In the Star Wars canon, the fight between the Rebellion and the Empire has long been presented as a straight-up black-and-white battle between good and evil -- but part of what makes Gareth Edwards' Rogue One: A Star Wars Story intriguing is the fact that it throws important shades of gray into George Lucas' universe. Rebels aren't just white hat cowboys who ride in to save the day, but scrappers who are willing to do whatever they need to do in order to take down their oppressors. It's an element that star Diego Luna believes is crucial to the film and his character, Cassian Andor, and also explains his most controversial actions in the movie.
The night before sitting down with Diego Luna at the Rogue One press day earlier this month, I had the chance to watch the sequence early in the movie where Cassian Andor is forced to kill an informant who compromises his ability to escape-- and I decided to ask the actor about it. I asked to what degree that action defined who Cassian is as a character, and he fully agreed, saying,
I mean, that is exactly the point. He's a spy. He's an intelligence officer. He's a captain for the Rebellion, and has devoted his life to the cause. And he's willing to do anything -- no matter what! That's why he's so special; that's why he's in charge of this mission -- because he will sacrifice everything if he knows it would save the Rebellion and it would bring freedom to people. It's a true hero. And yes, in war you have to make those choices sometimes, and that's why he's such a lonely character. His best friend is a droid!
As an extension of this, Cassian Andor is actually one of the most complex heroes we've been introduced to in the Star Wars canon. As noted, he's a character who does what is required in the name of the Rebellion's victory over the Empire, and that has clearly taken him down some very dark roads. That being said, he is also far from a mindless drone, and he still knows when it's right or wrong to pull the trigger. Here's hoping that we hear a lot more about him as the new continuity continues to grow with new comics and books.
It is also worth mentioning that Cassian Andor's actions are reflective of another Star Wars hero's controversial action: Han shooting first and killing Greedo. The Special Editions "fixed" it so that the smuggler didn't seem cold-blooded, but fans have long recognized that this misses this point: Han is a guy who is going to do what it takes to survive, and sometimes that means shooting an enemy before they can fire first. It's yet another reason to appreciate Cassian as a character, his part in Rogue One, and existence in the Star Wars universe.
You can watch Diego Luna talk about Cassian Andor's darkest duties in the Rebellion by hitting play on the video below!