Tony Gilroy Talks The Importance Of Saw Gerrera, Luthen Rael & The “Original Gangsters & Maniacs” Of The Rebel Alliance #Tony #Gilroy #Talks #Importance #Gerrera #Luthen #Rael #Original #Gangsters #Maniacs #Rebel #Alliance Welcome to Americanah Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:
Luthen Rael, played by Stellan Skarsgård, has a terrific opening line in the third episode of the “Star Wars” spin-off prequel series “Andor.” “Cassian Andor,” he says with a dramatic pause, “the Empire is choking us so slowly, we’re starting not to notice. What I’m asking is this, wouldn’t you rather give it all to something real?”
Rael’s talking about two things. He’s proposing that Andor (played by Diego Luna, reprising his role from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”) join what is then a nascent, still-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 very kind we face today when we sit idly by and watch our democracy crumble and our Republic slowly sink into autocracy.
That may sound dramatic, but “Andor” is very much a show about tyranny and oppression, definitely influenced by the years of Trump, but also history. “Andor” debuted this week on Disney+, and we spoke with creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy, twice-Oscar nominated for writing and directing “Michael Clayton,” and known for being the main writing architect behind the ‘Bourne’ series (he also wrote and directed the spin-off “The Bourne Legacy”). Gilroy is also rather famous for coming on board to assist the team on “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” When ‘Rogue One’ fell off the rails a bit in early 2016 (the film arrived at the end of the year in December), Gilroy was credited with saving the movie after joining the project to write and direct major reshoots and then oversee the post-production process towards the eventual finish line.
As much as “Andor” is political in a sense, it’s also very much a “Star Wars” show, but one that looks at the despotic Empire through a realistic lens and what oppression and suffering means to the rest of the galaxy.
“It’s no secret,” Gilroy said during the press conference for the series. “The show exists because there’s an enormous, arterial, important, passionate ‘Star Wars’ community.”
“It’s not a monolithic community,” he continued. “There are many different versions and factions within it, but there’s this huge dedicated ‘Star Wars’ community that shows up. And that’s our whole card. That’s what gave us the money and the momentum and the ability to make a show that’s this insanely big, this abundant, and this difficult to make. That audience is our primary concern, and we want to bring something to them that is a completely different lane than what they’ve had before, but we’re doing it in a completely uncynical fashion.”
Gilroy also seemed acutely aware that, while in truth, there’s a rich diverse audience out there for it, “Star Wars” fans tend to be boys and men. And to hear it from him, he’s trying to reach the audience that doesn’t think they’re interested in “Star Wars.”
“It’s no secret,” Gilroy said, reusing his favorite phrase again in reference to some “Star Wars” community members, “Their partner, their boss, their girlfriend, their boyfriend, their mother, their father. A lot of people that are ‘Star Wars’ adjacent or ‘Star Wars’ averse [laughs]. And [they] should be able to watch our show. Our show is designed so that this could be your entry point to ‘Star Wars.’ You could watch our 24 episodes; that could be your way in.
“We’re doing a show that does not require any prior knowledge whatsoever to get involved,” he continued. “And our hope is—that’s the gamble—can we satisfy and electrify and excite the dedicated fans? And can we at the same time bring something that’s so intense emotionally and seems so true and is the smallest domestic dramas and the smallest interpersonal relationships that are dropped down in the midst of the epic tectonic revolutionary historical moments where people have to make huge decisions? Can we attract another audience that’s interested in that as well? Can we marry those two things together? That’s the gamble. 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 he’s eventually kicked out of the Rebel Alliance, instead choosing to fight the Empire on his own terms, with his own violent and extremist measures. Gerrera was a character first introduced in the animated “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” as a then-bourgeoning dissident, and then played in live-action by Whitaker in ‘Rogue One,’ and then retroactively worked into the narrative of “Star Wars Rebels,” an animated series that takes place during the same time 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 bigger presence in season two.
Gerrera is a character that fascinates me, but in asking whether we’ll see more of him in season two, Gilroy instead provided a lengthy answer about what much of the show is really about: the making of a revolution, the structural and organizational difficulties of maintaining that revolt, the bad apples within it, and all the eggs that need to be broken to make that insurrection omelet work, so to speak.
“Yeah. I mean, look, the show is very much—Stellan [Skarsgård] is playing a character, Luthen [Rael] who has kind of been quietly building a network and being a talent scout and a binder and a procurer for all these different things. And this is the moment that he’s going to go loud,” Gilroy said, explaining Luthen’s in-show realization that this is finally the moment to strike and connect all the disparate cells and factions out there fighting and coalesce them all into what’s later known as the Rebel Alliance.
“This is the time. He’s decided he can no longer [wait]; it’s time to go out,” he continued. “And the show really, particularly in the second season that we’ll do the next four years, the other 12 episodes that we’re going to do, it’s really about what happens to—look, this revolution is hundreds of different groups and people and rebellions all over the place that are nascent and cooking, and they don’t know each other, and they’re not aware of each other.”
Gilroy also suggested that the show will depict how putting together a Rebel Alliance is much more difficult than it sounds despite everyone’s shared hatred for the Empire, for practical and personal reasons.
“And, and you’re watching Luthen try to pull it 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 stresses of a) taking your company public, scaling your company up. It’s one thing when you’re running a little private enterprise, all of a sudden when it’s a thing, all those issues, but then b) also what happens to the original gangsters? What happens to people that were really there at the beginning? Yavin IV is a pretty establishment place at the end. There isn’t a lot of room for all the original maniacs that started all this stuff. And that’s a really interesting thing to me, and it’s a really 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, that’s something that we’re really exploring.”
In “Star Wars” lore, as seen in ‘Rogue One,’ Gerrera has already been ousted by the Alliance, too extremist in his methods, but they need to broker some internecine peace in order to verify the details of the Death Star plans.
“Saw is very much, that’s the first place you look and go, ‘Oh God, they should have had more.’ That’s a great character because he never gets in the tent. He doesn’t fit in the big tent. He’s too crazy.”
Gilroy also teased some of the drama and infighting that we’ll eventually see in “Andor” among Luthen and the various forces he’s trying to pull together with Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly), hinting that the writers have simply looked at revolutions in history for inspiration.
“Oh my God, just read about any revolution,” he explained. “But the one that has the most—I mean, forget the French revolution or places where you have a whole bunch of really intellectual people with different ideas about how it should be [fought]. The Russian revolution, the 30 years, it leads up to it, the amount of infighting and the number of groups and the amount of people who end up hating each other more than they even hate the Czar, and the difficulties that they have in organizing and what Lenin does to pull them together or slap them into shape, all of that. I mean, that’s just fascinating. We’re going get to do all of that. We get to do it.”
“Andor” and its three-episode premiere is streaming on Disney+. The 12-episode series then debuts one new episode a week leading up until the finale on November 23.