Set five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney+’s Andor finds both Diego Luna and Genevieve O’Reilly revisiting roles they played before.
Luna headlines the live-action Star Wars series as the titular Cassian Andor, whom audiences first met in 2016’s Rogue One, while O’Reilly played Mon Mothma in both Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and Rogue One (as well as voiced the character in a few animated offerings).
But whereas Rogue One introduced Cassian as an experienced intelligence officer within the Rebel alliance, Andor will fill in a whole lotta blanks about how he came to join that cause in the first place. Said backstory was fleetingly hinted at in a throwaway Rogue One line where Cassian makes clear to someone, “I’ve been in this fight since I was six years old!”
That formative childhood, parceled out in early Andor flashbacks, “was a reveal for me,” Luna shares with TVLine. “And I think it’s going to be quite interesting for audiences as well, because when they were looking at Rogue One — when Cassian says, ‘Ive been part of this fight since I was six years old’ — I don’t think they really reflected on that.
“What does it mean to start a fight when you’re six years old? What makes you miss your childhood that way, that you are part of a movement already?” asks Luna. “We’re going to see what that line meant, and I was just shocked when I read what [Andor creator] Tony [Gilroy] was proposing — which happens to me often with the writing of Tony Gilroy. It’s so complex and unique, but it’s so juicy also.”
Gilroy, who co-wrote the Rogue One screenplay, “has an answer for everything,” Luna avows, “and Cassian’s backstory is intense. It’s powerful, it’s emotional, and I think audiences are going to see him differently after understanding what happened in his childhood.”
Genevieve O’Reilly says that what surprised her most about her own character’s backstory via Andor was to see the woman Mon Mothma was as a upright senator (with a secret or two…), years before she’d become leader of the Rebel Alliance (and then the first chancellor of the New Republic, as played in Return of the Jedi by Caroline Blakiston).
“I love this woman, and I’ve played this woman a number of times,” O’Reilly notes for TVLine, “and I think what surprised me was the opulence of her life, the opulence of that empire that she was living in.
“I knew that she had been a senator from a very young age — I did play her very briefly in Revenge of the Sith when I was very young, and I remember those costumes. I remember the detail and the beauty of them being in line with say, Queen Amidala, at the time,” adds the actress. “And it makes complete sense now, when you think of the orthodoxy she has been living in within Empire.”
Andor premieres this Wednesday, Sept. 21, with its first three episodes, which run 35 to 40 minutes each; the rest of the 12-episode season will then roll out weekly. (Season 1 spans a year in time, while Season 2 will cover four years.) O’Reilly first appears in Episode 4 — and under rather fascinating circumstances.
“I love that they have invested time in that [backstory], because it gives me as an actor and us as an audience somewhere to go,” says O’Reilly. “We know that she ends up in a bunker in Yavin, and I can’t wait to see how we go from here to there.”