Meet Andor's Kino Loy, One Of The Most Complex Star Wars Characters Of All Time [Exclusive]

"Andor" has been one heck of an unexpected ride for "Star Wars" fans through its first season, and with the finale just around the corner, it feels pretty safe to say this whole show has felt ... well, special. While there is much to discuss in regards to the "Rogue One" prequel, one thing that showrunner Tony Gilroy and his team have absolutely nailed is character. Sure, that includes the familiar face at the center of it all, Diego Luna's Cassian Andor, but the new characters we've met along the way have truly been remarkable as well. One of the best and brightest thus far? Kino Loy.

We first meet Loy (played by Andy Serkis) at a key turning point in the season after Cassian lands himself in an Imperial prison. Both men are principled and trying to survive, but unlike Cassian, Kino is a man who is putting his nose down, looking to serve his time and get out with as little resistance as possible — even if that means turning a blind eye to some pretty ugly stuff. /Film is pleased to debut an exclusive new video that highlights some of what makes Kino Loy such a great addition to a galaxy far, far away. Truly though, this only scratches the surface.

Meet Kino Loy

The video has a little bit of insight from Serkis, explaining that Kino is a longtime prisoner in the Empire's secluded Narkina 5 facility, which is using prison labor to mass manufacture parts for the Imperial war machine. What are these parts for? We're never told. It doesn't seem that Kino knows, nor does he care. He's there to oversee the men on his shift and do a good job so that his time in that miserable place can be slightly less miserable. This is someone who is counting shifts until he can reach the end of his sentence with the promise of an eventual release. The promise of heading back to a normal life of some kind, even if it must be one under Imperial rule. Underneath all of that crustiness and that hardened exterior, there is some optimism in him.

One thing that "Star Wars" has done remarkably well ever since its inception is to create characters who get very little screen time but become deeply compelling. Boba Fett is the classic example of this, having appeared in mere minutes in the original trilogy, saying hardly anything, and going on to become one of the most popular characters in the franchise. Kino is not as sexy as Boba Fett, in terms of appearance, but he scratches that same itch — he's instantly magnetic. So much of that has to do with Serkis, who gets to wear his own skin as a performer here and delivers his all. 

Oftentimes, we get Serkis under layers of CGI, such as Gollum in "Lord of the Rings," Caesar in "Planet of the Apes," or Snoke in the "Star Wars" sequel trilogy. Here though, we're getting Serkis in nothing but an orange and white prison jumpsuit giving a raw performance. One that is probably deserving of an Emmy in the not-too-distant future.

A remarkable transformation of character

Brought to vivid life by Serkis' performance, Kino grounds the viewer in the galaxy during this period in time like no other character has before. There are no Jedi here. There are no lightsabers and no saviors. The Rebellion is only a glimmer of an idea forming on the very fringes of the galaxy. Men like Kino just have to make do under the rule of the Empire's brutal tyranny. But every man has a breaking point. What truly makes Kino Loy a character for the ages is the flip-of-a-lightswitch break that turns him from loyal man with his head down to bravest of the brave men in the galaxy, a hero whose name most people will never know. 

There is a moment when Kino and Cassian learn that nobody is getting out of that prison — that the Empire is just using them as free labor until they literally die or are killed. All of that hope that Kino had been holding onto is gone in an instant. It's at that moment we see him break, when we see him come to Cassian's level and realize that they are dead men walking. How much easier it is to be brave when you're dead already. That paves the way for episode 10 of the season, titled "One Way Out," which may rank as one of the single greatest contributions to all of "Star Wars." An episode that has Serkis deliver one of the greatest speeches in the history of the franchise, one worthy of starting a revolution.

A thankless moment in the sun

Kino didn't ask to lead a revolution. All this time, he had been trying to do the opposite. But he did so in good faith, believing that even under the rule of an evil empire, men honor their word. When that good faith is destroyed, what is a man like that capable of doing? There may not be glory in it for Kino, in the end, but he's capable of bringing a ruthless prison full of Imperial scum to its knees. His words inspire the men in that prison to take up arms and face their captors, making the guards fold like paper in the face of a wave of mistreated people who have absolutely nothing to lose.

While characters like Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Princess Leia, Rey, and other heroes have had some form of glory in their quest, that is not the case for Kino Loy. Heck, even those who stole the Death Star plans got some glory as honored members of the Rebellion. But Kino's thanks will never come and it's like that only Cassian will remember him — and even he's not long for this galaxy, as seen in "Rogue One." We hardly learn anything about Kino during the time we spend with him. Where is he from? What was he doing before his imprisonment? What was waiting for him on the other side? 

We may never know, and the dreams he has die so that other men in that hellish prison can have a fighting chance. That's the tragedy of war, exemplified by a remarkably realized character performed to perfection and written like sad yet glorious poetry. That's "Star Wars."