The first three episodes of the Andor series have finally arrived on Disney+ and the show’s star Diego Luna, who plays Cassian Andor, has highlighted that we finally get to learn about this character’s personal journey, five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
“I think Rogue One is a film about an event, 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 life, what gives meaning in the life of someone to be willing to sacrifice everything for a cause,” Luna told reporters ahead of the series premiere.
“He started the fight since he was six years-old, what does that mean, exactly? Why [would] a six-year-old 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. So I was really excited to be able to go into that journey and give those answers."
Andor, as we’re introduced to the series, is a particularly robust and mature addition to the Star Wars phenomenon, with themes around power, oppression and control explored in this iteration of the universe.
At the beginning of the series, Andor is on Morlana One, looking for his missing sister, but he ends up in a fight with two men, connected to the Empire. The men end up dead, one was an accident, and Andor returns to Ferrix, full of scrapyards and warehouses, desperate to get out of town to escape the consequences of what happened on Morlana One.
'She is incredibly street smart and brilliant'
That is where we meet Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona), who Andor runs to, to get her help to urgently sell a piece of equipment.
“What I love about this show is the realism and how Tony Gilroy is bringing the Star Wars civilians into this world, and Bix is very much one of them,” Adria Arjona told Yahoo Canada. “I think you'll see a very fierce woman, I love how physical she is with her hands.”
“In our world, I would call her a mechanic, and I think she is incredibly street smart and brilliant, and also so annoyed of Cassian, she's like, ‘why are you here again? And what are you going to ask me to do now?’ He always just comes with a little bit of trouble but that's kind of why we love him and why she loves him.”
Arjona revealed that Rogue One is one of her favourites movies, and she was always curious about what Andor’s journey was before we get to the events of the 2016 film, which extends to her character Bix as well.
“I think her own background and where Bix comes from, and the fact that my biggest question was, ‘she's the owner of the salvage yard…how did she get it? How did she obtain it?’” Arjona said.
“I think that discovery of how she got to that position, and the need to hold that position in a world where everyone has a different yard, and everyone's selling a different piece, and it's incredibly competitive... That sort of urgency brought her to life for me, which makes the stakes much higher when something is asked.”
The actor also stressed what an advantage it was to able to work with Luna, who has done so much personal work on his character.
“The second you sort of lock eyes with him, he's already in the world, he's Cassian,” Arjona said. “It's also really helpful that he's right in front of you, so you can sort of ask different questions.”
'We never even had a conversation about my own ethnicity'
When asked about Latino representation in Andor, Adria Arjona told reporters that it "gives her hope," but also stressed that her ethnicity was never part of conversations she had with creator Tony Gilroy about her casting, which was "the most beautiful thing."
"It gives me hope that now a little girl is going to watch and be like, 'Oh my God, that girl kind of looks like me and maybe I want to be like her for Halloween' or whatever that may be," Arjona said.
"I'm happy that Tony brought me along but it wasn't part of the conversation, which was, I think, the most beautiful thing about it. It wasn't like 'oh, you're Hispanic so you need to be in this.' Tony was like, 'Oh, you're Bix,' and we never even had a conversation about my own ethnicity. I think it was really just about the work, and I truly hope in the future that, that question kind of isn't asked as much anymore, that it sort of becomes normality, where seeing two actors, like Diego and I, in Star Wars is cool and it's the norm."
Diego Luna added that the industry is "reacting" to what the audience wants to see.
"I think the industry is reacting to something happening out there, and we're supposed to be a mirror for audiences to be able to see themselves there," Luna said. "When you buy a ticket you send a message, when you don't buy it you also send the message, when you click you send the message, when you don't, you send a message. The industry will respond to that and it is responding."
"I think it makes sense if we're talking about a galaxy where there are so many planets, that people come from different places. If we're talking about refugees, they come from different places and they gather in one place and they sound different, they look different."