“Star Wars” seems to definitely bet on the television universe: since Disney bought the franchise, a new trilogy of films and some spin-offs were built, but given the lack of success of these, and the furor that “The Mandalorian” caused, first real success of the galactic saga under the Mouse House thanks to its adorable Baby Yoda, the strategy has changed drastically and today the universe of George Lucas lives on the small screen.
This was demonstrated by the recent return of Ewan McGregor to the role of Obi-Wan Kenobi and also the series that premieres tomorrow on Disney +, “Andor”, starring the Mexican Diego Luna, an espionage blockbuster that follows from “Rogue One” , one of the “Star Wars” movies that recount events outside the Skywalker and that, perhaps for that reason, found a good reception from the audience when it was released.
“Andor”, which will debut tomorrow with three episodes and will then premiere a chapter every Wednesday, bets on the galactic spy thriller to explore the genesis of the rebellion against the Empire: the new installment of the franchise to feed the Disney platform in the middle of the war of streaming services, is a prequel to “Rogue One”, delving into the murky past of one of the film’s heroes, Cassian Andor (Luna), and the incipient rebellion, which was later joined by emblematic characters from the saga, such as Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia.
“This is a series about real people. These are very dark times in the galaxy. There (are) no Jedi,” Luna said at a recent virtual press conference, alluding to these characters of great power and wisdom in the fictional world of “Star Wars” created by George Lucas. “These people have to decide how to react to oppression. It’s the most realistic star wars you’re going to see,” she notes. It is, in that sense, a darker and more ambiguous series than what the galactic universe has accustomed us to. The same style that was breathed in “Rogue One”, a war movie and, as is known, the trenches are not usually places of clarity.
Set five years before the film, the series places Cassian Andor on a decaying industrial planet where the inhabitants survive by scavenging and repairing scrap, and where discontent simmers with the fascist Empire. The story takes place in the capital of the galaxy, Coruscant, where a young Mon Mothma, played by Genevieve O’Reilly (the stellar cast is completed by Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, Fiona Shaw and Faye Marsay) tries to meet her duties as a senator while supporting the rebels. Thus, the series focuses on Andor’s journey to become a rebel hero against a backdrop of growing rebellion against the Empire.
“With the series, we have the opportunity to be very specific in telling the story of how a revolutionary is born, what triggers that clarity, that conviction. There is room for nuances and for the different layers that give richness to what one is seeing”, says Diego Luna.
To carry out this troubled hero, says Toby Haynes, one of the directors of the series, Luna was key. “He is a very intelligent and nuanced actor. He acts out every line of dialogue, no matter how small. What was especially interesting about seeing him play the role of Cassian was that he was playing this man who is younger, knows less, and isn’t the fully-fledged hero that we know from ‘Rogue One.’ He is reckless and more impulsive. It was a real pleasure to see the way Diego embodied all of that,” he says.
It is that in this Andor, “there is a trauma and an anger and a bitterness inside him. He has many reasons to be angry. It’s an unfortunate combination of circumstances that brings him to the moment he finds himself in the first episode of the series,” says series creator Tony Gilroy, who wrote the film adaptation of Jason Bourne’s spy novels, as well. like the script of “Rogue One”, and that also expands on the stories of the agents of the evil Empire itself.
“Tony is not an author who limits himself to good and evil, to black and white,” Luna said. “He spends most of his time on the complexity of the gray areas, on the contradictions of the characters.”
And so, with this new release, it is that while future “Star Wars” feature films have been postponed, or even put on hold, following declining box office returns and mixed reviews, the universe continues to expand on the small screen. The next thing is a third season of “The Mandalorian”, and the new “Skeleton Crew”, with Jude Law: it is clear that Disney has changed its strategy and is not afraid to spend movie money to feed its television platform with new productions of “Star Wars” that, in addition, move further and further away from the main story, which seems to have exhausted the audience after nine films.
At 12 episodes, the first season of “Andor” is longer than previous “Star Wars” series. And twelve more chapters are already being prepared for the second season, which should take the story to the events of “Rogue One”.
“It takes time to understand each character and (the series) spends time on all the plots,” Luna said. “I think she is very rich. She is powerful and people will like her, I hope.”