Diego Luna is not new to the Star Wars universe. His new show Andor serves as a prequel to a prequel, focusing on his character Cassian Andor from 2016’s Rogue One (itself is a prequel to Star Wars: A New Hope) years before he became a fan favorite hero.
In 2016’s Rogue One Cassian is already an established spy and leader in the Rebellion against the sinister Empire, and his efforts help deliver an important package that helps Luke Skywalker and the Rebels destroy the Empire and Darth Vader in the original film trilogy.
The new Disney+ show Andor will be a two season, 24-episode series following Luna’s Cassian as he tries to find some truth about his past and navigate the dangerous worlds of the Star Wars universe, which will ultimately lead to him joining the Rebellion. The story is also one that focuses on Cassian’s community and those that he holds most dear, and what he’s willing to do to protect them.
Recently Luna spoke to EO about his experience coming back to the character after a few years and what that opportunity meant to him. He spoke on what it’s like creating a Star Wars show as an actor and producer, and what he hopes audiences take away from the themes and story they are trying to tell.
Andor is now available to stream exclusively on Disney+.
Thank you very much for talking about Andor. To start, I wanted to know what the process was like when you found out that they were going to continue the Cassian story and what those feelings were coming back to this world of Star Wars.
Well look, I heard it, I was very happy to receive the news and the invitation. For me this character is a very dear character and, furthermore, the process is the process of life. In other words, the life experience that brought me to make Rogue One, I treasure it like few other things.
So being able to return to this team to work was great news. And in terms of history, well, it’s exciting to be able to tell Cassian’s past, to talk about the awakening of this rebellion, and of the moment, let’s say, in history, in the Star Wars chronology. The moment in which that rebellion begins to articulate [itself].
I wanted to know in which aspects you further developed the Cassian character? How was this experience of going from a character in an ensemble film, to an entire show with him as the lead?
Well, it was very pleasant. I have always been very grateful for the team, because even though it is called Andor, it is a story in which there are many characters and there is also a lot of time to explore them, right? That’s what’s important.
It’s one thing that gives you this long series format. We have 12 episodes in this first season. So there are many, many stories that unfold, not just Cassian’s. And that gives a sense that it’s a story about a community. And in this community, there are many interesting characters and many stories worth telling
And being a producer, how did you get involved in the story and how was everything going to turn out in the series?
Well look, producing is the opportunity to be present throughout the entire process, right? It is the opportunity to accompany all the processes to feel that the show, well, belongs to you in some sense, right? As an actor you arrive at a vehicle that is already in movement. And as a producer, well, I’ve been there since the very beginning, since the very first meetings, since the casting process, the design process, and then by the time you get to shoot, you know exactly why things are the way they are and there is time to assimilate, right?
You also have the opportunity to ask questions when it makes sense to ask questions. I appreciate getting involved as a producer. Because in addition to being able to influence decisions, I learned a lot in the process.
Could you talk about what the experience of filming this series was like and how technology was involved?
Well, there are many technological tools today that make work easier. But there is nothing simple about this series, the truth is that the design is very ambitious. And well, the different scenarios that are seen in the series are those very complex designs, right? And everything is built.
There is a lot of work from the art team, the wardrobe team, the makeup team, hairstyling; the department of droids and creatures that make some fabulous characters.
There is a lot of work put into this series. There are many months and many heads working on this. And I think that when you see that wealth of talent, you see that level of production, it shows in the series.
I wanted to know a little bit about the part of the show focusing on Cassian’s childhood story, where it shows he’s from an Indigenous community on the planet Kenari. Where did that idea come from and how do you feel about how they are treated?
Well, it’s interesting because this is also a community made up of only [children]. It makes you wonder a lot of things. It’s a story that Tony Gilbert made up and I think it is very powerful. It helps you understand a lot [about] where Cassian came from, what he’s left behind, what experiences has he had? What does he mean when he says that he has been part of a struggle since he was six years old, what life is that which he is referring to?
Last question, thank you very much Diego for the time. What would you like audiences to take away from this experience of seeing Andor on Disney+?
Well, it’s a mature show, an interesting show. A show that’s a little darker. A show that appeals to the public’s intelligence, that does have all the action, the adventure that one looks for in Star Wars.
But it also has other things. It makes a commentary and above all it has an emotional force. I think it’s a show that’s easy to empathize with, easy to connect with the characters, and it ends up becoming a very emotional journey.