Diego Luna on returning for Andor: 'I had so much more to say and do with this role'
Rogue One introduced Luna's charming spy Cassian Andor, who teams up with his fellow Rebels to pilfer the Death Star plans. But the 2016 film's ending didn't exactly leave room for a sequel (it's hard to write a follow-up when all your main characters die at the end), so Luna naturally reasoned that Rogue One would be his first and only appearance in a galaxy far, far away.
That is until he got another call from Disney. Now, Cassian Andor is stepping into the spotlight again, with Luna starring in a prequel series that will debut Aug. 31 on Disney+. Created by longtime Bourne writer Tony Gilroy, who also worked on Rogue One, this two-season show will follow Cassian as he takes his first steps toward rebellion.
EW sat down with Luna, his costar Genevieve O'Reilly, and executive producer Sanne Wohlenberg at Star Wars Celebration, where the trio shared new details about Andor.
"Behind everyone that has brought change, there's a story, there's a reason," Luna teases. "And I just love that now we have 12 episodes to tell you that story."
While shooting Rogue One, Luna says he often found himself wondering about Cassian's past — so he jumped at the chance to reprise the character for Andor.
"I remember living every day as if it was the last," the actor says of filming Rogue One. "I mean, I never thought of being part of this universe at all. I was just a fan, and one day I got a call. I thought it was going to be a one-time thing in my life, and I shared it with my kids, and I saw it. I was ready to move on. And then I was invited to [return for the show], and it made complete sense. I had so much more to say and do with this role. I just wanted to explore many things that I thought about while I was shooting that a film would never allow you to explore."
Another key Andor player is O'Reilly's Mon Mothma, who begins the show as a politician in the Imperial Senate. This stoic senator and future Rebel leader has popped up many times throughout the Star Wars story: Caroline Blakiston originated the role in 1983's Return of the Jedi, with O'Reilly stepping in for 2005's Revenge of the Sith. Since then, O'Reilly has appeared in Rogue One and voiced the character on Star Wars Rebels.
"The idea of learning about this character — for me, as much as for anyone else — through a long-form narrative was really interesting," O'Reilly explains. "We have now the chance to get to know the woman. Previously, she was a bit of a pillar, or maybe a statue. I love that now we get to excavate that a little bit and learn about the human being — the woman behind the gown, if you will."
The series begins about five years before the events of Rogue One, and Wohlenberg teases that the first 12 episodes will chart the "formative years of the Rebellion," exploring how dark circumstances can provide "a real opportunity to be daring and brave." A second season is already scheduled to film this fall, and Luna adds that although fans may know how Cassian's story ends, there will be plenty of surprises along the way.
"Even though it's called Andor, it's about a revolution," Luna explains. "It's an ensemble. It's about a group of people. It's about community. You'll have the chance to meet many characters you don't know and visit places you don't know existed in this galaxy."
Diego Luna returns to a galaxy far, far away with this Star Wars prequel series, following a young Cassian Andor before the events of Rogue One.