Warning: this story contains spoilers for Star Wars: Andor Episodes 1-3. "You start this story the day he made the biggest mistake of his life," says actor Diego Luna in Andor: Uprising Unveiled, an inside look at the three-episode premiere of the Star Wars series. In the episodes (titled "Kassa," "That Would Be Me," and "Reckoning"), Kenari-born thief Cassian Andor (Luna) is wanted for the slayings of two Pre-Mor Authority officers on Morlana One. (The first death was an accident. The second was an execution.) Pursued by the Imperial Syril Karn (Kyle Soller), Deputy Inspector for the Preox-Morlana, Cassian meets Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) — a revolutionary who connects him to the budding Rebel Alliance five years before Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Below, watch the Andor: Uprising Unveiled featurette revealing intel from Luna and Andor series creator Tony Gilroy.
"He's committed this horrible crime," says writer and executive producer Gilroy, returning to the Star Wars universe after Rogue One. "He makes the situation infinitely worse. He's gonna be on the run, he's a fugitive."
Set in the year BBY 5 — half a decade before the Rebel victory during the Battle of Yavin in A New Hope — the Disney+ series goes back further in time to reveal Cassian's origins as Kassa (Antonio Viña) on his homeworld of Kenari.
"We also had a really compelling origin story for him as a child that really meant something about always being displaced," Gilroy notes. "And to start his anger that early, that's gonna be something that he's gonna have to work on and learn to manage."
In a flashback before the start of the Clone Wars, the young Cassian is rescued by Maarva Andor (Fiona Shaw), who spares the orphaned boy from a grim fate on the planet abandoned after an Imperial mining disaster. "We understand his orphan personality," Luna says. "It takes him many years in his life to find that sense of, 'There's something for me to fight for.' Even if it's an idea, not a place."
From the plundered Kenari to Fennix, a salvage planet of scavengers, Andor takes place across the galaxy and at a "very extreme moment in history."
"The Empire is consolidating its power. Corporate planets are being nationalized," Gilroy explains. "At the same time, the Rebellion is just popping up everywhere, in all kinds of iterations."
A key figure of this anti-Imperial revolution is Rael, Ferrix mechanic Bix Caleen's (Adria Arjona) "secret friend" who will soon reveal his connections to Republic senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly).
"The character of Luthen Rael is the glue. He has been very quietly and methodically building up a network in a very secretive way," says Gilroy. Adds Luna, "He will be behind everything."
Concludes Luna, "I don't think Cassian understands what's about to happen, [or] who he's dealing with. How important these will be for things to erupt."
The first three episodes of Star Wars: Andor are now streaming on Disney+, where new episodes premiere on Wednesdays.