Andor is the much anticipated Rogue One prequel series coming soon to Disney+, starring Diego Luna as he reprises his role as Rebel spy Cassian Andor who infiltrates the Empire before the Jedi uprising.
After the mammoth success of The Mandalorian and Obi-Wan Kenobi, it’s no surprise that more live-action Star Wars shows are on the way, and Andor is the one that’s been in the works the longest so far. Here is everything you need to know.
THE MISSION: TELL THE STORY OF CASSIAN ANDOR’S RISE TO REVOLUTIONARY
Forming the first half of a 24-part novel for television, the first 12-episode season of Andor will tell the tale of Cassian Andor’s shift from migrant refugee to revolutionary. As creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy explained at Celebration, “those [first 12] episodes will take us one year closer” to his Rogue One fate. The second season, “will take the story over the next four years.”
That also means his lovable if blunt droid, K2-SO (Alan Tudyk), will be missing from the first season. This is a slight change from where the program was in 2019. At that year’s Star Wars Celebration, Tudyk appeared on stage to talk up the program. But as it developed, the pair’s first meeting shifted to the second season.
Season 1, meanwhile, sees Cassian already displaced from his homeworld by the Empire, and he soon sees his second planet falling under its grip. As Luna told Vanity Fair in a June 2022 cover feature, “[The planet is] completely taken apart in a colonial kind of way. The Empire is expanding rapidly. They’re wiping out anybody who’s in their way.” The echoes of the Empire’s previous influence on his life will also be seen via flashback — one of which appears to occur in the trailer, provided the boy in the yellow-gold tunic is Cassian.
Viewers will also see Cassian spill more blood to achieve his goals. Although, as Luna told Vanity Fair, those goals are quite selfish as the series begins. Describing the character as a “ducker and diver,” he said Cassian is motivated by the rage his displacement at the hands of the Empire harbored within him. But he is also a fairly nihilistic lad at this point, so even the notion of rebellion seems pointless to him.
The series will also focus on Mon Mothma, the enigmatic Rebel leader introduced in Return of the Jedi (as played by Caroline Blakiston) who went on to lead the New Republic in the Expanded Universe novels and games set after that film. In the early 2000s, Genevieve O’Reilly was cast as a younger Mon Mothma for a scene in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith meant to establish the earliest form of the Rebel Alliance, but it was cut. Nevertheless, the actor returned as the character in Rogue One and voiced her on Star Wars Rebels. She returns once again in Andor as almost a parallel story to Cassian’s through the first season. In fact, although their tales cross, they will not meet during the initial 12 episodes.
Instead, she is still on Coruscant attempting to build an opposition while in a Galactic Senate under the electric thumb of Emperor Sheev Palpatine (a presumably unseen Ian McDiarmid). And her efforts there will make her a key part of the events leading up to the Death Star’s destruction.
“It’s such a gift to come back to this role. As actors, we join something for a series or a play. You invest in a character for maybe three years if your lucky,” O’Reilly said during the Celebration presentation. “I played this woman nearly 17 years ago. And to come back and investigate her now with Tony’s writing and alongside Diego Luna, I feel so lucky.”
The series will also lend some time to the Empire.
“It’s pretty complicated to be in the Empire in this period of time” Gilroy told Rotten Tomatoes when we asked him about depicting Imperial oppression. “And that’s a really interesting thing to explore.”
THE LOCATION: THE STORY IS SET ON A LUSH PLANET AND ON CORUSCANT
Since the series takes place five years prior to both Rogue One and the original Star Wars, the look and feel of the galaxy will be familiar. It is a dark time across the stars and even as the Empire builds pristine fortresses and factories, it is a grimy, sweaty time. And that look is faithful replicated in the stills and trailer Lucasfilm and Disney have released so far.
It is also a time in which the Rebellion is in the minds of more than Mon Mothma. Thanks to animated series and at least one video game, we know other characters are also trying to build a strong resistance to the Empire. Also, for further triangulation of other events, Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) left Tatooine just five years prior and the Bad Batch fled the destruction of the Kamino cloning facility another four years before even that. The point: Cassian could very easily run into Wrecker, Hera Syndulla, “Fulcrum,” or other characters populating the galaxy just before the Battle of Yavin.
Meanwhile, his base of operations — according to Luna, anyway — is the planet he fled to. It’s name is still unknown, but the glimpses of it in the trailer will remind fans of the Yavin IV moon and its lush vegetation. That bio-resource may be the real reason for the Imperial colonization effort. Of course, that could be Cassian’s original home and the more developed world of stone structures is the place to which he fled.
And since Mon Mothma’s story will be told in the series, we expect to see a lot of more Coruscant, the Imperial capital world. Considering the way it was depicted in the Prequel Trilogy, we assume a greater level of inequality will be on display, with the top floors of skyscrapers reserved for Imperial cronies and the lower floors housing (or not) the underclasses. The few glimpses of the planet in the trailer suggest as much.
THE ASSETS: DIEGO LUNA LEADS THE CAST
Luna returns as Cassian. As mentioned, the character will be a lot more self-centered than the man we saw in Rogue One. He will be as ruthless, though, and the change in his reasoning for his action will be a major part of his arc.
“[When] you see Cassian in the five years before Rogue One, you wouldn’t believe he was capable of what he did [in the film],” Luna told Rotten Tomatoes at Celebration, adding that he felt illustrating the character’s journey from selfishness to a truly selfless act is important. “It reminds us what we are all capable of, you know? It doesn’t matter how far you feel from actually being part of change. I like it because I always feel, with Star Wars, that it ends up being very pertinent and, today, we live in a world that needs us involved. And this is a story about that awakening.”
O’Reilly returns once again as Mon Mothma. Although, her situation in the teaser seems the most dire as she notes the eyes of the Empire are everywhere and even her body language speaks to an unprecedented level of surveillance regarding her actions.
Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, and Kyle Soller are also set to appear, while Forest Whitaker reportedly returns as renegade rebel Saw Gerrera — a character he first played in Rogue One at the end of his life, but has since reprised (earlier in his timeline) in Rebels and the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order video game. Skarsgård and Arjona will be upfront in the first episode as Cassian must confront them on the worst day of his life. According to Gilroy during the Celebration presentation, Skarsgård’s character, Luthen Rale, is a Rebel leader — but the writer also noted the description is something of a company boilerplate, suggesting there may be a great deal more to the character. Arjona is also, presumably, a member of the Alliance. And if the subtitles on the teaser are to be believed, Shaw’s character is called Maarva.
Gough’s character, a Imperial of some stripe, is also glimpsed in the trailer, flanked by Death Troopers. It is unclear who she is, but considering the espionage at the heart of the program, she could be a counterintelligence agent working on behalf of the Empire or the military governor installed on Cassians’ adopted world. And speaking of Imps, the trailer also revealed Game of Thrones’ Anton Lesser will also appear as a member of the Emperor’s regime.
From the look things in the preview, Soller’s character appears to be a member of a local defense force — although the earlier shot of him in an Imperial research or detention facility suggests the defense he mounts may ultimately failed.
When is the Andor release date?
Disney has confirmed that Andor will arrive on Disney+ on 21 September 2022 with the first three episodes. This date has been pushed back from its original slot of 31 August.
There will be twelve episodes in total that will air weekly after the first few drop, just as they do for The Mandalorian.
The show is also now confirmed to be getting a second and final season, which will apparently lead directly into the beginning of the Rogue One movie.