Andor came to an end after 12 truly phenomenal episodes.
The show, which stars Diego Luna as the titular rebel alongside incredible character actors like Stellan Skarsgård, has quickly entered the charts. star wars stories ever’ lists.
It mixes the kind of dense, clever storyline you’d expect from an HBO drama with powerful performances and beautiful cinematography, all underpinned by an intricate look at the politics at play in the early days of the Galactic Empire.
Shows like Andor are a team effort, with directors like Benjamin Caron and Toby Haynes delivering incredible episodes, but the series certainly wouldn’t be the same without the showrunner (and A thug writer) Tony Gilroy.
digital spy got a chance to sit down with Tony before the show’s finale aired, talking about the episode’s biggest moments and how it ties into the show’s overall themes.
The final episode takes us back to Ferrix, where the show began. What was the thought behind returning there for the finale?
Several reasons I suppose. I mean some of them are just, you know, dramatic gravitation. There are a lot of characters, and I wanted to try to bring them together in one place for proper grammar and to tell a good adventure story.
But I guess on a deeper level if these first 12 episodes and this first season is about taking someone sleeping or, in Cassian’s case, maybe worse than a sleep, maybe really disillusioned and off the grid… If I want to take this person over the course of a year and take them through the way of the cross of radicalization and conversion, it’s really great to see a square do the same thing.
What happens on Ferrix is no different from what [Cassian] happens internally.
And so yeah, I know I had the ending worked out long before I had a lot of other stuff.
We spoke to Diego Luna when the first episodes aired, and he talked a lot about how Andor is a star wars community story and seeing the community come together. Going back to Ferrix and seeing how this community becomes radicalized is part of the show’s identity.
And also how, you know, how it’s abused and destroyed. What the coming oppression brings and what the revolution costs.
What we found compelling about the show was the idea that when pressure is put on groups of people, whether it’s the prisoners or the Ferrix community, they band together and it’s not everyone for himself.
It starts with Kunari’s children. When they bring their dead comrade back with them, you see how they have pulled themselves together. I mean obviously there’s an incredible amount of betrayal on our show and there will be a lot more as time goes on. But it really feels good to have a prison where, you know, prisoners don’t fuck each other.
I think one of the most heartbreaking things about Andy Serkis, when he gives his speech, is “helping each other”. Even when you say it, even when you write it, you get that feeling.
It must be some kind of animal instinct – they’re obviously trying to figure out what the evolutionary reason for altruism is – but there’s a reason for it, and it makes people feel a certain way.
I don’t think that’s a universal truth. I think a lot of times you pressure communities and end up with terrible factions and behaviors, but it’s good when it works the other way around.
The show’s final line is Cassian telling Luthen, “You can either kill me or take me in.” Throughout the show, we heard people talk about the “wish” they made and we just wondered if it was something we were going to see Cassian make. Is it something you’ve already written? Or is it purely symbolic?
No, I think you’ve seen it. I mean, I think that was it, you saw it happen there. So no, we don’t have a secret initiation. What could be more graphic than saying, and he really means it, “Kill me. I don’t want to do this anymore. Either I’m in or I’m out”?
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It’s such an interesting mirror of their first scene on Luthen’s ship, where Luthen says to Andor “Would you rather die taking something small or die taking a big hit?”
At the exact location.
Have you ever been tempted to further develop Nemik’s ideology? He gives this big talk about the Navigator when they’re on Aldhani, but we don’t hear from him anymore. What was the thought behind returning to Nemik at this time?
Well, on a practical level, if I’m going to show someone’s complete conversion to rebellion, I want to get as many flavors of it as possible.
I mean, crazy fishermen who saved [Cassian and Melchi] and say, “We can’t fish here anymore because they violated our planet,” to people who want revenge, and to people who are here for all kinds of different reasons.
And one of the things you want to have is a dialectical reason, so let’s take a theorist. And when Alex Lawther came in and auditioned, part of it was written, but when Alex came in, it was just, “Oh my god, he could do anything.”
You want him so much, he’s such a great actor and so easy. So the opportunity then becomes to do so. This manifesto is important. That’s why he’s there in the first place, why he’s coming back, it’s because that’s the legacy Nemik wanted him to have, isn’t it? He says, “You need it.”
I don’t want to get messianic about Cassian Andor, but he has a fate we know. I mean there is a tough on this show. We know where he is going and he will be someone who consciously and openly sacrifices himself for the greater good.
It’s going to take a long time to get there, but there’s something in sync about him having the manifesto with him.
We were curious to touch a little where we leave Syril and Dedra. Can you talk about both the position they’re in and how they feel after everything that’s been wrong with Ferrix?
[Laughs] Well, I mean, I don’t think they know how they feel! But I’m very happy with the way they ended. I loved the way Ben Caron shot it.
I don’t want to predict or argue where I think they might go, but I think they are two incredibly inarticulate people. When it comes to how they feel, their own quirkiness, their own insecurities, and their own appetites, they’re worthy.
Finally, we wanted to give you an idea of the scene with Leda at the end. What is she thinking and what does she mean to Mon?
Oh my God. I mean, if you’re a parent, the illusion that you can shape your children however you want is an endlessly losing battle. I think [Mon Mothma] is shocked. She broke free, she got married at 16 and she did the thing and went through other things. And Vel evidently escaped the many restrictions of what would be traditional Chandrilan life. And so, while there’s a more modern Chandrila emerging – here’s your daughter becoming Orthodox, right?
You know, it’s a dynamic that I’ve seen and it’s definitely there in the world where, you know, the parents are hippies and the kid is a hedge fund thief.
And you see this push towards puritanism in different corners when the going gets tough – it’s happening in the real world.
People are moving towards safety, people are moving towards structure and safety. And maybe Mon didn’t do a very good job of raising him and maybe part of the real disappointment comes from the fact that you can’t help but blame yourself. So, “God, what did I do? I raised her here on Coruscant. Didn’t I pay enough attention? What did I do?”
I think it’s so busy. I will say one thing that was really fascinating. That scene she had at the breakfast table earlier, the abusive scene where she says “No, daddy’s not taking me, why are you trying to be careful? And you’re always trying to get noticed” , was our audition scene.
All the girls who came to audition for this role were successful. This scene was so easy for everyone on both sides to do. It was like, wow, nobody needs notes.
The 12 episodes of Andor are streaming on Disney+.