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The Untold Truth Of Cassian Andor

In 2016, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" introduced a new band of Rebel scum to the "Star Wars" galaxy. Director Gareth Edwards' sci-fi espionage tale follows Jyn Erso, daughter of an Imperial scientist, as she attempts to steal the plans to a new planet-killing weapon — the Death Star. Along the way, she is joined by a small team of misfits and spies including Bodhi Rook, Chirrut Îmwe, Baze Malbus, K-2SO, and, of course, Cassian Andor.

The success of "Rogue One" — which earned more than a billion dollars at the global box office and a fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes — eventually led to "Andor," a Disney+ prequel series that, as you may have guessed, follows the exploits of a younger Cassian. "Andor" itself has thus far proved to be a critical smash hit, with reviewers praising the show's bold premise and intelligent plotting.

Basically, Cassian Andor is hot stuff in the "Star Wars" galaxy. But who exactly is this roguish Rebel, how did the character come about, and what makes him so compelling to fans of the galaxy far, far away? This is the untold truth of Cassian Andor.

The creation of Cassian Andor

In "Rogue One," Cassian is an officer and spy for the Rebel Alliance who is sent to accompany Jyn Erso on her mission to track down her father, Galen. Earlier versions of the movie's story, however, had Cassian follow some very different paths.

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, "Rogue One" co-writer Gary Whitta revealed a few details about the movie's writing process. According to Whitta, the initial treatment and first full draft revolved around Sergeant Jyn Erso, a Rebel soldier who commands a strike force alongside a "Cassian Andor-type character." Whitta noted that, at that point, Jyn's companion had an entirely different name.

Even when Cassian Andor was properly devised by Whitta and co-writer Chris Weitz, the character was quite different to the one who appears in the finished movie. During an IGN WHF Theater Event in 2020 (via LRM Online), Whitta and Weitz explained that in later iterations of the story, Cassian was an Imperial double agent. "He was a rebel soldier who was secretly working for Krennic," Whitta said. "But then, as he grew closer to Jyn and realized that the Empire had built this weapon, he's like 'I never signed up for this! I didn't sign up for killing planets!'"

This Cassian actually almost made it to the screen, too, as Whitta claimed they shot some of his scenes early on in production. For whatever reason, though, the movie's creative crew opted for a less villainous version of Cassian, leading to the heroic — if ruthless — Rebel spy we all know and love.

Diego Luna

Mexican actor Diego Luna was first announced to be appearing in "Rogue One" back in May 2015, when Variety reported that he had been cast as a "rebel fighter" alongside Felicity Jones, Riz Ahmed, and Ben Mendelsohn. At the time, Luna was arguably best known for his starring role in "Y tu mamá también," Alfonso Cuarón's 2001 Academy Award-nominated road trip film.

On the bonus material of the "Rogue One" home release (via IGN), director Gareth Edwards explains that he didn't want Cassian to be your typical brooding Hollywood action hero. Instead, he wanted the character to be warm and "likable," leading him to cast the soft-spoken Luna in the role. Arguably, he made the right call — Cassian is a unique character in the "Star Wars" galaxy, marked by an affable, almost disarming personality that offers a wild contrast to his cold-blooded willingness to do the Rebel Alliance's dirty work.

It's little wonder, then, that Disney and Lucasfilm decided Luna had more to give to the franchise. He told Variety in 2022 that he was "shocked" to be asked to come back for "Andor," but also thrilled to be given the chance to explore the character and the choices he makes during his career as a spy. He even suggested to Inverse that he'd be willing to return to "Star Wars" in the future. "If I ever get the chance to keep being part of this universe with an objective and an ambition like this," he said, "obviously I'll always work with these people."

A diverse galaxy

When it was released in 2016, "Rogue One" was by far the most diverse "Star Wars" movie ever made. The cast included Felicity Jones, the first female lead in the franchise's history, as well as Chinese actors Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang, and British-Pakistani actor Riz Ahmed. Diego Luna was not the first Latino actor to star in a "Star Wars" movie — that honor goes to Oscar Isaac, who played Poe Dameron in "The Force Awakens" — but he was the first Mexican.

