Considered by many to be the best Star Wars movie since the original trilogy, the prequel Rogue One tells the story of how exactly the Rebellion got the plans that enabled them to blow up the Death Star in A New Hope. And while the movie gives us several standout characters, the fact that they all perish on the tropical planet of Scarif makes the potential for future stories somewhat limited.
Unless, of course, there was a prequel to the prequel, which is what we're getting now courtesy of the new Disney+ series Andor, which launches Sept. 21. The show tracks the exploits of intelligence officer Cassian Andor in the five years leading up to the events of Rogue One, and allows star Diego Luna to flesh out the character in ways he'd considered but never thought possible.
"I would be lying if I tell you that I never thought of it," Luna told EW's Star Wars podcast, Dagobah Dispatch. "Obviously I did think of it, and we made so many jokes on set on what the possibilities were of coming back. And obviously one was going on a prequel, but I never thought of it as a real chance."
Lucasfilm Diego Luna in 'Andor'
The reason the actor did not pay it too much mind is that he did not find it productive to dwell on the possibilities. "I didn't find it healthy," says Luna. "I don't like this thing these days that these new formats are bringing, where people are always expecting more. You go into a show, and you get hired to do something, and you are always thinking, 'Oh, I hope there's a second season,' or, 'I hope there's part two.'"
For the man playing Cassian, one looks ahead at the expense of ignoring the moment. "To me, I learned in my life that it's about living the present. It's about enjoying what you're doing. And for the sake of my mental health and clarity, I would say things need to have a beginning and an end for me to understand them and enjoy them and enjoy the ride. Until today I can tell you, I haven't gone into a project with that ambition of hoping it would last longer or it will go to somewhere else than what I have in front of me."
In a world where every scrap of intellectual property is expected to have an infinite lifespan, Luna — even when returning to a character as he is on Andor — prefers for all of his jobs to have clear start and finish lines. "For me, it was pretty clear that Rogue One was a film that I had to enjoy from beginning to end. That at the end, I would be promoting it and then going back to my life and doing my stuff. And that was it. And it's interesting, because then I got offered Andor, but with the same premise, because Andor has a clear ending, which is Rogue One. Once Tony Gilroy came up with the idea of going back five years, there is just five years to tell."
Des Willie/Lucasfilm Ltd. Stellan Skarsgard and Diego Luna in 'Andor'
Fair enough, but couldn't they just keep going backwards? Star Wars loves its prequels. "No, impossible," says Luna. "It would have to be someone else, man. I'm not getting any younger, so it definitely would have to be someone else."
Luna is firm that these two seasons of Andor will be his final time playing the rebel operative who has been known to shoot first and ask questions later. "For me, this is it. It's a beautiful journey now that I have 24 episodes, 24 shorter films, to tell the story of where Cassian comes from and how he got to be the man we met in Rogue One."
In fact, it is that finality that allows the actor to focus on the work at hand. "It does have a beginning and an end. Therefore, I can understand it and I can enjoy the ride and kind of picture the aim we have. I think that's needed, otherwise you're always working to get somewhere else. I don't think that way. All those people and coaches that tell people, 'Oh, picture yourself in 10 years, where you want to be. Project that and work for that.' That's nonsense. Worry about what you're doing today. Do it the best way you can. Enjoy the ride. Make sure you give the most, and you give everything you have. And something cool will happen if you do that. And, if not, the journey was worth it. So it's about now, the moment."
And that moment begins Sept. 21 on Disney+.