With Andor arriving on Disney+ on September 21, I recently got to speak with Adria Arjona (Bix Caleen) on creating the newest star wars series. Andor is a two-season event that begins five years before the events of A thug. The first season will cover one year, while the second season will cover the next four years in blocks of 3 episodes. This means episodes one through three will be year two, episodes four through six are year three, seven but nine are year four, and the last episodes will be year five and the plan is to finish episode twelve just before A thug departures.
During the interview, Arjona talked about his relationship with Diego Lunaby Cassian Andor, how the show started rebellion, what people would be surprised to learn about the making of Andorhow many showrunner Tony Gilroy told her about the show and her arc when she signed up how you don’t need to have seen any star wars movies or series to watch the show, and more.
In addition to Arjona, Andor presents the return of Genevieve O’Reilly like Mon Mothma and Whitaker Forest like Saw Gerrera. Newcomers to the series include Stellan Skarsgard, Kyle Soller, Denise Goughand Robert Emmes. The 12-episode first season will include episodes directed by Toby Haynes, Ben Caronand Suzanne White.
Watch what Adria Arjona had to say above, or you can read our conversation below.
COLLIDER: I want to start with how much I loved the first four episodes of Andor. I think my favorite part is that there are no Jedi lightsabers, desert planets called Tatooine. It’s just a whole new section of star wars. Can you talk about that aspect of the show?
ADRIA ARJONA: Yes, it really is a true origin story of such a great character that we already know and love. And I think Tony has done a great job creating these new worlds that are so complex and so clever and interesting. Ferrix, for example, is a place where everyone is a bit alike. You don’t see the hierarchies and economic imbalance is everyone’s kind of worker, and they all share things. And trading is largely a trading system, and there’s a community there that you feel, and those are rituals and traditions that are very close to Ferrix.
What happens to a place like this when they’re on the cusp of a revolution, what do you think ignites? It’s pretty epic and realizing where Cassian is really from and then going to Ferrix and figuring out where he’s lived most of his life. [It] it’s kind of epic to see it and understand it. It’s so real. It’s the one thing that really, I keep saying that word over and over again because it’s really so real. It’s about people. They are ordinary people who have very little in common, but they are somehow connected to each other. It’s kind of an imagery of who we are as a society. And it’s quite remarkable what Tony has created.
How would you describe your character and the relationship with Cassian?
ARJONA: Bix is someone who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. She’s a risk taker. She’s bold and fearless, and she’s a manager at a salvage yard. So has a pretty stable and pretty life, she’s got everything under control, and then here’s Cassian, and then it always happens. Their dynamic is one that I deeply love. So it was so much fun to dig and play with, their childhood friends. And we feel that they have a history and that their dynamic is complicated. You can almost tell that their trust has been built and broken and built and broken over many, many years. Yet she is incredibly caring and incredibly protective of him. Sometimes even to his own detriment
For star wars fans, what do you think they would be surprised to learn about the making of Andor?
ARJONA: They built an entire city for us, like an entire city. I got lost there. I remember the first day I walked on set, and I was already in costume, which was a coincidence. It happened to be the day they gave me the tour. I was at a costume fitting and went there, and I was blown away. It was a whole city in the open air that existed. Ferrix exists. It’s not in a studio. These are not parts of a set that we filmed in the studio. It really is a city. I keep saying three to five blocks. I could be wrong. And I could also maybe be under, I’m not sure, I’m not good with distances.
One of the many reasons I loved it was that it was clearly filmed on location, hands on sets, everything looked real. It was just very impressive.
ARJONE: Yeah. I had a scene where they were like, you gotta run. And I was like, everyone, where do you want? And the directors where do you want? Because they could point the camera just about anywhere. I was going in a precise direction because Ferrix has a very precise geographical map. But either in that particular place I was either way would leave me in the same place. So it was like, where you want. And that was really cool. I’m like, “Oh, so you can point the camera anywhere.”
When you signed on, how much did Tony Gilroy tell you about your full character arc? What were you involved in or was it kind of like, oh Tony Gilroy? star wars? I will do it.
ARJONA: No, no, no. Tony was very communicative before. I mean COVID kind of happened, so the whole industry kind of shut down, and we were still talking. Tony is a real gentleman, [a] gentleman as a creator, where he’s very involved, I think, with his actors, and is very open to conversations, and constantly telling me what his journey would be like, “And, oh, I changed that up a bit.” He really kept me updated even before the scripts were finished. And the second he released a script, we all got it first, and even now with part two [he] already told me what will happen.
It’s not, it’s not usual. He really wants you to get into that mindset and start getting your gears ready to embark on this new journey. He wants you to think for yourself and think big. I could then have my own ideas and opinions. I would never give an opinion on his writing because why would I? I’d make it worse, man, but it gives you the option. That’s what’s so respectable about him. I am in awe of this man.
were you a big star wars fan before being cast? And I have to know that once you were chosen, was it kind of like an assignment that you had to review all the star wars movies.
ARJONA: It really was. I was a fan. I had watched the movies sporadically and out of order, and I was a fan, but I was uneducated about the world itself. I will be honest with you. And then when I got the job, I was like, I had to do my homework or, to be honest, pretty nervous about what I was going to join and what I was going to do [on]. So I looked at them all chronologically. I also needed to figure out a place, time, and place in history where I was, because I think Bix would know. It was important for me, for her to feel smart, and even if I don’t necessarily need to talk about it, but I wanted her to know it. So it was a must for me.
But I think the cool part of this show is you don’t have to be a star wars fan, and you don’t need to have watched any of the movies to enjoy this show. It’s kind of the honest truth. I think this show really stands on its own. I think the reason I say this and the reason I like it is because it will be great for star wars fans, but it’s also going to be a great show for people who aren’t necessarily so interested star wars. And I hope we can attract more people to this wonderful galaxy that we all love.
Andor premieres September 21 on Disney+ with the first three episodes.
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