Photo: John Parra/Getty Images
Spoilers for the first season of follow Andor.
Compared to the withdrawn, paranoid protagonist, he keeps playing Andor, Diego Luna is a really friendly guy. Within seconds of our conversation beginning, it’s clear that he shares my enthusiasm – and that of a large, vocal audience of critics and fans – for the series. His answers to my questions pour out in enthusiastic monologues for minutes; he even offers a sympathetic “Oh my God” when I tell him Andor is the only war of stars project in my four decades of fan base that brought me to tears.
But Luna is used to that kind of reaction by now Andor is the best rated war of stars anything in years. Created by Tony Gilroy, it tells a very different kind of story war of stars Story: A ground-level look at the birth of the Rebellion through the eyes of Luna’s low-level thief-turned-turned-revolutionary Cassian Andor, a character he spawned in the standalone film Villain One. Even with this well-received film as a pedigree, AndorThe scathing political prominence of , the decidedly flawed characters (on all sides of the conflict), and the complete absence of Jedi, Sith, and Baby Yodas all risked alienating audiences.
Luna knows that too: “It was risky from the start. The show never wanted to be anything else. I think it’s great that people are celebrating because I know it’s not easy.”
Did you follow the critical answer? How does it feel to be part of a project with this kind of reception?
It’s definitely something new. [Laughs.] I’m very, very proud of what we’ve done, but I try not to think too much about it – albeit with war of stars, each one reminds you of the fan base, the number of people and the attention, the expectation. This can confuse you; this may fool you.
It was important for me to be clear about what kind of show Tony and I wanted to do, what kind of show we were talking about when we first spoke. We always reminded ourselves that it must feel like this occurrence. Forget you’re in a galaxy far, far away: this should feel so close to home – like sneaking into the lives of your neighbors.
Reading the reactions, people are celebrating the show for the same reasons I wanted to do it: “The most down-to-earth, most realistic war of stars Show.” More mature, more complex. We always said, ‘Let’s go deep. Make sure we stay in the gray areas where characters are trying to be the best version of themselves. Let’s be honest about who they are.’ are.”
I mean when we talk about the audience war of starswe’re talking about my father and my son. And I’m also part of the audience; I wanted to be part of a show that I would love to see. There’s a huge segment of the audience out there that wants to see that. We are not alone.
Did you feel like you were making an inherently political show?
We tell the story of the awakening of a revolution. There is no possibility Not be political. If you wanted to avoid it, there would be no show.
The show clearly speaks of oppression. The show talks about the context required for a revolution to be born. That will always resonate, because humanity is constantly in need of change. That’s the beauty of fiction. It’s a great tool for commenting on your life and reality.
In the early episodes, Cassian talks about the Empire about how “fat and content” they are. Anyone listening to this dialogue is putting a face to the character Cassian is describing. Everybody can. No matter how far you are from what you see on screen, it’s always talking about you. For me, this story says a lot about what worries me and what is important to me.
One of the most unusual things about the series is that Cassian Andor isn’t particularly charismatic, especially in the early episodes. We’re used to dramas centered around the most magnetic guy in the room.
You were probably in the same room with him and never noticed. Cassian had to be that guy because this is a big show that wants to tell the story of people that big shows never cared about. That’s the only way to be honest about a revolution.
Yes, there are leaders, but revolutions are not made by leaders. They are made of numbers, of belief, of ordinary people who think they can do something extraordinary. This is the story of one of those people who has never been celebrated. Oh, this person will bring change, this person is different – No not true. The strength of the community, that’s what the show is about.
You can’t fall into the trap of making the charismatic, funny guy you know from the start will find a way out. You must be thinking the opposite. you must be wondering Why are we supporting him? I’ve always said, “Let’s avoid movie moments as much as possible.”
I wanted to speak to you specifically about the prison break, which was the most emotional I’ve ever endured war of stars.
That was the last thing we shot. Not just this prison – this jump! The cameras were there, the cables and all, and we jumped. The stunt performers made one themselves. Then we heard “Wrap her up!” and we ended the show. It was very emotionally charged.
I mean it was suffocating shooting in that prison. We did this as a block, so basically we were life in this prison built in a studio without seeing the light of day. And the set was huge. All rooms were large, long, white. You felt like an ant.
Conceptually it’s so strong: this false hope of getting out of there, this number on the wall that keeps you going, and it’s all a lie. The only thing you are there for is to produce non-stop. That’s why you have to be healthy, you have to be strong – the place is spotless, clean, they feed you, but it’s you Nothing.
And it was always a big bunch of people. There are very few scenes where we aren’t with a lot of men wearing the same outfit designed by Michael Wilkinson. It’s brutal because it takes away all of the personality. You’re just a white suit and a number. This idea of being dead while alive because your life means nothing – it’s always weighed on our shoulders. And that’s the last thing Cassian gets to hear: Your life, your journey, your experience means nothing to the Empire. It was the first time he had this clarity.
Andy Serkis? Come on. He was so hard, so moving. That sequence where everyone’s yelling, “One way out! A way out!” It was strong. I was so affected.
This interview has been edited and shortened for clarity.