‘Andor’ Writer Dives Into Episode 10’s Heartbreaking Star Wars Sacrifice

Andor’s jail arc ended with triumph and tragedy as episode 10 of the extraordinary Star Wars present got here to Disney Plus this previous Wednesday. Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) has lit the spark of riot towards the Galactic Empire in new buddy Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) and their fellow inmates.

It comes because the totalitarian regime viciously stamps out scattered resistance everywhere in the galaxy, with enforcers like Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) spreading worry, and would-be collaborators like Syril Karn (Kyle Soller) solely too comfortable to take care of this horrible established order within the title of order. 

Rebels like Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) and Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) have been working from the shadows to convey the Empire crashing down, understanding discovery would convey smash.

Every character in Andor faces sacrifice and complexity, and it is all a part of the plan hatched by creator Tony Gilroy, govt producer Sanne Wohlenberg and author Beau Willimon, together with co-writer Dan Gilroy and the remainder of the artistic workforce.

Sanne Wohlenberg at the Andor premiere event

Sanne Wohlenberg says Andor tells a narrative of “ordinary people being empowered, making decisions and sacrifices to do extraordinary things for what they believe in.”

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Wohlenberg is greatest generally known as the producer of acclaimed 2019 HBO sequence Chernobyl, having additionally labored on Black Mirror and Doctor Who. Willimon served as showrunner on the primary 4 seasons of Netflix’s House of Cards, created Hulu sci-fi sequence The First and co-wrote the screenplay for The Ides of March.

I had a enjoyable Zoom chat with the enthusiastic Wohlenberg and Willimon about why I can not cease interested by Andor; the sound of the Empire’s horrible torture system; the Kino Loy twist; and the sacrifices our heroes need to make.

Here’s a transcript of our dialog, edited for readability. It dives deep into SPOILERS for Andor episode 10, so that you would possibly wish to maintain off on studying till you have seen it.


Q: I already requested Tony Gilroy this query, however I’d love to listen to your views too: Why is Andor so thought-provoking?
Sanne Wohlenberg: It offers with abnormal folks caught in extraordinary circumstances in a time when the suppression of the Empire turns into one thing that’s changing into more and more insupportable. And that’s the birthplace of this riot. [We’re] assembly an entire host of characters following Cassian, having gone again in time, and actually telling the story of how this man turns into the insurgent that offers his life for the trigger. And he begins off removed from the hero that he’ll develop into. 

We’re telling the story of a variety of abnormal folks being empowered, making choices and sacrifices to do extraordinary issues for what they consider in, or what they have been pushed to. It’s only a very wealthy compost for thought-provoking and emotionally related storytelling.

Beau Willimon smiles in front an Beau Willimon smiles in front an

Beau Willimon needs Andor to be about characters’ emotional journeys.


Beau Willimon: One of the phrases that Sanne simply stated, “sacrifice,” is the important thing to all of this. Tony had a robust imaginative and prescient coming into the writers room, once we all received collectively. He had an 80-page bible that mapped out what he needed to do with the primary season. 

There was some stuff that was tremendous particular, Syril and Eddy’s relationship was completely thought out. And there have been different issues just like the jail, for example — that was type of a placeholder and we weren’t precisely certain what it was going to be. We simply knew one thing like that was going to occur after Aldhani.

But we had the benefit of understanding the place this story ends, which is Rogue One. And you would say that is an obstacle as a result of the viewers is aware of the place that is going to go. But for those who determine to not hinge the power of your storytelling on plot and suspense in that sense, however on character, emotional journeys and the way folks evolve over time, then the query is not whether or not he’ll die on the finish — we all know he’ll die in Rogue One. The query is, How does he develop into the individual that’s keen to die in Rogue One? 

And that boils all the way down to sacrifice, as a result of you may have a personality who on the finish of this journey goes to make the last word sacrifice. And now if I can inform the story of how somebody goes from being so far-off from being keen to try this, to changing into that particular person. That is way extra suspenseful, in a approach, and interesting than low-cost plot surprises. 

Cassian Andor, his hair blowing slightly in the wind, speaks to a shoretrooper in AndorCassian Andor, his hair blowing slightly in the wind, speaks to a shoretrooper in Andor

Cassian Andor is on the trail to changing into the insurgent we meet in Rogue One.


We get loads of twists and turns alongside the way in which, and moments the place you are unsure precisely what’s going to occur or how. But Tony needed to strategy it from that human perspective from day one. And I believe if you strategy it from the human perspective, it makes the story felt. And for those who really feel issues, for those who’re placing your self within the sneakers, not of a Cassian or a Kino or a Luthen, but in addition Syril and Dedra, you discover that, “I’m weirdly rooting for Dedra at times, but hold on, I’m also rooting for Luthen. What does that mean?”

Like you may have a battle inside your self, born of emotion, that will get the synapses firing within the mind. It provokes thought in a chemical sense. And you then begin to consider it, discuss to others about it and have debates. But it begins from making an attempt to really feel one thing.

