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Diego Luna as Cassian Andor in 'Andor'
Image via Disney Plus

Latest ‘Star Wars’ News: Studio Ghibli teases mystery ‘Star Wars’ project and ‘Andor’ mastermind Tony Gilroy sheds new light on the show’s aims

With 'Andor' season one now in the home stretch, showrunner Tony Gilroy is opening up on how this amazing show came together.

The tenth episode of Andor landed yesterday, and even by the show’s high standards, the release was truly amazing. As expected, “One Way Out” centered on a prison revolt on Narkina 5, with Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy stepping up to lead the inmates to freedom. That would have been entertainment enough, but we also got a killer monologue from Luthen that fans are calling one of the greatest moments in Star Wars, as the long-teased “difficult choices” for Mon Mothma finally arrived.

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Over the course of the day, showrunner Tony Gilroy gave interviews to multiple outlets about his thinking behind Andor, providing some illuminating insights on what it took to bring this brilliant show to life.

But first, something very interesting is going on over at Studio Ghibli…

Studio Ghibli

Animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli has just posted a video indicating they’re partnering with Lucasfilm on a mystery project. Check out their enigmatic teaser:

Ghibli are famed for animation classics like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Spirited Away, and though they’ve often adapted existing work this is the first time they’ll be working on a licensed property. Rumors are building that this could be an entry into the Star Wars Visions anime project, though initial reports suggested the upcoming second season would focus on international animation studios after the Japan-heavy initial offering.

We have a sneaking suspicion the recent leak of a Star Wars short titled “Grogu and Dust Bunnies” may have something to do with this story. That’s set to arrive on Saturday 12 November to mark the third anniversary of The Mandalorian‘s first season premiere so we should know more very soon. Watch this space.

Did Andy Serkis’ Kino Loy live or die?

Kino Loy Andor
Screengrab via YouTube/CT-6969

Andy Serkis has been one of the best things about the last three episodes, though it appears that his Andor story ended this week. After playing a central role in Cassian’s prison revolt, we got the crushing revelation that he can’t swim, and thus won’t be able to escape with his fellow inmates.

As a result, the show left Kino Loy’s fate as a mystery. Possibilities range from him being shoved into the water and drowning, carried to the shore by his comrades, or remaining in the facility and being captured when the Imperial response arrives. We like the ambiguity, though a quote from showrunner Tony Gilroy seems to suggest he thinks Kino Loy lived:

In an interview with The Hollywood ReporterGilroy was asked what happened to him and said: 

“I don’t know. He’s not dead. Is he dead? I don’t see him dying.”

While we’re not going to turn down more Andy Serkis, we’re more than happy with this ending. Kino’s arc concluded with him freeing his mind from Imperial institutionalization, so whether he physically gets freed or not doesn’t matter so much to the themes of the story.

Let’s just hope we don’t get some awful novel revealing that Kino was captured by the Empire and his DNA used as the basis for cloning experiments to create a replacement for Palpatine…

Tony Gilroy is adamant that Andor is a “ripping yarn” rather than a political polemic

Tony Gilroy arrives at the special 3-episode launch event for Lucasfilm's original series Andor at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California on September 15, 2022. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

In a separate interview with Indiewire, Gilroy was pressed on the politics of Andor. Throughout the show, we’ve seen characters and situations that break down the corruptive influences of fascism and the importance of fighting back against it, leading most viewers to quite reasonably conclude that the show was always intended to be a political commentary.

Well, that might not necessarily be the case. Gilroy has said that any political messaging comes naturally from the subject matter rather than something the writers explicitly set out to do. In an illuminating quote, he described the show’s politics as “instinctive,” saying:

“Pick your revolution. I saw an analysis about Luthen’s accelerationist Marxist view. People understand these ideas fundamentally; they don’t need terms for them. They don’t need to be put in a dialectical form. They need to feel instinctive. It’s very pleasing, on the other hand, to watch people argue and find things in there that are applicable, but my primary responsibility is to the characters and to make an adventure story. This is a ripping yarn and it is an adventure story, and there’s a lot more energy that goes into the plotting and the adventure story aspect of it — no one sits around thinking about what we should do politically. It just happens instinctively.”

He also laid out where he’s personally coming from, describing himself as “a freaking old white guy who listens to history podcasts all the time” and that wanted to use real-world events as “a catalog” rather than to pass specific commentary on them.

But really, when your depiction of the Empire is clearly heavily inspired by 1970s Northern Ireland, the Highland Clearances, the British Empire, and Nazi Germany, it’s unsurprising that a lot of viewers are going to assume you’re making an explicit political statement.

Or, alternatively, maybe he just doesn’t want Disney and Lucasfilm realizing he’s putting out a call for violent revolution every week on their premier streaming service.

More alien characters are on the way to Andor

An alien from 'Andor'
Image via Disney Plus

One of the few justified complaints about Andor is that it’s skimping on Star Wars aliens. Sure, there’s been a few on screen, but for the most part, Andor‘s embryonic Rebellion has been entirely composed of humans, with the Empire unsurprisingly following suit. We know that the Rebellion will eventually bring together all manner of alien species in their Galactic Civil War, so where are they?

In Gilroy’s interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he said that there’s a good reason for this:

“There’s already so much politics in the show to begin with, and we’re trying to tell an adventure story, really. So adding strong alien characters means that all of a sudden, there’s a whole bunch of new issues that we have to deal with that I don’t really understand that well or I just couldn’t think of a way to bake them into what we’re doing.”

It’s also likely that if you have a show in which characters are making heartfelt speeches about the evils of fascism, having some guy standing in the background with a rubber monster mask on risks undercutting the serious vibe.

Fortunately for fans of Star Wars’ many iconic alien races, the future is looking bright:

“You’ll see more as we go along, but it’s a legit question and one we’ll be answering as we go along. There is a more human-centric side of the story and the politics of it. There’s certainly no aliens working for the Empire, so that kind of tips it one way, automatically.”

The first season of the show has shown us the divided resistance to the Empire, with Saw Gerrera ranting about “Neo-Republicans. The Ghorman Front. The Partisan Alliance. Sectorists. Human cultists!” 

Season two will be set over five years and presumably show these various groups uniting under the flag of the Rebel Alliance, so we hope that means the cast of characters will expand to Rodians, Twi’leks, Wookiees, Mon Calimari, and the rest. Hell, why not throw in a grizzled Gungan for good measure?

Judging by the recent teaser for the second half of the series, we’re hoping for fireworks in the final two episodes. Our only concern is that all these characters make it through to the second season, as there’s a ridiculous amount of storytelling potential in all of them. Here’s hoping we know more soon.

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David James
I'm a writer/editor who's been at the site since 2015. Love writing about video games and will crawl over broken glass to write about anything related to Hideo Kojima. But am happy to write about anything and everything, so long as it's interesting!