In 2015, Lunda spoke to Indiewire about the importance of inclusion and diversity in "Rogue One." "There is a need to have a modern approach to this world," he told the outlet. "There was a need for a 'Star Wars' film that talked about racial diversity, that rethinks the role of women, that is modern, that has more to do with the world we live in."

This sort of thing clearly pays off, too. In early 2017, shortly after the release of "Rogue One," Luna shared a screencap of a Tumblr post that, in his words, got him "emotional." The young fan in question had taken their father, who had a thick Mexican accent, to see the movie. He was thrilled to notice that Cassian also had an accent, and, learning that "Rogue One" had been both critically and commercially successful sparked up a discussion about other Mexican actors on the drive home. "Representation matters," wrote the Tumblr user.

Battle scars and tequila

"Star Wars" isn't "Star Wars" without at least a little action, and Diego Luna quite literally threw himself into his role during production on "Rogue One." During an interview with E! Online around the time of the movie's release, Luna remembered some of the more physical aspects of his time on set. "All the work with the stunts, it's so cool," he said. "It's like choreography. Killing a stormtrooper it's so nice, but you have to rehearse, right? But that feeling of running and suddenly [shooting] and the guy falls, it's so special. I've dreamed of that my whole life."

Unfortunately, Luna didn't exactly come out of all this unscathed. He told the Mexican edition of Vanity Fair (via Star Wars Underworld) that he sustained a number of injuries during shooting, claiming that his chest still hurt long after the end of production. Most notably, during a scene in which he had to run against a strong wind, Luna damaged his cornea while trying to dislodge some debris from his eye — meaning he had to wear an eyepatch during his last days on set.

So how did he deal with all this punishment? With tequila, of course. Luna told E! Online: "You just have two tequilas and you fall asleep, and when you wake up and you know you're going to go shoot 'Star Wars,' everything works."

Cassian's dark history

Since "Rogue One" is an ensemble movie that revolves around a number of different characters, it doesn't offer all that much detail about Cassian's past. Luckily, the movie's visual dictionary was able to fill many of the gaps and answer a few questions fans might have had about this enigmatic Rebel.

The book reveals that Cassian was born on Fest, an Outer Rim world that previously appeared in a number of video games in the franchise's "Legends" continuity. Cassian's father was killed during a protest against the military expansion of the Old Republic, after which the young breakaway joined up with a number of Separatist-backed Rebel cells. In the Imperial Era, Cassian allied himself with various anarchist groups aimed at disrupting the Empire's rule over the galaxy. He was eventually recruited to the Rebel Alliance by General Draven.

In his capacity as a fully-fledged Rebel, Cassian worked for the Alliance's operations department — a highly dangerous role in which agents experience very short life expectancies. Over the years, Cassian engages in sabotage, espionage, and assassinations against the Empire — until his commanders reassign him to the Rebels' retrieval department and order him to retrieve Jyn Erso from an Imperial labor camp.


K-2SO is Cassian Andor's partner in crime, friend, and personal bodyguard. By the time the events of "Rogue One" roll around, it's implied that Cassian and K-2 have been palling around for a while, and the reprogrammed Imperial droid is highly protective of his meat-bag ally. He's so fond of Cassian, in fact, that the "Rogue One" tie-in novelization reveals that, in his final moments before being destroyed on Scarif, K-2 calms himself by simulating a scenario in which Cassian escapes from the mission alive — even though he knows it's impossible.

Considering his close relationship with Cassian, it might come as some surprise to learn that K-2 won't be appearing in the first season of "Andor." In a 2022 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Diego Luna and "Andor" showrunner Tony Gilroy explained why. "We have five years [before the events in 'Rogue One,']" Luna said. "If he knew K-2 back then there would be no journey to go through." Meanwhile, Gilroy added: "We're starting him so far away from the person who would know how to — or be motivated to — reprogram an Imperial droid."

In the same interview, however, Gilroy revealed that the end of the final episode of "Andor" Season 2 will lead directly into Cassian's first scene in "Rogue One," meaning that the eventual return of K-2SO, in some capacity or another, is more or less inevitable.

