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Denise Gough Reveals How A Breaking Bad Villain Influenced Her Imperial Character In Andor - Exclusive

While the new "Star Wars" prequel series, "Andor," chronicles the formation of the Rebellion five years before the events of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," there's just as big a focus on the Imperial officers and troopers whom they are on a collision course with. As such, several new members of the evil Empire are introduced, including Imperial officers Dedra Meero and Syril Karn, played by Denise Gough and Kyle Soller, respectively.

"Andor," of course, is named for Cassian Andor (Diego Luna), one of the members of the Rebellion who makes the ultimate sacrifice at the conclusion of "Rogue One" by getting Princess Leia plans to the Death Star that show a major weakness in the Empire's ultimate weapon. Gough — who has appeared in nearly 60 films and TV shows, including the recent Andrew Garfield detective thriller "Under the Banner of Heaven" — is introduced in Episode 4 of "Andor." As her story begins, it becomes immediately apparent that Dedra, who is a supervisor in the Imperial Security Bureau, will have many major obstacles to conquer within the Galactic Empire's male-dominated power structure.

Since Dedra Meero is a new character in "Star Wars" lore, Gough was afforded the unique opportunity to help "Andor" creator Tony Gilroy build the role from scratch. The interesting thing is, Gough didn't rely on any "Star Wars" villains who came before her to help realize the menace in her character, and instead looked to an iconic bad guy from a modern TV series.

Gough looked to Breaking Bad's Gus Fring to help inform Dedra Meero

In an exclusive interview with Looper, Denise Gough admitted she hadn't seen any films or TV series in the "Star Wars" universe before being cast in "Andor." With no real frame of reference to help inform Dedra Meero, Gough found inspiration instead in a role made famous by revered actor Giancarlo Esposito before he starred as Moff Gideon in "The Mandalorian."

"I knew about Darth Vader, obviously, and I knew about Palpatine because I worked with Ian McDiarmid. I knew there was baddies and goodies and the Dark Side and the Light Side, but I wasn't an aficionado of any of this stuff," Gough said. "But I tell you who had a profound effect on me as a villain in TV — Gus Fring from 'Breaking Bad' and that sense of meticulous detail and cleanliness that he has in his actions."

Gough has no regrets about not having seen much of the "Star Wars" universe before joining "Andor." In fact, not having any knowledge of the sprawling saga allowed her to look at the "Andor" material with fresh eyes.

"It was better for me in that I wasn't somebody who was totally influenced by 'Star Wars,' because I approached this like I would approach a new play that I'm working on. ... That's what was so amazing about it," Gough said. "I didn't think it was the right fit for me until I read the first three scripts, and I'm not even in [the episodes]. I was like, 'Oh, no, hang on. This is not science fiction. It's great writing,' and it's 'Star Wars.'"

Also starring Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, and Genevieve O'Reilly, "Andor" is streaming exclusively on Disney+, with new episodes dropping every Wednesday through November 23.