The final trailer for the show dropped on Saturday during Disney gathering D23. The trailer paints a pretty grim setup for revolutionary fighter Cassian Andor and his pals, as fighting the Empire and row upon row of Stormtroopers looks like a one-way ticket to death. "You'll ultimately die fighting these bastards," an unknown someone tells Andor. "Wouldn't you rather give it all at once to something real."
At a virtual press junket attended by CNET ahead of the show's release, Diego Luna, who returns as Cassian Andor, said he's still "haunted" by Cassian's Rogue One line about fighting since he was 6 years old.
"What does that mean exactly? He talks about a dark past, he talks about doing terrible stuff for the rebellion -- what is he referring to?" Luna said. "There is a lot of material there for us to play with. I was really excited to be able to go on that journey [in the show]."
When we meet Cassian in the new show, he's embroiled in a life of petty crime. That takes a turn when he runs into smuggler Luthen Rael, played by Stellan Skarsgard (also seen in Marvel's Thor movies).
They aren't the only rebellious people the show will explore. We've had glimpses of Mon Mothma, the Imperial senator who leads the Rebel Alliance, in Rogue One and Return of the Jedi ("Many Bothans died…"), but know little about her beyond that. Andor takes place before she unites the galaxy's scattered revolutionary cells under one banner, and will seemingly reveal more about the buildup to that moment.
Mon Mothma is portrayed by Genevieve O'Reilly, who previously played the role in Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One and CGI animated series Rebels.
"We meet Mon Mothma in a place we've never seen her before… navigating a very male-dominated Empire with a very powerful Emperor Palpatine at the top of it," O'Reilly said during the press event.
"Previously, we've seen her surrounded by like-minded rebels. In Andor, we find her very alone, living in a world of orthodoxy and construct -- a woman who has had to navigate her ideals and her beliefs in systems of oppression… in a gilded cage. I'm excited for us to travel with her as a woman finding her voice."
Andor isn't all about the idealistic rebels though. On the other side, we've got baddies like Imperial Security Bureau supervisor Dedra Meero, played by Star Wars newcomer Denise Gough (who recently appeared in Under the Banner of Heaven and voiced Yennefer in The Witcher 3). Decked out in a magnificent white outfit with icy demeanor to match, she's determined to climb the ranks.
"Dedra is so proud of herself, working in this incredible organization. I remember thinking how great she feels in that uniform -- working for the Empire is everything that she wants," Gough said. "It just appeals to her meticulousness. And she wants to really make her mark."
Between the two sides at the beginning of the show lies Syril Karn, a security officer who has a run-in with Cassian. He's played by Kyle Soller, whom you might know from Fury and the 2012 adaptation of Anna Karenina. The actor noted that he was attracted to the role by Gilroy's writing.
"He created a character that had a big question mark over him. He could go into the Empire, he could go into the Rebel Alliance, and he's got a lot of gray area," Soller said of Syril. "He came from a place of such lack and such pain in his home life, that he's trying to fill this void within himself through the fascist corporate bureaucratic structure, where he finds order. And he finds a place to be seen if he can supersede his station and then climb those ranks."
Soller noted that the attention to detail on the show's set helped him get lost in the world.
"I remember coming to the town that had been built by the production design and the set units; every little thing had been thought of, every single drawer had something in it, every cabinet had a whole life inside," he said. "There was this crowd milling about before we'd started filming, and when they parted there was this line of stormtroopers. I dropped my coffee and my inner child was pretty happy."
It's an effect Star Wars fans know well, but Gilroy said Andor is also designed to draw in people who've never journeyed to a galaxy far, far away before.
"We're doing a show that does not require any prior knowledge whatsoever to get involved. Can we satisfy, electrify and excite the dedicated fans?" the show's creator said. "And at the same time bring something that's so intense emotionally -- the smallest domestic dramas and smallest interpersonal relationships that are dropped in the midst of epic, tectonic, revolutionary historical moments -- can we attract another audience that's interested in that as well? Can we marry those two things together? That's the gamble."
Luna suggested that Andor is "most grounded kind of Star Wars you'll get,"
"It's a show about finding the strength to bring change. It's very inspiring," the actor said. "It's adventure and action at its best -- what you expect from Star Wars -- but then it goes very intimate. It's very subtle, and it takes time to understand each character."
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