What Cassian Andor Learned From His Imprisonment And Escape, According To Diego Luna [Exclusive]

"Andor" is unlike any live-action "Star Wars" series before it in the very best way, starting with the titular character. Where so many stories in a galaxy far, far away divide their players squarely into heroes and villains, the pre-"Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) straddles the line between the two. While he's fine blasting his enemies in the heat of battle, he also won't hesitate to pull the trigger on an unarmed individual if he feels it's in his best interest. Nor is he a friend of the Galactic Empire, although he's not about to put his life on the line without some form of financial incentive.

Cassian, in other words, is like an even more ruthless and self-serving version of Han Solo circa "Star Wars: A New Hope" the first time we first meet him in the "Rogue One" prequel series. The show around him is just as refreshingly mature in the way it delves into the gray moral areas of the "Star Wars" universe. "Andor" is a series where even someone like Mon Mothma — a do-gooder famed for her compassion — can be forced to seriously consider making a messed-up decision in service of the still-nascent Rebellion against the Empire.

Of course, no matter how bleak "Andor" gets, we know there's light at the end of the tunnel thanks to "Rogue One." The show's newly-completed Narkina 5 arc likewise sees Cassian arrested and thrown into a prison on false charges, only to spur his fellow inmates into fighting back against their Imperial captors and lead a successful breakout. In his interview with /Film's Ethan Anderton, Luna talked about the critical effect this storyline will have on Cassian going forward, taking him one step closer to the selfless Rebel seen in "Rogue One."

There's been an awakening

Over its first 10 episodes, "Andor" has proven that Cassian was always a Rebel at heart. However, one traumatic event after another in his youth left him cynical and hardened, with no rebel movement to look to for hope — not until the show begins, that is. It's the misconception that he's not in control of his fate (and, as such, that there's no point in trying to take the Empire down) that, according to Diego Luna, Cassian finally overcomes while imprisoned on Narkina 5. This, in turn, empowers him to inspire someone like Kino Loy to follow him into the fray:

"Yeah, I think in prison he realizes he can be in control. In prison, I think there's one thing he learns in prison, that he can be a leader, that he can put together a team, that he can, like the transformation we see on Kino and how he triggers that on him, how he manages to go in. I mean, obviously, things happen around him, but when he sees someone like Kino can transform, can be awakened, everyone can be awakened, right?"

His time in prison has also shown Cassian why rebellion is the only answer to the Empire's oppression, Luna added:

"He also realizes what oppression is like, how little or nothing they mean for the Empire. The Empire is willing to sacrifice 200 people because of a mistake, and he realizes it's either they do something or they're dead; they're alive but in a way that can't really be called alive. And I love the representation of that prison. [A completely] pristine and clean place where it's all about production. They're everything but humans. They are a white suit and a number."

New episodes of "Andor" arrive Wednesdays on Disney+.