Simply Hiring Diego Luna To Play Cassian Andor Brought An Important Perspective To Star Wars

With every episode, "Andor" proves to be both unlike anything "Star Wars" has ever done, and one of the best things in the "Star Wars" universe. The show's cinematography is distinct and more immersive than the blue screen and Stagecraft-heavy Disney+ shows we've seen so far. The writing is smart, tense, and surprising, even in spite of it being a prequel series leading to an outcome we already know about. It's even a thematically profound "Star Wars" show about fascism, oppression, and people rising up in a defiant rebellion.

At the center of the series is Cassian Andor himself, played by returning "Rogue One" star Diego Luna, who also serves as an executive producer on the show. Speaking to our own Ethan Anderton, Luna explained how his casting as Andor for "Rogue One" added a layer to the character that would otherwise not be there. Luna does not just bring a different perspective in his performance as Andor, but also in his role as a producer. He told us that he was part of the process of breaking down the story, putting together the team, and finalizing the series in post-production. Luna said:

"I bring something very specific to this role. I bring a very specific accent, very specific background, and a way to see the world, because you can give the same line to 20 actors, and it's going to sound very different. There's no one that is going to sound the same as other, because you bring what you are, and you play with what you have. When you refer to something, you're clearly picturing an image, and it's an image that you were exposed to. No one else can do it the way you do it. So I think that obviously is there."

The story of a refugee

Central to "Andor" is the idea of oppression and rebellion. This is a "Star Wars" story that has more in common with Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables" than "Flash Gordon." This is a show that places as much importance on the brutality of the prison industrial complex as it does on bureaucracy and the way fascist governments treat marginalized communities, and that is a story that resonated with Luna. The actor said:

"To me, the story of Cassian is the story of a refugee, of someone that has been forced to migrate, and we see it from scratch. He's forced to leave everything behind more than once in his life. What does that mean in the life of someone? What does that develop in the personality of someone? It's something I really wanted to reflect on. The whole idea of reacting to oppression, of finding out that, again, that you are left alone, the absence of state. That is something, I mean, come on, I live in Mexico, a country that has a big problem in terms of that, what justice means, what is that? Here we are telling the story of characters that are having to protect themselves because there's no one out there to trust in, there's no structure that you can count on."

A story of rebellion

Indeed, this is the first time "Star Wars" has properly showed how evil the Empire is by depicting the type of oppression and cruelty that would make people so sick and tired that they'd be willing to put their lives on the line for the sake of freedom. The recent prison arc in particular serves as a poignant exploration of how far people can go when they're forced to be subservient, how far they can be pushed before they snap and push back, bringing us one step closer to Cassian the rebel. 

"I think the prison block, it's a great metaphor of that world," Luna said. "A world where we are needed, if we can produce, if we are generating, and generating not necessarily something that would have an impact in our lives. You're meant to stay where you are, even though you are creating wealth for others. Anyway, so I think there are many topics in our series that matter to me. Yeah, definitely."

"Andor" is giving us something we have never seen in "Star Wars" before, and it is in no small part thanks to Luna's casting that the story is as resonant and true to life as it is. It shows that casting people with different perspectives, who can identify with the story being told and can bring in their own experiences into it, pays off greatly.