I discover the Empire tremendous participating regardless of how horrible it’s. I used to be rooting for Dedra as much as a sure level. And that interrogation scene modified my notion of her.
Willimon: Yeah, we had been like, how can we take advantage of terrifying torture scene that you have not seen earlier than? And let’s make it psychological as an alternative of bodily.

Dedra Meero leans towards a seated Bix Caleen in AndorDedra Meero leans towards a seated Bix Caleen in Andor

Dedra Meero introduces Bix Caleen to the Empire’s disagreeable new type of interrogation.


Do you may have a way of what that torture feels like? Do you may have it in your creativeness?
Wohlenberg: I believe it is in all people’s creativeness. It will get described, and I believe the creativeness is a a lot stronger device than ever making an attempt to painting it. And it was very clear we needed to depart it to folks’s creativeness. And I believe that offers it its power.

Willimon: We simply needed to get the viewers to a spot the place principally — no matter is the worst doable, most terrifying, heart-wrenching sound you’ll be able to think about? Let’s lay the groundwork in order that no matter that’s for you is what you are listening to.

The jail arc appears to focus on the ability of collective motion in a microcosm. Why do you assume it is so important for folks to work collectively towards the Empire?
Wohlenberg: Generally, I believe that’s on the coronary heart of what Luthen is making an attempt to do. When you may have an awesome energy that you’re making an attempt to face up towards, all these little factions and all people’s private journeys make it very exhausting to be efficient. 

And I believe the jail turns into a microcosm; abruptly Cassian turns into Luthen. As a lot as he initially solely needs to interrupt out of this horrible place, he finally ends up enabling Kino Loy, who was type of a conspirator of the Empire as a result of he is taking part in alongside with a purpose to get his freedom after 249 days. In the course of those three episodes, he truly turns into the insurgent regardless of understanding that it’ll by no means imply freedom for him, tragically, as a result of he cannot swim. It was thrilling to have this actually robust character arc for a visitor actor.

A huge group of prisoners rush towards the open sky in AndorA huge group of prisoners rush towards the open sky in Andor

The Empire’s prisoners unite to make their escape.


And for Cassian, he is in such a heightened place [with] all of the anger and hatred for the Empire that he has carried since childhood, however he isn’t making an attempt actually to actively deal with it. Suddenly it is like this stress cooker, and he makes an enormous step in the direction of changing into the insurgent that can give his life in Rogue One.

Willimon: When you consider the rallying cry of “One way out,” you’ll be able to consider that in a really literal sense — you’ll be able to solely go up and out, and dive into the lake. But for those who assume on an even bigger degree — all of those guys are chanting this collectively — you are seeing [that the] just one approach out of the oppression, and the Empire, is collectively working collectively. With danger and sacrifice. Some of us are going to die, a few of us aren’t going to make it. But our solely approach out is collectively, en masse, with collective braveness. That’s the larger launcher for the riot. 


That final scene, with Kino revealing that he could not swim, was fairly the emotional intestine punch. Can you speak about how that twist took place?
Willimon: With the jail, we began from a quite simple place:, how will we do a jail that you have not seen earlier than? How do you do one thing recent? How do you do a jail with out bars or weapons or guards? Maybe electrical flooring? If most prisons that you just see are darkish, dank and soiled, what if this one is tremendous vivid and clear? Do we wish them to simply be milling round all day? Or do we wish them to be doing one thing? Well possibly they’re constructing one thing. What are they constructing? 

So you begin with issues like that, and also you begin to construct a narrative. And then you definately place the character like Kino on the middle of it to indicate what a path to changing into a insurgent seems to be like over three episodes. And then we had constructed this structure, it is type of like Alcatraz, it is this large hydraulic constructing that goes to the depth of the lake. And you are coping with the realities: Once they get on the market, what are they going to need to do? How far is it to the shore? How lengthy will it take to swim? How far have they got to dive down into the water? 

Kino Loy looks sad as prisoners rush behind him in AndorKino Loy looks sad as prisoners rush behind him in Andor

Kino Loy accepts that he has to make a sacrifice in Andor.


And you are taking a look at each alternative to have essentially the most emotional impression. We’re monitoring Kino. Is Kino gonna swim to the shore with Cassian? And in that case, what does that seem like? And what does that imply and the place do they go? But then, and I neglect who stated it, however somebody’s, like, “He can’t swim.” 

When he stated, in the beginning of that episode, “I’m going to assume I’m already dead,” he is aware of that even when he succeeds and will get up there, he is by no means leaving this place. And so you are like “Whoa, oh, my gosh.” When you come upon one thing like that, and it will possibly come from the mundane realities of the physicality of the area you have created. And it intestine punches you within the room if you’re writing one thing, you simply know: That’s it. It’s so clear.

Whoever stated that within the room, the second it was stated, it was nearly silent for a couple of seconds. His best second of triumph can be his best second of tragedy. And when you’ll be able to have each these issues occur on the similar time within the story, it is golden. You ache for, you yearn for the handful of instances in your life that you just get to, as a author, arrive at a second like that.

I like the title Davo Sculdun a lot. Who got here up with that?
Willimon: I believe I can truly take credit score for this one, I’m fairly certain I got here up with it. But if Tony tells you in any other case, he is proper.

