The Strong Women of ‘Andor’ Discuss Their Roles

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Andor doesn’t just bring us back to Cassian’s story and the birth of the Rebellion. It also delivers some powerful female characters making a place for themselves in the Galaxy, whether that is a Senator, a Rebel, and an Imperial supervisor. The women of Andor have powerful stories to tell as well. We sat down with the cast of Andor to talk about the new Disney+ series premiering on September 21.

Genevieve O’Reilly returns to the role of Mon Mothma when she gathers allies for the rebellion. She was excited to step back into the shoes of the Senator and explore her character in a way we haven’t seen before.

GENEVIEVE: We’ve met Mon Mothma before in different iterations, in different versions of the Star Wars storytelling. And each time we’ve met her, we’ve met this kind of composed, regal, dignified woman who often, like with Cassian in Rogue One, she sends people out on a mission.

GENEVIEVE: I think what’s extraordinary about how Tony has written Andor and where he has chosen to begin this story is so very different to where we find Mon Mothma in Rogue One. She is still that very dignified senator. But for the first time, we get to see the woman behind the role. We get to see a private face of Mon Mothma. We get to flesh out not just the senator, not just the would-be leader of a Rebel Alliance, but also the woman.

Mon Mothma
Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Having been part of both the prequels and now spin-offs like Rogue One and Andor, what’s the biggest difference that you see in this interpretation of Mon Mothma through different eras of Star Wars filmmaking?

GENEVIEVE: We meet a woman steeped in Empire, navigating a very male-dominated Empire with a very powerful Emperor Palpatine at the top of it. Previously, in Rogue One or at other times, we’ve seen her surrounded by people with different opinions but with like-minded Rebels. We find her in Andor very alone, living in a world of orthodoxy and construct. We see a woman who has had to navigate her ideals and her beliefs within systems of oppression. We find her in a bit of a gilded cage. And so, what I’m excited for is for us to travel that story with her.

GENEVIEVE:  To journey with her as a woman and finding her voice, like Diego said, reaching for voices that are fighting for similar things. Finding community, finding collaborators to be able to eventually be the leader that she becomes in Rogue One.  So, there’s a journey to travel, and I’m excited for people to hop on that train with us.

Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona)
Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Adria Arjona plays Bix Caleen, a friend of Cassian’s with connections to people in dark places. She runs a shipyard on Ferrix.

Adria, your character Bix is a strong female character. It must have been great bringing that sense of empowerment through the screen. What do you like most about Bix?

ADRIA: Well, I liked a lot of things about Bix. I think she’s fearless.  And she’s bold, yet really deep inside, she’s incredibly loyal and compassionate and cares a little too much for the people around her. And I think that’s sometimes at her own detriment. I think this boldness and powerful thing is sort of like a facade that she puts on for… She almost puts that as a show. But deep down, she cares deeply about the people around her. And I think that’s the part that I love the most about Bix.

Supervisor Dedra Meero
Supervisor Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

Denise Gough plays Dedra Meero, a supervisor of the Imperial Security Bureau. She faces challenges within her division from her male comrades. She knows in her gut that something is brewing, but she has to prove herself against all odds.

Denise, how does your character Dedra Meero fit into the story?

DENISE: So Dedra is an ISB officer. And when we meet her, she’s at the kind of low end of the ladder. And she’s incredibly ambitious and meticulous. And what I love about playing her is that she’s in this very male-dominated world. And she’s seeing around her the way that people are missing what she can see is happening.

DENISE: Dedra and Syril are sort of outsiders within the ISB. She’s clawing her way up the ladder. And I love portraying the effect that power just has on a person, like the danger of that pursuit of power and control, regardless of gender. I mean, I do kind of love that you’re thinking, ‘oh, go girl.’ And then you remember, she’s in a fascist organization. [LAUGH] And so yeah, I’m getting a real thrill being able to play her.

Maarva (Fiona Shaw)
Maarva (Fiona Shaw) in Lucasfilm’s ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.

These wonderful ladies are also joined by Fiona Shaw, who portrays Maarva. Seeing these strong female characters in different aspects of the time period as they navigate a male-dominated galaxy is powerful to watch. See all of these great women when Andor premieres with three episodes on Disney+ on September 21st.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle.

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