"There’s a lot for Cassian to understand still," the Star Wars actor says. "That’s why there’s a need for a second season, to get to the Cassian we meet in Rogue One."
Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Warning: This story contains spoilers for Andor's season 1 finale.

If you've been obsessing over Andor lately, you're not the only one. This Star Wars spin-off may not have any lightsabers or adorably green bat-eared infants, but since premiering in September, Andor has spent the last few weeks quietly carving out its own unique corner of the galaxy. Fans have embraced the show's sharp dialogue and grittier worldview, and over the last 12 episodes, the series has followed its reluctant hero (played by Diego Luna) as he's evolved from isolated loner to semi-committed freedom-fighter.

The Andor season 1 finale centers on the funeral for Cassian's adoptive mother Maarva (Fiona Shaw), as allies and enemies alike converge on the planet Ferrix. To break down the explosive finale, EW caught up with Luna, who says he's delighted by how the show has grown week to week.

"It's sad to get to the finale, to be honest!" the 42-year-old actor says with a laugh. "I've been enjoying this journey of releasing once a week. It's weird: At the beginning, I didn't know how I was going to feel about it. It's so long ago that we used to see TV this way. It reminds me of the '90s, when you had to wait for something to come out and make an event out of it. But now that I've been going through this, it's been quite cool."

Here, Luna opens up about the revolution-sparking finale — and what to expect from Andor season 2. (You can also listen to the full conversation, as well as an interview with showrunner Tony Gilroy, in the latest episode of EW's Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch.)

Diego Luna in 'Andor'
| Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I want to talk about the finale, but first, what have the past few weeks been like for you? What's it been like to see the reaction to the show?

DIEGO LUNA: I'm excited. I mean, I was expecting the show to work. I feel proud of what we've done. But I don't try to imagine the future too much. I think that's not fair to the experience, you know? I wait for things to happen. And it's been quite amazing to find out that people are not just enjoying the show but celebrating it for the reasons we wanted to make it.

I'm hearing a lot about the stuff we were reminding ourselves of every day on set. At the beginning, we said, "We want to be profound. We want to be complex. We want to be very specific. We want to take the time and be patient and be intimate with these characters and go deep. We want it to be mature. We want it to be darker." And all of that is what people are saying and what I'm reading. It's not just that people are liking it, but they're liking it for the same reasons I like the show and why I decided to do it. So, that feels very special.

I remember before the show began, you said that the Cassian we meet in season 1 is very different from the Cassian we know from Rogue One. Here, in the finale, we see him starting to commit to the Rebellion, and he comes to Luthen (Stellan Skarsgard) and basically says, "I'm in." What interested you about this season-long arc we see him go on?

I mean, what I really like about Tony's writing is how honest he is in answering the question of what someone needs for an awakening to happen. We are very specific about what Cassian is witnessing. He's surviving, and he has a very cynical way of seeing life, where he doesn't feel like part of anything bigger than his own existence. Even though he belongs to a community, he has trouble interacting with the community. He's hiding from them. He's in a moment where you don't scratch [the surface] and find the revolutionary there, you know?

I think what Tony does really well is that he never makes it easy for this character. He never simplifies the journey at all. It's very complex, and everything counts. Everything [Cassian] witnessed, every conversation he had, all the information is there, and all those moments trigger something in him. But I think the journey of Cassian is not there yet. By the end of this [season], he realizes how unlivable this life is, and I think the prison is crucial for that. The prison is where he realizes what life means to the Empire — the life of the people and his own life. And how much in this moment, in this situation, in this galaxy can we call it life?

And there at the end, it's Maarva [who inspires him], which I think is really strong and a beautiful way of closing that character. This last episode is so powerful and incredible. That reference was always there, and he wasn't ready to understand. He had it there in front of him all the time, but he wasn't ready. He needed to go out and witness everything he witnessed in order to go back home and say, "S---. It was all here."

I love the relationship between Cassian and his mother Maarva, and Fiona Shaw gives that amazing final speech from beyond the grave. Tell me about working with her.

Fiona, she's amazing. We kind of worked on those scenes like it was theater. We went through the whole scenes from beginning to end, and it was delicious, you know? There was always something new. She's so willing to keep going and let the scene grow and to try things out. She's very humble, and she is very open, and she is very generous. I really enjoyed working with her. Sadly, it wasn't as long as I would've wanted it to be because Cassian always leaves. [Laughs] That's what we learn in this season — that Cassian always leaves. But at the end, he wants to be a part of the change, and he's considering that there is something to be done. There's room for change.

I would say, another thing I celebrate a lot is not just Tony Gilroy but Sanne Wohlenberg, our producer, and obviously the casting director. The amount of time put into the casting of this series is quite unique. The scenes are very complex, and there's a lot of layers going on. You need actors that understand that and can make that into these very rich scenes that are full of meaning. And they're long. Tony writes these very long scenes. [Laughs] I have really long scenes with Stellan [Skarsgard], with Fiona, with Andy Serkis. These are scenes that are not just long, but have that weight. They're robust. So, the casting is something very important with material like this. Even though it was on the page, it wasn't until I was in front of the actors that I realized the magnitude of Cassian's arc. And the beauty of a format like this is that you can keep that and use it and enrich your vision of the character. This story is all about that: You know where he ends, so this is the story about what he witnesses, the people he meets, and the conditions a galaxy [needs] for a rebellion to erupt.

