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‘Andor’ Star Diego Luna on the Series’ Relevance: “It’s About Regular People Doing Extraordinary Things”

Diego Luna has been playing the Star Wars rebel Cassian Andor for close to a decade, given that he originated the role in the 2016 film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Now, Cassian’s spinoff series for Disney+, Andor, has found its way to a nomination for outstanding drama series in the 2023 Emmy race. And while Luna missed out on a potential trophy for his performance, he is an executive producer on the project. Speaking the day after the nominations were announced, Luna discussed the relevance of the show, which follows Cassian on his road to political engagement against the Empire. Luna also foreshadowed what it will mean to once again say farewell to the character with the second and final season on the horizon.

Star and executive producer Diego luna discusses the relevance of his Star Wars rebellion show on the eve of the SAG strike

Star and executive producer Diego Luna Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

What was your reaction to Andor‘s nomination for outstanding drama?

I was very excited and proud and happy for all the team. It’s a beautiful thing. I celebrated all the nominations, and I am very pleased for those people. But obviously being there for best drama series means a lot because it’s about the team. The meaning of collaboration is defined by the way we work. This is a team that I really feel proud of being a part of. I see everyone working together in a way that you don’t see often. And I know it sounds like a cliché, but it’s not at all. Everyone is very proud of being part of this show. Everyone is using all the tools to bring the best for a reason that is much bigger than the craft we are doing. The story, the meaning of the story, is what keeps us going.

As the SAG strike looms, Andor feels very relevant. It is a show about labor movements and rebellion, and I was wondering how you thought about the relevance of the story right now.

It’s huge. As you say, it’s a show that’s relevant. It’s a show that would’ve been relevant 10 and 20 and 30 years ago. And sadly, it might still be relevant in a few decades. But if you want to see it from the hopeful and the brighter side, it’s a show about the strength we have as a community. It’s a show about the power that we have when we think in numbers, when we believe we’re part of something bigger, when we find what connects us with others. And it’s a beautiful reminder of that. It’s about regular people doing extraordinary things when they understand that it’s about working together. And, yes, of course it’s pertinent.

How is it meaningful to you that you were nominated as a producer on the project?

It means a lot because I’ve been working on this project for almost five years. It’s been a long journey. I mean, I’m completely devoted to this show and I enjoy being part of the whole process. It’s something I miss when I’m just an actor: the whole journey, being there from the moment things are just ideas, scratches on a paper, when opinions matter. For me, that’s really important — to be part of it from the beginning, without knowing where we were heading, just with the intentions of doing something special and unique. And today, they’re celebrating that.

You also join a very small list of Latino producers who have been nominated for series prizes.

It is time for that to change. It is time for that not to be the news. It’s sad that the news is that there have been just a few, in many different categories, Latinos nominated, and it really talks about a world I don’t want to be a part of. That, to me, is the past. Today, I wouldn’t join a project if there’s no diversity because that enriches everything — the journey of the people doing it, and definitely the final story. I don’t want to work if I’m not on a team where I’m going to be surprised. And that happens when you look for those differences to be part of what we do. It’s really important that that changes, because there’s a big chunk of the audience that is Latino. And being Latino is not one thing. I grew up watching Star Wars, and I couldn’t see in Star Wars someone that looked like me, that sounded like me. And that is changing. That has to change from the inside to change on the outside. And it is happening. If you see the team working on this show, you’ll be like, “OK, you’re doing the right thing.”

With season two on the horizon, what does it mean for you to spend time with this character?

I am getting very nostalgic because I’m heading to the inevitable moment of saying goodbye again to the character. I did it once, and it was painful. And I’m about to do it again, and I’m sure it’s going to be painful. But I can tell you one thing. I felt I had the opportunity to do everything I was missing from the Rogue One experience. In Rogue One, it was very fast. It was the size of a movie, therefore the end comes without you even noticing. And I had to say goodbye. I had to believe that was it. That’s how everything ended.

Then I was given this opportunity to go back, but go back different. Not to do the same, but to do a project that could help me explore much deeper who this character is and play him in very different situations and scenarios and moments, to be able to have a longer, deeper transition. And I am very pleased that I went through this. I am very happy, and I’m ready to say goodbye and start thinking about something else. I mean, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been learning a lot.

And also, going back to your first question, producing made this very special. Because the way I was involved, the stuff I learned … I love producing, I love directing, I love witnessing the process of others. The journey of Andor has been very helpful to get inspired and start thinking of other stuff I gladly still have time to do.

How do you feel about the SAG strike?

I just really hope that things get better, that things get solved soon and that we have a healthy environment for everyone, not just actors, but everyone working in this industry. I am worried for what’s to come, but obviously supporting the strike and supporting the union. It’s quite remarkable what we’ve seen with the writers and what’s happening today with SAG.

We live in a world that is polarized, where there doesn’t seem to be any agreement. People disagree. That is the scenario we see in social media. It gives me hope to see people uniting and understanding the strength again of numbers and fighting as one. That is really an important reminder today of what we as citizens of this world need to be doing, finding solutions and working together to bring them because they’re needed. I really hope that this brings the best of everyone and that soon we can all be back working, in a much more fair and just scenario for everyone.

Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

This interview was conducted before the July 14 launch of the SAG-AFTRA strike.



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