This post contains affiliate links and our team will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on the links.
On Monday, May 1st, “Andor” series star Andy Serkis & executive producer Sanne Wohlenberg attended a fan screening of the popular series on the Disney Studios Backlot. The screening featured three episodes from the hit Disney+ Star Wars series, bringing the intense story arc of Narkina 5 front and center along with an exclusive Q&A hosted by Collider’s Steven Weintraub.
Most viewers will remember the time Cassian Andor goes to Star Wars prison. It was this arc from the show which featured Andy Serkis as a fan favorite and a main player in the show’s larger story. The series’ story follows Cassian Andor’s journey to ultimately becoming a spy for the rebel alliance as told in the 2016 Star Wars film “Rogue One”. Before we meet Andor’s character in that film, showrunner Tony Gilroy, along with executive producers Sanne Wohlenberg, and series star Diego Luna wanted audiences to follow the character’s journey from an ordinary man to a hero of the rebellion all in a galaxy far far away.
A major part of the “Andor” series and one which lends to heavy character development for its series lead is the introduction of Andy Serkis, “Kino Loy”, whom Andor meets when he arrives at a strange prison located on “Narkina 5″. It was this performance from Serkis as Kino which lead him to become a Star Wars fan favorite almost instantly. Serkis is no stranger to a galaxy far far away (he previously captured a mo-cap performance for Supreme Leader Snoke in the Star Wars sequel trilogy). When asked about joining the series, he was apprehensive about becoming a part of the Star Wars universe once again.
“When I was approached (about the series) I was quite trepidatious,” Serkis remarked. As he spoke about his hesitations, it was clear his caution to joining the series lay with fans who might think “Kino Loy was associated with Snoke!” If you remember during the last Star Wars trilogy release, Snoke theories were all the rage, it seems Serkis did not want to add more fuel to that fire with his casting in this show.
Ultimately, Serkis shared he had joined the show because of “his respect for Tony Gilroy”, whom “he had respected already as a writer, director”, even before he approached him for the part. It was because of this respect when asked about when he ultimately made the decision to join the show he answered, ” I pretty much knew when I first talked to Tony about being a part of it (the series) “. After discussing his time before and then actually agreeing to join the production, Serkis began to share with the audience in attendance some of his experience on the set of Narkina 5.
Serkis spoke about how acting on the special prison set made for its own unique challenges. “There was nowhere to hide on the set, (there were) bright glaring lights (everywhere)… we were wearing paper clothes… those uniforms were so demoralizing” he humorlessly quipped, he elaborated how the mixture of the unique set and his costume helped him to better play the role in the way he needed to. “It mucked your head around, and really got you into character”, Serkis added.
When asked whether or not he took his costume home from the set he responded, “I use them as my pajamas”, to which he then truthful told about the condition of his costume once production wrapped, as being not being something you would want to take home with you.
The anecdote he appeared most assumed to share was his experience in finding his “sliders” after each take, with the cast working barefoot throughout their scenes, he created a picture of how “after each takes it was fifty people going for their sliders, and out of the fifty trying to remember which ones were yours”
One curious fan asked Serkis about his “headcanon” for what happened to Serkis’s character after his final tragic appearance in the series; this was asked shortly after the moderator asked a similar question about his character’s swimming abilities that could lend to his escape in which Serkis replied, “There is a scene (we haven’t seen) of Kino in his own cell practicing his crawl and the breath stroke”, with this obvious humorous reply being met by laughter from the audience.
In response to the actor’s own Headcanon, he gave a few short sentences about what he thinks Kino did to survive if he could not escape, “He would’ve found other survivors and others who weren’t able to make it out, He would’ve stayed and galvanized everyone together… Other survivors would have had to be there… He would have done all manner of means to gather everyone together to survive.”
Speaking to his own assessment of his character and how these actions would lend over to Kino, Serkis spoke about he viewed Kino’s life before his prison sentence, ” Prior to being in (prison ) he would’ve been someone with a great heart. He elaborated that he would’ve been a family man and a community leader which lent to his actions in helping others on Narkina 5.
With no clear indication of Serkis’s return in season two, he was able to speak further to the end of his character’s story for now along with Wohlenberg, when they spoke about the infamous “I can’t swim scene” being the last scene shot on season one. When they spoke about the final day of filming they both recalled “The diving scene was the end of it, after that, that was the wrap.”
Speaking of episode director Tobey Haynes, Serkis shared that ” he was interested in the nuance of the performance, (for this scene) “. Fans can now know such a heartfelt scene and some of the arguably best acted of the season were given the time and attention that can so clearly be felt on screen. We will have to wait until Season two of “Andor” to see if he survived his tragic fate that we last saw him face.
Executive producer Sanne Wohlenberg also spoke about the set which ultimately became the setting for the prison, Wohlenberg about the set had said how it was “cleverly used and reused” to cut down on the cost of the series. She went on to speak about the budget of the Disney+ show and its unique complications with filming on location.
When later asked about any consideration of the use of “the volume ” in “Andors'” production she replied, “Tony’s writing doesn’t lend itself to being used in the volume…His writing simply doesn’t cater to it”. With other Star Wars Disney+ productions making use of “the volume” in their productions, what seems to set this show apart is not only known for its unique storytelling but its filming location that seems to set it apart from its predecessors.
From its acting to its production design, Andor has set itself apart from the other current Star Wars shows. With the show going into award season with hopefully Emmy nominations on the horizon, one can’t help but think it will be heartfelt conversations like these from Serkis, during this for your consideration season and insight from its executive producer that will exhibit how game-changing this series is for Star Wars.
In the now infamous chant from Kino Loy, there is only “one way out” for “Andor” this award season, that is as a winner in its categories. It was only fitting than at the end of the evening Serkis on his way out of the theater, chanted with fans “one way out, One way out, one way out”
‘Andor’ is now streaming on Disney+