Andor, the upcoming Star Wars show, promises more morally complex storytelling

Andor, the upcoming Star Wars show, promises more morally complex storytelling

‘We want to make this real’ says series showrunner Tony Gilroy

SET to premiere with its first three episodes on Disney+ Hotstar on September 21, Andor aims to tell a story that is a lot more complex and ambitious compared to the other Star Wars shows up to this point.

The last two series – The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi – featured two of the most iconic characters in the whole pantheon of Star Wars, a distinction that Andor does not share.

As a member of the ensemble of characters introduced in 2016’s Rogue One, Rebel spy Cassian Andor made an impression thanks to the charisma of actor Diego Luna and the moral ambiguity of some of his choices, but wasn’t exactly a character calling out for an origin story.

Set five years before the events of Rogue One, audiences will be seeing more of him. But this new series promises more than that, featuring a much bigger cast of characters than the other Star Wars shows, as well as a more gritty and grounded version of universe, as we visit a time when the Empire was at its height and the Rebellion was at its infancy.

Andor creator/showrunner/executive producer/writer Tony Gilroy, as well as some cast members including Diego Luna, Genevieve O’Reilly, and others, shared their thoughts on the show during a recent press conference.

Tony Gilroy: I think the main idea is we have a character in Rogue One. And we know where he ends up. And we know how accomplished and complicated he is.

And the idea that we can do a story that takes him literally from his childhood origins and walk him through a five-year history of an odyssey that takes him to that place, during a revolution, during a moment in history in a place where huge events are happening and real people are being crushed by it, the fact that we could follow somebody as an example of a revolution all the way through to the end, that was the walk-in for me.

Diego Luna: I think Rogue One is a film about an event, you know? You don’t get to know those characters. You don’t get to understand exactly where they come from, what needed to happen.

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. And the character says stuff that it haunts me in Rogue One. You know that he started to fight since he was six years old. What does that mean, exactly? You know, why a six-year-old would miss his childhood and start a fight?

That, to me, is really interesting to know. 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. That story is interesting. And there is a lot of material there for us to play.

Genevieve O’Reilly plays Mon Mothma, a senator in the Imperial Senate who behind the scenes is helping to establish the Rebel Alliance that will bring about the end of the Empire.

Genevieve O’Reilly: We’ve met Mon Mothma before in different iterations, in different versions of the Star Wars storytelling. And each time we’ve met her, we’ve met this kind of composed, regal, dignified woman who often like with Cassian in Rogue One, she is to send people out on a mission.

I think what’s extraordinary about how Tony has written Andor and where he has chosen to begin this story is so very different to where we find Mon Mothma in Rogue One.

She is still that very dignified senator. But for the first time, we get to see the woman behind the role. We get to see a private face of Mon Mothma. We get to flesh out not just the senator, not just the would-be leader of a Rebel Alliance, but also the woman.

One of the more interesting aspects of Andor is how much time is spent on the Imperial perspective. More than cartoonish villains who are easily dispatched, here we get a sense of who they are and what are their motivations. Denise Gough and Kyle Soler occupy different levels of the Empire, but are focused on rooting out threats to the established order.

Denise Gough: Dedra is an ISB (Imperial Security Bureau) officer. When we meet her, she’s at the kind of low end of the ladder. She’s incredibly ambitious and meticulous. What I love about playing her is that, you know, she’s in this very male-dominated world. She’s seeing around her the way that people are missing what she can see is happening.

And we’ve been talking a lot about this today, both about Dedra and Syril and how they come into this world. They’re sort of outsiders within the ISB. And so yes, she’s clawing her way up the ladder. I love portraying the effect that power just has on a person, like the danger of that pursuit of power and control, regardless of gender.

I mean, I do kind of love that you’re thinking oh, go girl. And then you remember, she’s in a fascist organisation.

Kyle Soler: What attracted me to the role was Tony’s writing. He had created a character that was really three-dimensional and had a big question mark over him as to, you know, he could kind of go either way. He could go into the Empire. He could go into the Rebel Alliance. And he’s got a lot of grey area.

He came from a place of such lack and it’s such a pain in his home life, that he’s trying to fill this void within himself through the fascist, corporate, bureaucratic structure, where he finds order. And he finds a place to be seen if he can supersede his station and climb those ranks.

On audience expectations, and who exactly Andor hopes to attract.

TG: I know it’s (Star Wars) not a monolithic community. There’s many different versions and factions within it, but there’s this huge dedicated Star Wars community that shows up. And that’s our whole card.

That audience is our primary concern, and we want to bring something to them that is a completely different lane than what they’ve had before, but we’re doing it in a completely uncynical fashion.

The word we use more every day, and I was at Pinewood today prepping for two, is real. We want to make this real. This place is real to us.

And we will bring a lot of things to that community that we hope they’re really interested in, and we hope they really appreciate it, and we hope they really appreciate the passion that we’ve tried to make it real.

At the same time, it’s no secret. Their partner, their boss, their girlfriend, their boyfriend, their mother, their father. A lot of people that are… Star Wars averse.

Our show is designed (so) that this could be your entry point to Star Wars. You could watch our 24 episodes, that could be your way in. We’re doing a show that does not require any prior knowledge whatsoever to get involved. And our hope is, you know, I mean that’s the gamble.
And can we at the same time bring something that’s so intense emotionally and seems so true and is the smallest domestic dramas and the smallest interpersonal relationships that are dropped down in the midst of the epic tectonic revolutionary historical moments where people have to make huge decisions?

Can we attract another audience that’s interested in that as well? Can we marry those two things together? That’s the gamble. That’s what we’re trying to do and that’s why we’re here.

*Andor premieres on Disney+ Hotstar on September 21

source – – The Vibes

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