Tony Gilroy talks about the importance of Saw Gerrera, Luthen Rael and the Rebel Alliance’s “Original Gangsters and Maniacs”

Tony Gilroy talks about the importance of Saw Gerrera, Luthen Rael and the Rebel Alliance’s “Original Gangsters and Maniacs”

Luther Rael, played by Stellan Skarsgard, has an excellent opening line in the third episode of “Star Wars” prequel spin-off series”andor.” “Cassian Andor,” he says with a dramatic pause, “the Empire is smothering us so slowly that we begin not to notice. What I’m asking is this, wouldn’t you rather give your all for something real?”

Rael is talking about two things. He is proposing that Andor (played by Diego Moon, reprising her role as “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) join what is then a nascent and yet unformed Rebel Alliance and eventually become the hero and spy we all know from ‘Rogue One’. But he’s also talking about complacency and apathy, the same kind we face today as we sit idly by and watch our democracy crumble and our Republic slowly sink into autocracy.

This might sound dramatic, but “Andor” is very much a show about tyranny and oppression, definitely influenced by the Trump years but also by history. “Andor” premiered this week on Disney+and we talked to the creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy, twice nominated for an Oscar for writing and directing”Michael Clayton”, and known for being the main redaction architect behind the ‘Bourne’ series (he also wrote and directed the spin-off “The Bourne Legacy“). Gilroy is also quite famous for coming aboard to help the team on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” When ‘Rogue One’ went off the rails a little in early 2016 (the movie arrived later in the year in December), Gilroy was credited with saving the film after joining the project to write and direct major reshoots and then oversee the post-production process up to the eventual finish line.

As much as “Andor” is political in a sense, it is also a “Star Wars” show, but one that looks at the despotic Empire through a realistic lens and what oppression and suffering mean for the rest of the galaxy.

“It’s no secret,” Gilroy said during the series’ press conference. “The show exists because there is a huge, arterial, important and passionate ‘Star Wars’ community.”

“It’s not a monolithic community,” he continued. “There are a lot of different versions and factions within it, but there’s this huge dedicated ‘Star Wars’ community that pops up. And that’s our entire card. That’s what gave us the money, the momentum, and the ability to put on an insanely big, bountiful, and difficult show to do. That audience is our primary concern, and we want to bring them something that is completely different than what they’ve had before, but we’re doing it in a completely non-cynical way.”

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Gilroy also seemed well aware that while there is actually a rich and diverse audience out there, “Star Wars” fans tend to be boys and men. And to hear that from him, he’s trying to reach audiences who don’t think they’re interested in “Star Wars.”

“It’s no secret,” Gilroy said, reusing his favorite phrase again in reference to some members of the “Star Wars” community, “The partner, the boss, the girlfriend, the boyfriend, the mom, the dad. Many people who are ‘Star Wars’ adjacent or ‘Star Wars’ averse [laughs]. AND [they] should be able to watch our show. Our show is designed so this can be your entry point into ‘Star Wars’. You can watch our 24 episodes; this could be your way.

“We’re doing a show that doesn’t require any prior knowledge to get involved,” he continued. “And our hope is – that’s the gamble – can we satisfy, electrify and excite dedicated fans? And can we at the same time bring something that is so emotionally intense and feels so true and it’s the smallest domestic dramas and the smallest interpersonal relationships that are abandoned in the midst of epic tectonic revolutionary historical moments where people have to make big decisions? Can we attract another audience interested in this as well? Can we marry these two things together? That’s the bet. That’s what we’re trying to do, and that’s why we’re here.”

During my interview with Gilroy, I asked about Saw Gerrera (played by Forest Whitaker), the fighter so radical and drastic that he was eventually expelled from the Rebel Alliance, choosing to fight the Empire on its own terms, with its own violent and extremist measures. Gerrera was a character first introduced in animation “Star Wars The Clone Wars” as a then-rising maverick, then played live-action by Whitaker in ‘Rogue One,’ and then retroactively worked into the narrative of “Star Wars Rebels”, an animated series that takes place in the same period of “Andor.” Gerrera appears briefly in the trailer for “Andor,” I’m told he appears in one episode of season one and then has a marginally greater presence in season two.

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Gerrera is a character that fascinates me, but in asking if we’ll see more of him in season two, Gilroy provided a lengthy answer about what the show really is: the revolution, the structural and organizational difficulties of maintaining this uprising, the bad apples within it. , and all the eggs that need to be cracked to make this insurrection omelet work, so to speak.

“Yes. I mean, look, the show is very – Stella [Skarsgård] is playing a character, Luther [Rael] that’s kind of silently building a network and being a talent scout and a binder and a proxy for all these different things. And this is the moment he’s going to make some noise,” Gilroy said, explaining Luthen’s realization on the show that this is finally the time to attack and connect all the disparate cells and factions out there fighting and merge them into what else. later is known as the Rebel Alliance.

“This is the time. He has decided that he can no longer [wait]; it’s time to leave,” he continued. “And the show really, particularly the second season that we’re going to do over the next four years, the other 12 episodes that we’re going to do, is really about what happens — see, this revolution is hundreds of different groups and people and rebellions all over the place that are hatching and cooking, and they don’t know each other and aren’t aware of each other.”

Gilroy also hinted that the show will show how putting together a Rebel Alliance is a lot harder than it sounds, despite everyone’s shared hatred of the Empire, for both practical and personal reasons.

“And, and you’re watching Luthen try to pull himself together, and Saw [Gerrera] is one of the people he deals with; there are other people he deals with,” Gilroy continued. “And you’re going to watch, as the show goes on, the stress of a) taking your company public, scaling your company. It’s one thing when you’re running a small private company, suddenly when this happens, all these problems, but b) also what happens to the original gangsters? What happens to the people who were really there at the beginning? Yavin IV is a beautiful place of settlement at the end. There’s not much room for all the original maniacs who started all this. And that’s a very interesting thing for me, and it’s a very interesting thing for the show to deal with. And it fits very thematically, really [well], with a lot of things we want to do with the characters. So that’s something we’re really exploring.”

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In ‘Star Wars’ lore, as seen in ‘Rogue One’, Gerrera has already been expelled by the Alliance, very extreme in their methods, but they need to negotiate some inner peace to verify the details of the Death Star’s plans.

“Saw is a lot, that’s the first place you look and say, ‘Oh God, they should have more.’ This is a great character because he never enters the tent. He doesn’t fit in the big tent. He’s very crazy.”

Gilroy also teased some of the drama and infighting we will see in “Andor” between Luthen and the various forces he is trying to unite with Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), suggesting that the writers simply looked to the revolutions of history for inspiration.

“Oh my God, just read about any revolution,” he explained. “But the one that has the most — I mean, forget about the French Revolution or places where you have a bunch of really intellectual people with different ideas about what it should be like. [fought]. The Russian revolution, the 30 years, leads to this, the amount of infighting and the number of groups and the amount of people who end up hating each other more than they hate the Czar, and the difficulties they have in organizing and what Lenin does it to bring them together or shape them, all of that. I mean, this is just fascinating. We will be able to do all of this. We managed to do it.”

“Andor” and its three-episode premiere are streaming on Disney+. The 12-episode series premieres one new episode a week until the end on November 23.

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