Disney+ Star Wars Series “Andor” Is The Missing Piece to the Epic Saga, Starring Diego Luna
Since the 1970s, the Star Wars universe has entered the consciousness of nearly every living person in the developed world. If you aren’t familiar with Star Wars, you have probably come into contact with it unintentionally, like shopping at a store and seeing Star Wars toys or attending your cousin’s Star Wars-themed birthday party. Needless to say, Star Wars has taken us all down a galactic sci-fi journey centering around a seemingly eternal war between the Empire (Bad Guys) and the Rebel Alliance (Good Guys). The Rebel Alliance has been at the forefront of the sci-fi epic that we have come to love over the span of 45 years. The only issue with the Star Wars timeline between all movies and shows was that we never actually got to see the genesis of the Rebel Alliance and how it was formed in the first place.
This is where Cassian Andor comes in, the “spark” of the Star Wars universe behind the Rebel Alliance’s creation. In the film Star Wars: Rogue One, we meet Cassian Andor, who is played by acclaimed Mexican actor Diego Luna as the Rebel Alliance is at its climactic rise into the Star Wars story line. Due to the film focusing on various characters, though, we only got to see the tip of the iceberg as to who Cassian Andor really was and what made him into the man we saw in Rogue One, which was after the Rebel Alliance had already been created.
It is this missing piece to the saga that will now be shown to the world through ANDOR, Star Wars‘ newest series on Disney+ that releases on Wednesday, September 21st, 2022. In this limited 2 season series, we will get to see the origins of Cassian Andor and get to know the man who would ignite the rise of the Rebel Alliance. The series will also focus on Mon Mothma, the enigmatic Rebel leader introduced in Return of the Jedi (as played by Caroline Blakiston), as her and Cassian’s destinies of laying the framework for the rebellion occur parallel to each other.
The key difference between the series and the film is that we get to go back to before Cassian Andor became the rebel hero we met in Rogue One. This kind of character development allows us to get to know the hero that showed us what it means to do whatever it takes to stand up to those who oppress. With it being a series, we also get multiple feature film-length episodes to understand the depth of how the Rebel Alliance came to be and the various challenges encountered in the process.
With Cassian Andor being at the center of the series, we were able to hear from the rebel himself as actor Diego Luna gave us insight into his experience shooting Rogue One versus ANDOR.
“In Rogue One, I felt as if I jumped into a vehicle that was already moving, [with ANDOR] I felt like I got into the vehicle while it was parked… we had a chance to find the best way to tell this story. In terms of challenges, [we asked ourselves] how to approach storytelling in a different way than you normally would. [Normally] you have a beginning, and you have to reach an end, but here it’s the opposite, we know how things end, therefore, [we asked ourselves] how much can we complicate everything, but backward.”
Between the film and series, there is so much more that goes into the production, as ANDOR is made up of two 12-episode series (24 episodes in total). This massive cinematic undertaking is put into perspective by Diego:
“We are working on a long format. 12 episodes is [equal to] the length of 4 films to tell this chunk of the story.. in the next season, there will be another 12 [episodes], so it’s like doing eight movies.“
Aside from production, however, we learned that the ANDOR series offers the chance to paint a vivid picture and tell an intricate story giving viewers more than just an action-packed 2-hour film. We get to involve ourselves with the story and intimately meet the characters on a personal level. Diego shines more light on this in his explanation of what to expect from the film:
“The time you have to take care of subtle details and intimate moments and behavior… It’s beautiful as an actor to have all that freedom. In terms of the [series] it’s very complex, and so many things happen with so many surprises for the audience. Once you think you know what the series is about, the series will surprise you. It keeps changing and evolving.”
Shifting our focus from the series itself, we asked the rebel hero film star about what it was like to go from making independent Mexican films such as “Y Tu Mama Tambien” to eventually starring in major blockbuster films. In his own words, Diego Luna shares his thoughts on the idea around what he considers to be “success” and what it should really mean for an actor based on his own experience:
“I don’t think success is about making it to major blockbuster [films], I think success is about something else… it’s about the freedom you have to tell the stories you want to tell… to portray the characters you want to portray and to be around the people you want to be around. I think the beauty of this journey [acting] is that it’s not much about the scope or the size of the [film/series] but the journey you go through and how much this journey can transform you… No one would think that “Y Tu Mama Tambien” would get you to Star Wars… but when you are honest to the story you want to tell when you commit to it, when you collaborate in the most generous and open way, then a very specific story can become universal… I was told by the director of Rogue One that he wanted to work with me because of “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” Therefore that tiny project got me to [one day] do something huge.”
It comes as no surprise that the man behind the character fighting for a just cause carries the same integrity and modesty that comes with a true sci-fi action hero. In addition to the genuine character Diego portrays, his Mexican background and fluency in Spanish allowed him to dub his own voice for the Spanish-translated version of the series. This is usually done by entirely different people to ensure the pronunciation of the words is correct. Still, as Diego is a native of Mexico who speaks Spanish fluently, the dubbing was just another check on the list that makes Luna a high-value actor. When asked about it, Diego made sure to point out the following regarding the Spanish dub:
“Dubbing the [series] in Spanish means a lot to me because of new generations of young kids that are gonna watch this [series] that are not ready to read subtitles that should enjoy it… at least [they will] have my voice and sensibilities there because I created that character.”
The idea of creating a timeless character within two languages isn’t just impressive. It’s a testament to the power of diversity in the world of films. The inclusion of actors from different ethnicities has always been a challenge within the film industry which has been met with scrutiny and calls for change. Diego Luna keeping his Mexican accent within the series, while delivering an undeniable performance as Cassian Andor, is a shining example of what it is to be diverse and still tell an unforgettable story in an English-based film.
With all of this, it is clear to see what the secret sauce to the production and storytelling of the ANDOR series is… to be strikingly different.