Andor has come to an end after 12 truly phenomenal episodes.
The show, which stars Diego Luna as the would-be rebel alongside incredible character actors like Stellan Skarsgård, has quickly entered many people’s favorites Star Wars stories ever’ lists.
It mixes the kind of tight, intelligent scriptwriting 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.
Showing as Andor is a team effort, with directors like Benjamin Caron and Toby Haynes delivering some incredible episodes, but the show certainly wouldn’t be the same without the showrunner (and Rogue One author) Tony Gilroy.
Digital spy was lucky enough to sit down with Tony before the show’s finale aired, to talk through the episode’s biggest moments and how it ties the show’s overarching themes together.
The final episode takes us back to Ferrix, where the show started. What was the thought behind returning there for the final?
Many reasons I guess. I mean some of them are just, you know, dramatic gravity. There are a lot of characters and I wanted to try to collect them in one place for just the right grammar and to tell a good adventure story.
But I guess, on the deeper level, if this whole first 12 episodes and first season is about catching someone asleep, or, in Cassian’s case, maybe worse than a sleep, maybe really disillusioned and way off the grid… If I will take that person over the course of a year and walk them through the stations of the cross for radicalization and conversion, it’s really great to see a place do the same.
What happens at Ferrix is not unlike what [Cassian] goes through internally.
And so yes, I know I had solved the ending way before I had many many other things.
We spoke to Diego Luna when the first episodes aired and he talked a lot about how Andor is a Star Wars story of community and seeing communities pull together. Going back to Ferrix and seeing how that society becomes radicalized is baked into the show’s identity.
And also how it, you know, how it gets abused and broken. What the coming repression brings and what the revolution costs.
What we found compelling about the show was the idea that when pressure is applied to groups of people, whether it’s the prisoners or the community at Ferrix, they band together and it’s not every person for themselves.
It starts with the children at Kunari. When they bring their dead comrade back, you see how they got together. I mean, obviously, there’s an awful lot of deception in our show, and there’s going to be a lot more of it as time goes on. But it feels really good to have a prison where, you know, the prisoners don’t let each other down.
I think one of the most heartbreaking things that Andy Serkis says, when he gives his speech, is “help each other”. Even when you say it, even when you write it, you just get this feeling.
It must be some sort 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 it’s a universal truth. I think a lot of times you put pressure on communities and you end up with factionalism and some terrible behavior, but it’s nice when it works the other way.
The last line of the show is Cassian saying to Luthen, “You can either kill me or take me in”. Throughout the show, we’ve heard people talk about the “promise” they’ve made, and we were just wondering if that’s something we’ll see Cassian do. Is there something you have already written down? Or is it purely symbolic?
No, I think you’ve seen it. I mean, I think it was, you saw it happen there. So no, we don’t have a secret initiation. What’s more graphic than saying, and he means it, “Kill me. I won’t do it again. I’m in or I’m out”?
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It’s such an interesting mirror to their first scene on Luthen’s ship, where Luthen says to Andor “Would you rather die taking something small or die with a big swing?”
In exact location.
Were you ever tempted to elaborate further on Nemik’s ideology? He gives the great speech about the navigator when they’re on Aldhani, but then we don’t hear from him again. What was the thought behind returning to Nemik at this moment?
Well on a practical level, if I’m going to show someone’s full conversion to the Rebellion, I want as many flavors of it as I can.
I mean, from the crazy fishermen who saved [Cassian and Melchi] and saying, “We can’t fish here anymore because they raped our planet,” to people who want revenge, and people who are there for all kinds of different reasons.
And one of the things you want is a dialectical reason, so let’s have a theorist. And when Alex Lawther came in and auditioned, some of that was written, but when Alex came in it was just, “Oh my God, he could do anything.”
You long for him so much, he is such a good actor and so easy going. So then becomes the opportunity to do it. That manifesto is important. So that’s why he’s there in the first place, why it comes back is because it’s the legacy that Nemik wanted him to have right? He says: “You are the one who needs this”.
I don’t want to get messianic about Cassian Andor, but he has a destiny that we know. I think this program is difficult. We know where he’s going, and he’s going to be someone who will consciously, openly sacrifice himself for the greater good.
It’s going to take a long time to get there, but there’s something in sync with him having the manifesto with him.
We were curious to touch on where we leave Syril and Dedra. Can you speak to both the position they’re in and how they’re feeling after everything that goes wrong with Ferrix?
[Laughs] Well, I mean, I don’t think they know how they feel! But I’m very happy with how they ended up. I loved how Ben Caron shot it.
I won’t predict or debate where I think they might be headed, but I think they’re two incredibly inarticulate people. When it comes to what they feel, their own weirdness, their own insecurities and their own appetites – they are a worthy match.
Finally, we wanted to pick your brain about the scene with Leda at the end. What does she think, and what does she represent to Mon?
Oh my God. I mean, if you’re a parent, the delusion that you can mold your kids the way you want them to be is an ever-losing battle. I think [Mon Mothma] is shocked. She has let go, she got married at 16 and she did the thing and went through other things. And Vel has obviously escaped the many strictures 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 that’s a dynamic that I’ve seen and it’s certainly out there in the world where the parents are hippies and the kid is a hedge-fund raider.
And you see that push for puritanism in different corners when things get rough—it happens in the real world.
People move to security, people move to structure and security. And maybe Mon hasn’t done a very good job of raising her, and maybe part of the real disappointment comes from the fact that you can’t help but blame yourself. Then, “My God, what did I do? I brought her up here in Coruscant. Was I not paying enough attention? What did I do?”
I think it’s so loaded. I want to say one thing that was very fascinating. That scene that she has at the breakfast table earlier, the violent scene where she says, “No daddy’s taking me, why are you trying to pay attention? And you’re always trying to make it about you,” was our audition scene.
Every single girl who came in to audition for that part made it. That scene was so easy for everyone on both sides to do. It was like, wow, nobody needs any notes.
All 12 episodes of Andor flows on Disney+.