Star Wars really popularized the prequels with its 1999 – 2005 trilogy. Any prequel has the caveat that the audience may know how it ends, or at least what happens after. Annakin Skywalker was always going to become Darth Vader. And Andor can’t change Cassian Andor (Diego Luna)’s fate in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. But, Luna and Andor creator Tony Gilroy say it doesn’t matter if you know what happens to him.
[Warning: This article contains spoilers for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.]
Luna and Gilroy were on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel for Andor on Aug. 3. They explained why the ending of Rogue One doesn’t limit Andor at all. New episodes of Andor premiere Wednesdays on Disney+.
Cassian Andor death in ‘Rogue One’ is no different from any character or viewer
Rogue One was unique to Star Wars for its tragic ending. Even after Episode III – Revenge of the Sith, Rogue One showed all its main characters dying to provide Princess Leia with the Death Star plans. Andor takes place in the five years leading up to Rogue One, but Gilroy isn’t worried that viewers know Andor dies.
“I finally came up with the answer that I’ve always wanted,” Gilroy said. “You know what? We’re all living in a prequel. We’re all going to die, and we’re all in a prequel.”
Gilroy has a point. Even in contemporaneous stories, all of the characters are going to die eventually, unless you’re watching Highlander. Knowing that doesn’t ruin their current adventure either.
Cassian Andor’s death doesn’t limit Diego Luna either
It’s one thing to write Andor’s life before Rogue One. Luna played his death scene. Still, that doesn’t hold Luna back from exploring Andor before the film.
“It’s the opposite,” Luna said. “I’m going to challenge everything you think about Cassian. Everything that made sense when you were watching the film is now going to be challenged, because I do have that in mind. I know where it ends, and I can be very creative about how to get there. I think it triggers a different part of your creativity, when you start backwards.”
A fan of historical nonfiction, Luna said he can approach Andor the same way.
Not as an actor, as audience I tell you there’s nothing I like the most than going to see big shows about historical moments that I know happened, and that I know the end. And characters that I’ve read about, then I go and see a movie about them and I get to see what’s in between what I read. To me, it celebrates, in a way, and it challenges audiences in a very special way. It’s like you know this is possible. You know someone is capable of this. Well, I’m going to tell you something you don’t know about what triggered that and, to me, that is when storytelling becomes fascinating. And, again, that’s what I search for as audience.Diego Luna, Television Critics Association panel, 8/3/22
Everyone knows what happens in ‘Star Wars’
Gilroy also related it to repeat movie viewing. Most people watch movies more than once, even though they know what happens.
“The suspension of disbelief is even more tenuous than that, because you can watch a movie for the third time,” Gilroy said. “You just saw it six months before, and you can, if you love it, because you’re watching it again, you’re invested in it. That is not a concern as a dramatist.”
Given we’re talking about Star Wars, people watch those movies a lot more than three times. You always know the Death Star is going to blow up, but it doesn’t ruin the experience.