, “creativity just triggers in a different way,” Luna adds — leaving more mature and, for many, more satisfying themes are possible.

“It’s different,” Luna emphasizes. “It should be different. I mean, it should offer the action-adventure you always expect from Star Wars. But at the same time, it can be grittier. It can be more of a spy thriller. It can be very political, very character driven and dark. We can allow ourselves to go there, you know?”

Credit: Lucasfilm

As our reviewer noted, Andoro takes some time to get moving in the first two episodes. There are many scenes from two phases of Cassian’s life: his childhood in a native tribe on a beautiful homeworld brutally interrupted by the Empire, and his early adulthood, where he is a killer in the underground proto-rebels in search of a of his former tribesmen.

But stay out of the sluggishness. This builds into something big. Before the end of Episode 3, these two parts will come together in a satisfying way to illustrate a theme from Cassian’s life thus far: he keeps being pulled, almost accidentally, deeper into a galactic maelstrom. (One of those has another good reason to watch) Andoro: Stellan Skarsgard.)

“Why did he have the energy of someone migrating, like a refugee?”

“Cassian is a character who has been forced to move,” Luna says. “In Rogue Oneyou know, nobody has his accent [Luna’s own]. He feels part of a team, but he is clearly different. Where does he come from? What did he have to leave behind? Why did he have the energy of someone migrating, like a refugee? Someone who fights because something has been taken from him: that’s what moves Cassian.”

A Star Wars series that takes its time and talks about the refugee experience of anger, frustration and loss: this certainly counts as something new and current in the galaxy. Somehow, you can imagine those old Lucasfilm performers — and perhaps the ghost of Yoda, who explicitly encouraged the next generation of Star Wars to grow beyond him — nodding in approval.