Diego Luna also reveals what’s going on in Cassian’s mind during that scene.
[This article contains spoilers for Andor’s Season 1 finale]
Across the 12-episode first season of Tony Gilroy’s Andor, audiences have been treated to a front-row seat in watching the sparks of the rebellion finally light a flame within Cassian Andor (Diego Luna). In the finale, after enduring incarceration on Narkina 5, his mother’s (Fiona Shaw) death, and seeing the effects that torture has had on Bix (Adria Arjona) Cassian is finally ready to commit his life to the rebellion or die trying to join. In the final minutes of the episode, he sneaks onto Luthen Rael’s (Stellan Skarsgård) haulcraft and asked the man to either kill him or let him join the rebellion, and of course with Rogue One on the horizon fans know how this conversation will go.
Ahead of the finale, Collider’s own Steve Weintraub had the chance to speak with both Gilroy and Luna about the series, and he broached the topic of Cassian’s final scene with both of them. When asked about how early on he knew that this was the exact moment he wanted to end the season on, Gilroy explained:
“Early, early. Probably when I was still in the sketching phase. I was trying to fill out the whole jigsaw puzzle. What do you do first in jigsaw puzzle? I’m not a jigsaw puzzle expert, but I think what you usually do is they usually start with the edges, right? The edge, get a frame. So, probably along the way, while I’m sketching all different things, and here’s a scene for who knows where this goes, and here’s another scene for another episode and landmark scenes all the way through and different things. But at a certain point, I’m looking for that and at a certain point I’m wasting my time if I don’t know what that is. I have to know where I’m going. Otherwise, you’re wasting time.”
From a screenwriting standpoint, it makes sense that Gilroy had the whole thing mapped out from the beginning because everything neatly fits into place as the final moments of Season 1 draws to a close. Every aspect of Cassian’s story before this specific moment has been leading up to his decision to commit to the rebellion, and Luna shed a little more light on where Cassian’s mind is as he makes that choice. Luna said, “I think if you could read his mind, at the end what he’s saying is, “This is no life. Take this thing I have away from me because it means nothing unless you let me fight for freedom.” He’s saying, “There’s no point of living like this.” He finally gets it.” He went on to elaborate why this is such a pivotal moment for the character:
There’s a lot of learning to come to find the Cassian we see in Rogue One, and the commitment, the clarity, the belief that he has there. But here, what he’s saying is like, “Yeah, take this away from me because it means nothing unless I’m part of what you guys are fighting for.” And I think it’s that, it’s very deep, and it’s the moment he finds out he can be different [from] what everyone sees in him and what he sees, and what he thought he was. That there is a chance to transform, to evolve, and to become part of a solution.
Cassian Andor has been a compelling character since he was first introduced in Rogue One, and he killed a man within the first few minutes of being on-screen. Andor has done wonders with exploring what makes him a flawed, but fascinating character, and Luna seems to think this is what makes him so interesting. As he put it:
“I think that’s what makes Cassian a beautiful character, because he’s imperfect. But there is one thing about him, I think makes him different. He’s willing to forgive himself, therefore give himself another chance. And he might fuck up many times, and mess up, but he gives himself another chance. There he is in the same place where he was the first time Luthen found him, and he’s there saying, “Sorry, I get it now. I get it. Now that I got it, either you get rid of me or you make me part of the fight.” I think it’s a very strong finale, man. And also the one you need for another season to happen. You need that.”
While there is no shortage of inspirational characters in the Star Wars universe, Cassian stands apart because he wasn’t born a hero or brought up in the midst of the rebellion in the way that characters like Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) were. Cassian was just an average person who saw first-hand what the Empire was doing, tried to ignore it, and then saw the ramifications of complacency. The way that the finale combines all of the ideas laid out across twelve episodes and uses them to push Cassian onto his collision course with the events of Rogue One is a masterclass in storytelling for everyone involved.
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