Who is Fulcrum?

In the official visual dictionary that accompanied the release of "Rogue One," Cassian's profile lists a series of operational aliases he has used in his long career as a Rebel agent. They are "Willix," a government agent on Ord Mantell; "Aach," a senatorial contact on Darknell; "Joreth Sward," assistant to Imperial Admiral Grendreef; and "Fulcrum," a recruitment agent in the Albarrio sector.

That final alias will doubtless be familiar to "Star Wars" fans. "Fulcrum" is a codename used by several important Rebel spies and informants during the Imperial Era. In "Star Wars: Rebels," it's explained that Fulcrum agents gathered intelligence for the Alliance and recruited new members to the Rebel cause. The codename was concocted by the most famous Fulcrum agent of all – Ahsoka Tano, former padawan to Anakin Skywalker. The only other known Fulcrum agent, aside from Cassian, is Alexsandr Kallus, the former Imperial Security Bureau agent who joins the Rebels in the early stages of the Galactic Civil War.

Little is known about Cassian's time as a Fulcrum agent. We do know that the Albarrio sector was the home of the InterGalactic Banking Clan during the Clone Wars, but it seems entirely possible that "Andor" might shed some more light in that regard.

Cassian's other adventures

Aside from "Rogue One" and "Andor," Cassian has made only a small handful of appearances in "Star Wars" media over the years. He briefly cameoed in the kids' novel "Mighty Chewbacca in the Forest of Fear," for example, and shows up at the beginning of the VR experience "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire." But there's not really much more than that.

One of his most significant stories so far, however, can be found in "Rogue One — Cassian & K-2SO Special," a one-shot comic book published by Marvel Comics in 2017. The comic tells the story of Cassian and K-2's first meeting during one of Cassian's covert operations for the Rebel Alliance. After a brief tussle, Cassian manages to shut down and reprogram the droid, after which K-2 helps aid his escape once the mission goes south.

Sadly, this comic book was written and published long before "Andor" became a possibility. There's a strong possibility that when K-2 is introduced to the series, the events of this comic book will be retconned out of existence.

Let Diego Luna touch Jabba the Hutt

It's a fact known to many that Diego Luna wants to touch Jabba the Hutt. Like, he really wants to touch him. Diego Luna wants to touch Jabba the Hutt so much, in fact, that he brought up this dream (often unprompted) on multiple occasions around the release of "Rogue One." Someone even cut together a montage of every time he was caught on tape saying so. There doesn't appear to be any deeper meaning to this — Luna just thinks Jabba would be cool to touch. As he says in one interview, "I know it sounds gross, but it might be delicious."

Unfortunately, what might possibly have begun as a running gag concocted by a bored actor on a long press tour eventually backfired. In an interview with Jimmy Fallon, Luna explained that people keep gifting him Jabba memorabilia, lamented the refusal of journalists to discuss anything else, and made a heartfelt plea to his young son insisting that he is "not in love" with Jabba the Hutt.

In case you're wondering how this has all turned out, Luna told ComicBook.com in 2022 that he has yet to touch Jabba. "Sadly," he said, "I thought it was gonna happen, but it hasn't happened and I think I'm over it now, you know?" He also insisted that his Jabba phase will not bleed over into the plot of "Andor," telling the outlet, "I think Cassian doesn't have to live with this, this illness I have, you know? [...] Gladly, I'm over it, as I said, like it happened six years ago when I said that, and I've been to the shrink already."

Cassian's fate

The ending of "Rogue One" has become the stuff of legend in the "Star Wars" galaxy. After successfully infiltrating the Imperial base on Scarif and sending the plans for the Death Star to the Rebel Alliance, Jyn's strike team is killed off one by one, until only Cassian and Jyn herself are left alive. In a desperate attempt to prevent the plans from falling into the hands of the Rebels, Grand Moff Tarkin orders the Death Star to open fire on Scarif. Cassian and Jyn are killed by the blast.

