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ABC News
ABC News

Star Wars' Andor is a political spy thriller about an immigrant and a powerful woman

Genevieve O’Reilly speaks to ABC News ahead of the premiere of Andor.

Irish-Australian actor Genevieve O'Reilly says coming back to the Star Wars universe in the upcoming Disney+ series Andor was a no-brainer.

"I love the opportunity to invest in a woman who is a leader, a woman who has historically led the rebellion," she says in a zoom interview with ABC News.

O'Reilly is known for her role as Mon Mothma, which she first played in 2005's Revenge of the Sith and reprised in the 2016 film Rogue One. 

"George Lucas wrote this woman in the early 80s," O'Reilly says.

"He put this woman, Mon Mothma, at the centre of the rebellion, leading the rebellion … that's a woman and a female character that I want to lead into."

Genevieve O'Reilly says Andor gives a new understanding of the character of Mon Mothma. (Supplied: Des Willie/Lucasfilm Ltd)

Mothma, a leader in the Galactic Senate and a founder of the Rebel Alliance, has made an indelible mark on pop culture, uttering the now often-memed quote: "Many Bothans died to bring us this information" in 1983's Return of the Jedi.

(Mothma was originally played by Caroline Blakiston in that film).

Star Wars fans have had plenty of content to stew over and new worlds and stories to explore in Obi-Wan Kenobi, the Mandalorian and the Book of Boba Fett. 

Andor differentiates itself from those series, positioning itself as a political spy thriller.

The series will also star Diego Luna, reprising his role as Cassian Andor and exploring his roots before the events of Rogue One.

"It feels separate. It feels like an independent piece of cinema," O'Reilly says.

"It feels like a wonderful, textured piece of a long form narrative that we have come to love in intelligent dramas."

The series has also been described as, at its core, a story about an immigrant and set in a time when the totalitarian Empire is consolidating its power across the galaxy.

In the series' production notes, showrunner Tony Gilroy describes Cassian Andor's life as being distorted and messed up by colonial powers, having lost his community and living with a lot of anger when we meet him in the first episode.

Genevieve O'Reilly also voiced Mon Mothma in the animated series Star Wars: Rebels. (Supplied: Lucasfilm Ltd)

"Even the early Star Wars is about a group of people coming together to fight something that they feel is oppressing them. What Andor does is root that fight in community, in people that feel oppressed by the Empire, by the tentacles of the Empire, how colonialism or the Empire ruptures Indigenous groups," O’Reilly says.

The series will run for two seasons with a total of 24 episodes. Season 1 will stream on Disney+ from September 21. 

"I want to watch women on screen," O'Reilly says.

"I want my daughter and my son to watch women on screen. I want them to watch clever, bright, textured, three-dimensional women on screen.

"I think Tony has given me that gift to be able to work with and to continue to play with that and to wrestle with as we go into working on season two."

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