Diego Luna says ‘it’s difficult’ to celebrate ‘Andor’ Emmy nominations with the writers’ strike

A serious-looking man with scruffy facial hair with his hand held up to his temple
Diego Luna, star and executive producer of “Andor,” says it’s difficult to celebrate the series’ Emmy nominations amid the ongoing writers’ strike.
(Alex Harper / For The Times)
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Diego Luna was ready to be done with “Star Wars” and his character, Cassian Andor, after “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Understandable, since Cassian does not survive the events of the 2016 film. But “Andor,” the Disney+ prequel series to the “Star Wars” prequel film, won over audiences, including members of the Television Academy, with its revelatory first season. On Wednesday, “Andor” earned eight Emmy nominations, including a coveted nod for drama series alongside “Succession,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Crown,” “House of the Dragon,” “The Last of Us,” “The White Lotus” and “Yellowjackets.”

For Luna, both the star and an executive producer on the series, the entire journey has been a surprise.


“I didn’t know this was possible ... to be doing such a popular job that [at] the same time also represents me so well,” said Luna during a call Wednesday following the announcement. “I grew up in a moment where I was told this was not possible.”

He credits the freedom creatives on the series have had to be true to themselves for why it has captivated both “Star Wars” faithful and those who have no prior affinity for the sprawling intergalactic franchise. One of the most overtly political “Star Wars” installments, the gritty, grounded spy thriller follows Andor’s journey from disaffected everyman to revolutionary willing to die for the cause.

Luna discussed the Emmy nominations for “Andor,” the show’s timely themes and what fans can expect in Season 2. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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July 12, 2023

Felicidades on “Andor’s” nominations. Best drama series is a big one. How are you feeling?

I’m feeling great. I’m feeling great for this. It’s quite special. I think everything that has been happening with the show from the moment it came out — the way people received it, the way the press and the critics received it, what happened with audiences, the fact that we are shooting the second and last season — I can just be really proud and feel fortunate to be part of this show.

The news today, it’s something I think everyone in this show deserves. The team that works behind this show is amazing and believes in this show [in a way] I’ve witnessed few times in my life. The fact that the same team is doing the second season and the way everyone goes to work every day, we’re truly talking about something that we care about, that we feel proud that it represents us. It means a lot because it’s the industry celebrating our show [and] best drama series is a category that [includes] everyone that has done something for the show to exist.


As you mention, “Andor” has been well received from beyond just “Star Wars” fans. Why do you think the show has been able to connect with broader audiences?

I think that the show was meant to be different. Our main goal was to tell a story that could matter today, a relevant story that would be pertinent. And I think [showrunner] Tony Gilroy did great on that. It’s a story that, even though it happens in this galaxy far, far away, is so needed today. It’s a story about people reacting to oppression and finding a voice in community.

I think it’s a story that helps us, as a mirror, to understand the challenges we have in front of us. The beauty is that when you watch this show, you almost forget you’re watching a “Star Wars” show. We were hoping to make a show that will connect profoundly with you because it’s about real stuff. We reminded ourselves every day, “This has to feel real, this has to feel real,” and I think audiences reacted to that. It’s a mature show. It wants to challenge audiences.

And we had freedom. From the moment I was asked by Kathleen Kennedy [president of Lucasfilm] to be part of this, it felt like the voices in this family, the voices of this show, were respected. They invited us to be ourselves, to do a show that would represent us. I think that integrity you can see in the show.

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The two episodes that were recognized for writing (“One Way Out”) and directing (“Rix Road”) — the prison-break episode and the finale — capture moments of uprising where people who have been abused by the system have finally been pushed too far to remain complacent, and they fight back. What do you remember about working on those episodes?


I felt we were talking about our lives, about our present, about our near future. It never felt like we were doing a story that happened in the imagination of just a writer or in a very specific science fiction universe. It felt like we were talking about the world we live in, you know, about the importance of us understanding the strength we can find in community. The themes the series touches on are topics that I would like to be discussing at home and at work. That connection is quite special and contagious. When we were stuck in that prison, it really felt like we were talking about the many prisons we experience.

Diego Luna as Cassian Andor walking in debris
Diego Luna says “Andor” is a “mature show” that “wants to challenge audiences.”
(Des Willie / Lucasfilm Ltd.)

It’s not quite the same, but you can see a bit of a parallel with what’s happening in Hollywood right now between the writers and actors and the major studios. How are you feeling about this moment the industry is facing right now as a creative?

It is the thing that doesn’t let me just go nuts and celebrate the joy of this moment. Because it’s difficult. I just wish and hope the demands get resolved, that this strike ends and that all these families and this industry finds a way to move forward where there’s balance. It’s difficult times, but I do think that it’s a great example of what we are capable of when people actually find a way to unite around something and to raise their voice and think about others.

I really think it’s brave, what the writers are doing, and I just really hope this finds a resolution soon because the people working in this industry deserve that. I go to work every day without my leader and the voice that got me to this next to us. It’s been very difficult for this show to keep going while the strike is happening. But at the same time, we owe that to the show, to the team and to the story we’re telling. But I really hope this gets solved and in the best possible way because it [affects] the lives of so many people.

I have been part of this community my whole life and I really want this to get to an end where we can keep doing our work in un escenario justo [in a fair way].

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Nov. 30, 2022

This all started for you way back with “Rogue One,” which came out in 2016. What is it like for you to reflect on your journey so far?


I didn’t know what to expect and it’s been always surprising to me how far I’ve got, doing what I love doing, playing a character I really believe in and being part of a family I keep learning from. I was ready to be done after “Rogue One.”

The reaction [to Season 1] gave us the opportunity to do the second and last season in an even better way. The integrity that the show has, with this beautiful team around it, it’s just incredible. I didn’t know this was possible, basically, to be doing such a popular job that [at] the same time also represents me so well. I grew up in a moment where I was told this was not possible, in fact. There was no way to see a show that I could be part of that would be so popular, big and at the same time so interesting and different. And today the industry is opening up and there’s room for a show like “Andor” and I’m very, very proud to be part of that.

You’ve mentioned Season 2. Is there anything you can tease about what’s to come?

It is going to be different than Season 1. Now the story has to close. It’s such a diverse story with so many different characters and different layers. It’s so much an ensemble piece and now we have to close all those stories and pay respect to all these amazing characters we met in Season 1. It’s beautiful to work knowing what the ending is. Re-signifying something you already know, or you think you already know. It’s going to be interesting for audiences to watch “Rogue One” right after watching Season 2. They’ll see it from a different perspective, definitely.

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July 12, 2023

What has been the most memorable or rewarding part of working on “Andor” for you?

I think day one of the shooting of Season 2 when I got to set. Obviously, I saw in the preproduction of Season 2 many of the designers. But when I was on set, standing there with the hundreds of people that are working on the ground every day, and the way they received me and the hug I got. We were celebrating Season 1, we were celebrating the fact that we could hug, you know, after shooting Season 1 in the pandemic in the worst times of the confinement ... making sure we understood we were part of a family that was not allowed to have physical contact but that was pretty connected. Seeing all those faces, everyone back [and] so proud to be part of what we did together, that was a beautiful feeling.