Andor will start streaming later this year, and the cast and crew are already doing interviews to promote the show. Actress Fiona Shaw, best known for her roles in Harry Potter as Petunia Dursley, and Carolyn Martens in Killing Eve. On the podcast BBC’s Broadcasting House, Fiona Shaw elaborates on her character in Andor.
Explaining her character’s name is “Maarva,” Shaw goes on to say that it’s “extraordinary to read something which is not about someone living in Dagenham and someone else in Birmingham. I do get to drive a spaceship, which I’d never done before, just about forty years too late, I’d have really enjoyed it”
Shaw also spoke about the political themes of the show, saying that “It’s socially realist, Tony Gilroy has written what he calls a theology of the universe and it is really in-depth; everything matters, a few thousand years before the original Star Wars. So when I was studying the original Star Wars, I realised I was just wasting my time, we were all ‘prequelly’ people… It’s like Ibsen in outer space.”
While Shaw appears to have gotten her dates mixed up – Andor takes place five years before Rogue One, placing it around 5 BBY – the themes that she discusses are worth unpacking.
Shaw references Henrik Ibsen, who is a highly influential Norwegian playwright. His plays, which include The Wild Duck and The Master Builder, are the most frequently performed after William Shakespeare. His works are socially subversive, with many being banned.
Social realism is where art intentionally sets out to depict real life, as a means of social or political commentary. Henrik Isben is considered by many to be the father of social realism, with his plays challenging the accepted social order. For example, his play A Doll’s House, culminates in the character Nora leaving her husband Torvald and three children, which was inconceivable in 1879, the year the play was first performed.
The philosophy of social realism fits perfectly with Star Wars. George Lucas intentionally made Star Wars as a critique of America during the 1970s, with the Vietnam Cong serving as the inspiration for the Ewoks and Richard Nixon being the inspiration for the Emperor.
Audiences will have to wait until August 31st to see how Andor incorporates social realism into its storytelling.
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