Wohlenberg: I can not keep in mind. I’m Switzerland right here.

Willimon: The title sport is a enjoyable one. Sometimes you land on one instantly, and typically you waste a half hour making an attempt to provide you with title, or there is a placeholder title.

Wohlenberg: But you all the time know one of the best concept within the room. You all the time know when a reputation simply sounds completely proper.

Willimon: It does not actually matter who got here up with the title. The important factor is that we’re all servicing Tony’s imaginative and prescient. He walked in with such a transparent imaginative and prescient. And our job was simply to attempt to, along with his management, make it higher if we might. In the room itself, it was all the time one of the best concept gained. And not in a aggressive approach. We all knew one another, trusted one another, revered one another, had a shorthand — we’re shifting shortly. And then all of us felt possession over an concept; all of us felt like we had been contributing one thing. And so it wasn’t about who got here up with what. It’s like, have we collectively — collective motion as we had been speaking about — provide you with one of the best story? And in the end, Tony is the chef; he is the arbiter of all that; his instincts are proper.

Wohlenberg: He is a phenomenal collaborator, and an actual inspiration in permitting you to convey one thing to it. And I believe that goes for each actor he works with, for all of our [heads of department]. It’s a very collaborative journey with a really clear and powerful visionary chief on the prime. I believe that makes it a very thrilling journey.

I liked how the scene with Davo is laid out, with the three characters sitting fairly far aside in Mon Mothma’s stunning condo. That and the jail are stunning units, as are all of the units we have seen up to now in Andor. My understanding is that they are largely sensible?
Wohlenberg: With something Star Wars-related, there’s a variety of [computer generated imagery] and issues that include the galaxy far, far-off you are coping with. But we all the time attempt to do as a lot sensible and actual as we presumably can, for folks to work together with. It’s all in regards to the truthful actuality and the emotional connection an artist can have with the area they inhabit, that informs who they’re. And so a variety of our units — we all the time attempt to create as a lot as doable for actual.

Mon Mothma looks concerned as she arrives in a beautiful apartment in AndorMon Mothma looks concerned as she arrives in a beautiful apartment in Andor

Mon Mothma plans her riot in fairly swish environment.


We are fully blessed with [production designer] Luke Hull on the helm — his great creativeness in decoding Tony’s imaginative and prescient, and Beau’s and Dan’s after they’re writing, to translate it into one thing that turns into a actuality. [Hull] is an actual pleasure. Without him, I can not fairly think about Andor present.

Jumping again to the concept of sacrifice, Luthen’s speech on the finish of episode 10 is unbelievable. But it highlights the ethical quandary each he and Mon Mothma face. How do you are feeling about that?
Wohlenberg: When you might be a part of the riot, there’s an entire load of adverse choices to be made and a variety of sacrifice. And ethical conundrums alongside the way in which — how far do you go to battle for the trigger? And what’s the motion that you just want? Constantly troublesome choices and the previous that everyone has to navigate. 

I believe all our characters all through the sequence are making choices within the title of the trigger. That’s what it means to affix a riot and battle for it. I believe that’s actually fascinating, it makes characters very three dimensional. They weren’t black and white; no one is simply good or simply unhealthy. And that is a very big trait of all of the characters that Tony creates for the sequence.

Luthen Rael and Cassian Andor flee on a speeder in Andor.Luthen Rael and Cassian Andor flee on a speeder in Andor.

Luthen Rael places Cassian on a rebellious new path, and accepts the sacrifices that life requires. 


Willimon: We ask of each character, What sacrifice are they keen to make for what they consider in? And that may even be true of Syril or Dedra, however notably in the case of Luthen and Mon. We know Kassian will in the end sacrifice his life. We know Mon as she is going to exist within the movies, however we solely get a bit of style of her in these, so we’re discovering who this particular person is. And Luthen is a creation fully born of Tony … And so that you’re speaking about these two characters, and what does sacrifice seem like for them?

You might say the last word sacrifice is loss of life. But for those who’re a Mon, you are doubtlessly sacrificing — doubtlessly, we do not know what’s going to occur — your daughter’s destiny to the identical one that you just had been consigned to. … Are you keen to sacrifice your daughter? In a way, is not that nearly an even bigger ask than loss of life? This is what she’s confronting. 

And Luthen says it himself: “I’ve sacrificed everything.” He listed issues that he sacrificed, the final of which is love, which is maybe the most important sacrifice you can also make as a result of a life with out love is sunless. You’re already lifeless in a approach. 

And so I assume the present is proposing that if you wish to obtain one thing on the scale that these individuals are making an attempt to realize, you need to be keen to make unbelievable sacrifices at nice price. And ethical decisions are solely nearly as good because the habits that stems from them. So you’ll be able to consider all the correct issues, however for those who’re not keen to stroll the stroll, it is ineffective. It’s meaningless. The solely factor that issues is what you do. And that is the query we’re continuously asking of those characters, and I believe that is what provides the present its dramatic impression and stakes.

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