So, it's about all of those characters. What I love about the series is that even though it's called Andor, it's a beautiful excuse to have a very diverse orchestration of many characters. That's why you can talk about a revolution — because a revolution has to be analyzed from many angles to really understand why there's a need for change.

You mentioned the prison storyline, which is an incredible sequence and is a major tipping point for Cassian. What do you remember most about filming those prison scenes?

It was insane because it was like we were living in a prison for weeks. The production designer built this amazing set that's actually real. I remember there were a few rehearsals for just the machinery, where they're building and they're working in the teams at the tables. And I mean, that is actually happening. The thing moves, you bring the pieces [out], you put it together, you take it out, and another one comes. It doesn't stop.

It was suffocating to be there. It wasn't just the set, but the idea of being stuck in a pristine factory where you are making sure that the production never drops, where you are nothing but a number. And Michael Wilkinson did this amazing costume design, so there is no personality behind every man. It's quite suffocating. We were shooting for weeks, not seeing the light.

Imagine a jail where you're just living a lie, and this false hope of getting out of there keeps you going. They need you healthy and strong to be building this. It's not the jail we think about. It's not the jail we've seen so many times. It's a jail you can live in without even noticing. And after what happens there, there's no way back. Once you understand the incredible amount of control that the Empire has, that [changes everything].

But I think there's a lot for Cassian to understand still. That's why there's a need for a second season, to get to the Cassian we meet in Rogue One. A lot has to happen still.

One of the interesting things about this season is that Mon Mothma is a big part of this story, but her arc hasn't really intersected with Cassian's yet. How much were you paying attention to her storyline while you were shooting?

Well, this time, I was invited to produce, so I knew everything. [Laughs] I've been in this show for more than four years. What I've enjoyed so much in this journey is being there since things were just an idea. I'd listen to Tony's ideas at the beginning and then read all the scripts in order and work with the directors and see all the designs. I'm obsessed with the work of Luke Hull, the production designer, Michael Wilkinson, the costume designer, and Emma Scott, the makeup designer. Their process is so rich, and there are so many questions they have to answer about every character and every moment in this story before they even come to a design you can actually wear. It's beautiful to witness that process and be able to participate and raise questions when there's time. It's been a wonderful journey.

When you think back to filming season 1, what was the scene or the day on set that was most memorable for you?

That's a difficult one. I would say the first time I got to walk through Ferrix, that was insane. After talking so much about the show and seeing all the designs and all the fabrics, I went [to set] before we started shooting, when they were building the whole city. It's incredible the amount of detail that place had. I mean, you could open every door. If there was a button, you could touch it, and something would happen. You would walk into a room, and the room was good to shoot in. The café, the stores, the little alleys, the stairs going up to a tower, everything was there for you to use, and it gave us an incredible amount of freedom to shoot there.

The first time I had to cross that long avenue with all the extras and the creatures and the droids, it was insane. I remember it was the beginning of the year, and it was so cold. I mean, I come from Mexico. I'm not used to this cold, so the whole situation was so bizarre. [Laughs] I was very much in another galaxy, one far, far away. And you have to understand, this is happening in the worst moments of the pandemic, so there was a shock. You arrive in London and have to be in a room for 10 days before even having the opportunity to go out. Obviously, my family, my friends, and everyone are in Mexico. So, I was pretty much alone in that moment, in a tiny place stuck in London, and suddenly I was put in the middle of Ferrix, where there was no COVID, playing a character that's trying to hide from that world of people.

It felt so bizarre to be experiencing that, and then getting in a car and going back to your house and closing your door and not interacting with anyone else. It was a shock, but a beautiful one, because suddenly I realized the size of what we were doing. Sometimes you forget that with this show because so much of the writing is about these very intimate moments with characters in their houses. But that day on Ferrix, I was like, "Oh crap. We are doing a massive, gigantic show." [Laughs]

I know you're starting production on season 2. Where are you in the process?

We just started. It's like I didn't stop. I think I finished the first season like two or three weeks ago, all the looping in Spanish for the Latin American countries and the U.S. I finished that recently, and at the same time, I'm reading and doing sessions and meeting for the new season. It's like there's not a chance to celebrate! That's the big different of this format, that we never stop working. I don't think Tony Gilroy will ever stop writing or doing postproduction or doing something for the show until this is done. So, we're about to start this new ride for the second season, which is a long one. But we're doing it with this beautiful feeling of knowing we did something that people cared about.

Well, I know I and a lot of people are eagerly waiting for season 2.

Well, you're gonna have to wait a little bit because each season is like four movies, you know? So, it takes time. The only thing I can promise is that we'll do it with the same respect, rigor, intensity, and energy. We're not going to rush it. I mean, that's the beauty of this show. It's just two seasons, and we can concentrate and try to deliver something as good or even better, if possible.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

For more on Andor, including exclusive interviews with the cast, listen to EW's Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch.

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