‘Star Wars’ Actor Defends ‘Andor’ Amid Ongoing Fan Criticism

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Diego Luna as Cassian Andor

Credit: Lucasfilm

Andor has quietly become one of, if not the most critically-acclaimed Star Wars show. But recently, one of its stars admitted that it required a lot of “patience” from both audiences and showrunners to get there.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in 'Star Wars: Andor'
Credit: Lucasfilm

What is Andor About?

After debuting on Disney+ last August, it seemed like audiences didn’t know what to think of showrunner Tony Gilroy’s Rogue One (2016) spinoff, Andor. Despite its predecessor movie being a smash hit with critics and longtime Star Wars fans, the Disney+ series took a drastically different approach in its three-episode premiere, giving audiences a razor-sharp, suspense-ridden espionage thriller unlike anything seen before.

Starring Diego Luna as the titular Rebel spy, audiences get to see Cassian evolve into the hero they know from Rogue One throughout the season. A nail-biting drama that wasn’t afraid to show a darker side of the Star Wars universe, the series shows Cassian and his allies working to quietly destroy the Empire from the inside, all leading up to the events of Rogue One.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in 'Star Wars: Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Why Did Fans Have Mixed Reactions to Andor?

But with this new approach to the galaxy far, far away came a bevy of complaints from viewers, many of whom criticized the first arc of Andor for being “slow” and tedious to sit through. Gone were the days of lightsaber-swinging Jedi, strange alien creatures, and—admirably—stiff George Lucas-era dialogue. Andor, in a sense, was a threat to longtime fans of the franchise, and there’s no denying that fans’ first impressions weren’t resoundingly positive.

However, with time, Andor Season 1 only got better with each episode, introducing captivating, ambiguous  characters like Stellan Skarsgård’s Luthen Rael, Faye Marsay’s Vel Sartha, and Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy to the mix, on top of a brilliantly written story. By the finale, fans were hooked.

Stellan Skarsgård as Luthen Rael in 'Star Wars: Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Although it might not be Disney+’s most-viewed Star Wars endeavor,  the only project that’s ever earned Lucasfilm a prestigious Peabody Award. Plus, the show—which already had a whopping $250 million budget—had already been given the green light for a second season before the first even debuted, which can’t be said for most other Disney+ Star Wars series.

Diego Luna Defends Andor‘s Slow Start

While speaking to The PlaylistAndor’s leading man recently jumped to the show’s defense while opening up about fans’ initial backlash to its first three episodes. During the interview, he addressed the series’ slow pacing, citing it as necessary for a story that explores such gritty and mature themes.

The Deck of the Arrestor Cruiser in 'Andor'
Credit: Lucasfilm

When asked if the (now) overwhelmingly positive reception to the show has sparked more confidence in the cast and crew going into Season 2, the actor noted that confidence wasn’t quite the right word, but instead, that everyone involved in the show was “relieved,” especially coming off the high of its Golden Globe nomination:

 think confidence is not the word. I think just the relief, I would say, came, but way before the nominations. I remember when I got the news of the Golden Globe nomination, I was already shooting season two, so excited to be back.

Melshi (Duncan Pow) and Cassian (Diego Luna) plot their escape from Narkina 5 in 'Andor' episode 11, "Daughter Of Ferrix". Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Luna, who also serves as a producer on Andor, eventually addressed the show’s slow start, admitting that the story does “ask for patience, because of the complexity” and defended creators’ pacing decisions as “there is no other way to get there.” He also called Disney+’s decision to release a trio of episodes when the series premiered “a great call,” explaining that debuting the first three episodes at once allowed fans to finish out the first arc in the “climatic third episode” while becoming invested in the characters:

It’s a show that, yes, asks for patience, but because of its complexity, there is no other way to get there. And once it delivers, once it gets to that climatic third episode, you are so invested with these characters because of what’s going on.

Luthen Rael riding with Cassian Andor
Credit: Lucasfilm

And worth it, the patience was. After Andor really began picking up steam, Luna described feeling a “great relief,” calling fans’ reactions to the series “beautiful.” The actor also pointed out how many viewers were “celebrating the show for the same reasons” that made him and the cast want to do the show in the first place:

For me, it was a great relief because not just people were liking the show, but people were celebrating the show for the same reasons I decided to do the show. It was like, “Hey, you guys are very realistic. It’s dark; it’s complex, it’s unexpected. Characters are ambiguous, and it feels gritty. It’s challenging for audiences.” All of that. The people were celebrating the designs, the music, and the acting. I was like, “Wow, this is great! This is great!” Because many things I started reading in reviews, for example, it’s the stuff we were reminding ourselves of every day on set.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and droid B2EMO in 'Star Wars: Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

The Rogue One star’s personal attachment to Andor is genuinely heartwarming, and it’s even better to know that his and the crew’s efforts are paying off. It’s certainly easy to feel the love, care, and meticulous crafting that went into making this show what it is, and fans’ excitement about Season 2 is evident enough that Andor is one of, if not the best, Star Wars series to date.

Giving fans darker, more realistic glimpses of the beloved galaxy is a big gamble. Even though Andor was an unexpected success for Lucasfilm, it poses the question of if a darker, grittier show of its kind will ever be repeated in Star Wars or if Andor is just a one-off.

The Death Star under construction. Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

As for Season 2, production is currently underway overseas, though Tony Gilroy has stepped away from his duties in solidarity with the ongoing WGA strike. Still, he remains heavily involved with the upcoming episodes, promising that Andor‘s sophomore season will be “very different” from Season 1.

For now, Season 2 of Andor is still slated to arrive on Disney+ in 2024. Here’s hoping we see Diego Luna back in action soon.

What do you think of Diego Luna’s remarks about Andor Season 1’s slow beginning? Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

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