It's a heartbreaking ending for these intrepid Rebels, but it wasn't always inevitable. During their interview with Entertainment Weekly, Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz explained that early drafts of "Rogue One" had Cassian and Jyn escape from Scarif at the last moment. "The original instinct was that they should all die," Whitta said. "That's what we always wanted to do. But we never explored it because we were afraid that Disney might not let us do it, that Disney might think it's too dark for a 'Star Wars' movie or for their brand."

Luckily, when Whitta, Weitz, and Gareth Edwards went to Lucasfilm and insisted that the movie's heroes should die, the studio brass agreed. Kathleen Kennedy and her colleagues gave them the green light, and Cassian Andor's fate was sealed.

A rogue's legacy

He may not have been directly mentioned in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, but Cassian's legacy, and that of his Rebel strike team, is nonetheless momentous. For one thing, he's partly responsible for the destruction of the Death Star and the Rebel victory at the Battle of Yavin, which marks the beginning of the end for the Galactic Empire. But there are some subtler references to Cassian's story to be found in the original trilogy's era.

In "Star Wars" #52, a comic book published by Marvel in 2018, a Rebel fleet attempts to escape the clutches of the Empire. After being betrayed by an ally, the Rebels' fighters are trapped inside their own hangars, forcing Han Solo to single-handedly evade the Empire's forces and deliver a crucial message — the hangar doors' fail-safe mechanisms will trigger if the fighters simply fly at them — at high speed. Feeling less than confident about the task at hand, Luke Skywalker climbs into his X-wing and flies straight for the doors, speculating, at the last moment, "This is what Jyn Erso felt like."

Luckily, the gambit pays off and the hangar doors open, allowing the Rebels to take the fight to the Empire. In that moment, Wedge Antilles asks Luke what their squadron's call sign in the coming battle should be, and Luke, remembering Jyn's mission to Scarif, coins the name "Rogue Squadron." It's a fitting commemoration of Cassian and Jyn's sacrifice; Luke even retires the call sign "Rogue One" after the battle, instead taking on "Rogue Leader" for himself.


Back in 2018, Variety reported that Diego Luna was set to reprise his role as Cassian Andor in "Andor," a streaming series made for Disney+. The show was one of many "Star Wars" shows announced by Lucasfilm, as the studio attempted to develop an MCU-style shared universe with shows such as "The Mandalorian," "The Book of Boba Fett," and "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

"Rogue One" co-writer Tony Gilroy, who is otherwise best known for penning the "Bourne" trilogy, was brought on as showrunner, while a number of actors were later announced as cast members, including Stellan Skarsgård, Genevieve O'Reilly, Adria Arjona, and Forest Whitaker. According to Gilroy, "Andor" will be a two-season show, though he told TheWrap that he doesn't expect Season 2 to arrive until 2024.

The first season of "Andor" has enjoyed an impressive critical reception. Inverse described it as "the first 'prestige' show in 'Star Wars' history," while The Verge called the series a "sobering reflection on the human costs of 'Star Wars' never-ending conflicts." Perhaps unsurprisingly, many reviews praised Luna for his "immensely appealing," "captivating," and "suitably charismatic" performance.

The long road to Rogue One

Being a prequel to "Rogue One," it's fair to say that "Andor" will introduce fans to a very different Cassian Andor. "He's a very interesting, dark, wounded person." Luna told GamesRadar. "You're not going to believe that he's capable of what he does in 'Rogue One.'"

Over its 12 episodes, "Andor" will tell not only the story of Cassian's adventures with the Rebel Alliance, but also expand on his childhood. In "Rogue One," Cassian mentions that he's been fighting since he was 6 years old, so it clearly wasn't a happy upbringing. Luna expanded on Cassian's origins in an interview with The Washington Post. "He's a refugee," Luna said. "He's a man forced to migrate and has to leave everything behind. [...] We're talking about marginalized communities. We're talking about [what] oppression looks like."

Luna continued, "I want him to have serious childhood drama. I want him to be angry. I want him to be desperate. I also want to allow him to do some very unpleasant things along the way and yet you still not reject him."

It's going to be a long, tough road for Cassian Andor, then — but in the capable hands of Gilroy and Luna, you can at least be pretty sure that it'll be a truly thrilling ride.