‘Andor’ star reveals her character was pitched as a ‘badass fascist’

dedra meero andor
via Lucasfilm

Andor arrived to widespread fan skepticism. Why would we want to see a show about a character from a five-year-old movie in which he dies at the end? But it wasn’t long before everyone realized its obvious qualities, with showrunner Tony Gilroy approaching Star Wars from a fresh perspective with intelligence, attention to detail, and a whole bunch of character development.

Among the most debated characters was Denise Gough’s ISB supervisor Dedra Meero. She’s the only person in the Empire to connect the dots and begin to see the Rebellion forming, though it was an uphill battle to convince her superiors to take her suspicions seriously.

As such, we began to root for her to succeed, even as we knew she’s propping up a dictatorship spreading oppression across the galaxy. Gough has now spoken to Indiewire about this paradox, saying Gilroy pitched Dedra to her as a “badass fascist”:

“He used the word badass, but also the word fascist. He was like, ‘She works harder than everybody else,’ and we did talk about the idea […] that she’s surrounded, in a very male-dominated place. It felt to me that I was going to play a woman that really had to prove herself, but what’s exciting about that is she’s the underdog. We’re kind of drawn as an audience to support the underdog, aren’t we?”

It’s safe to say that by the time she was using the screams of dying children to psychically torture Cassian Andor’s friends, that audience sympathy drained away, though this doesn’t make her any less fascinating.

The first season saw her brushing off the bizarre advances of Kyle Soller’s Syril Karn, though there were definitely sparks between them after he rescued her in the finale. The stage is set for their toxic relationship to develop further in season two, and we’re dying to see if they can work as some kind of weird couple. More than anything, we want to see Syril bring Dedra home to meet his terrible mother, which might be the one situation that’d restore any sympathy towards her.

Andor season two is expected in mid-2024, but with awards season around the corner, it’s looking like the show is going to walk away with some trophies very soon. Let’s hope Disney uses it as a template for Star Wars going forwards.