In This Episode
On this episode of X-Ray Vision, Jason Concepcion and Rosie Knight start a prison riot! In the Previously On (3:17), they commemorate Kevin Conroy – the voice of Batman – and mourn his passing before unpacking Black Panther: Wakanda Forever after its opening week, discussing box office numbers, marvel fatigue and more. Then in the Airlock (25:09), Jason and Rosie dive deep (deeep) into Andor episodes 10 and 11, recapping both as well as exploring performance, non-democracy in the Republic era, and the ways in which rebellions and protest movements come together on and off screen. In the Hive Mind (1:15:06), X-Ray Vision is thrilled to welcome Andor creator and Oscar-nominated writer and director Tony Gilroy to discuss his past work, building characters, and the mammoth task of showrunning a Star Wars project.
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Jason Concepcion [AD]
Jason Concepcion Warning this podcast contains spoilers for Andor, including episodes 10 and 11. And. Hello, my name is Jason Concepcion and welcome to X-ray Vision, the Crooked podcast where we dive deep into your favorite shows, movies, comics and pop culture. In this episode in the Previously on Will We commemorating the life and work of Kevin Conroy, the iconic voice of Batman and Bruce Wayne. For millions of fans around the globe, we will be revisiting Black Panther Wakanda forever after its opening week and talking about the the reaction to the film now a week out and just the general topic of Marvel fatigue. Is it happening? What is it? What’s going on? Do we care? In the Airlock, we’re back in space for Andor episodes 10 and 11. And in the Hive Mind, we are absolutely delighted to welcome Andor creator screenwriter, director, showrunner extraordinaire Tony Gilroy to the program. Of course, if you want to jump around, check the show notes for the timestamps. And joining me today, you know who it is. The number one Godzilla writer working in ink and pages today in the digital and paper medium. The number one comics historian, the number one knower of things that are related to horror movies. It’s Rosie Knight.
Rosie Knight Hello. It’s me.
Jason Concepcion Hey, Rosie. How are you?
Rosie Knight Yeah, I’m good. I’m good. I’m happy to be here. I’m. I’m. I’m sad about, you know, Kevin, but I’m happy with you to pay homage to his amazing impact. And, I mean, I’m happy to be talking about Andor again, because this is, as everybody knows, I mean, this is some of the best.
Jason Concepcion It’s amazing.
Rosie Knight Ever put to TV screen book, comic book like this stuff is it’s up there. So I’m really excited and our chat with Tony is good stuff.
Jason Concepcion What a guy. Okay let’s let’s get into it first up on the Previously On the discussion of the impact of Kevin Conroy. So Kevin Conroy passed away on November 10th due to an ongoing illness, intestinal cancer reportedly. And quite simply, he is Batman for millions of people for 400 plus episodes of television, including his, you know, legendary run on Batman the animated series. It’s hard to really overstate the impact he had because you’re talking about a time when. So the Batman movies were coming out, obviously still at this time, but. They had these the animated series felt connected to the, quote unquote, spirit of Batman.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion Of the character in a way that that was unique and it’s just impossible to even see a still from Batman the animated series and not hear that deep, like, baritone voice.
Rosie Knight Yeah. I mean, so often over the years, especially, you know, many years ago pre MCU when superhero movies were like back at the top of the game, again, like most people of a certain age, if you ask them who the best Batman was or who their Batman was, they would say, Kevin Conroy. The animated series was this all encompassing, iconic thing that so many of us experienced, and that for many of us was the most regular Batman that we got. It was on TV. It was easy to follow. You could watch it. Also it was, you know, come came out around the time of Batman Returns. It had a Danny Elfman score. It felt like it was connected to the movies, but it also felt like it was a part to the comics. It adapted everything from, you know, The Dark Knight returns to like, the most silly kind of playful elements of Batman. It also introduced Harlequin, obviously.
Jason Concepcion Huge and huge. Yeah, Impact right there.
Rosie Knight And at the heart of it is, is Kevin Conroy and that performance and for so long Batman the Animated Series, kept Batman alive in the hearts of DC fans and people who love superhero movies and people who don’t, people who just liked that show and love Kevin. And it’s kind of like I would say he’s comparable to you know, Mark Hamill and and Carrie, they really they kept Star Wars alive for a long time when the movies weren’t coming out by doing cons and being present and having cameos and connecting with fans and keeping that conversation going and that love going. And Kevin was like that. And recently he’d actually written a comic in the DC Pride Anthology that we talked about with Danny Fernandez called Finding Batman, which is about how growing up as a gay teenager was incredibly hard, and how his journey to Batman and becoming Batman reflects that part of his life. It’s absolutely amazing. DC Actually put it up for free for people to read so you can read it right now. And it’s just, yeah, what an unbelievable loss. And I’m just really one of the things I think is really special is Kevin actually got to play a future version of Batman in the live action CW stuff recently. So I love that we got to see that Batman become you know, that the Kevin’s face Batman, rather than just his his incredible voice but yeah, never been a better time to go back and watch Batman the animated series, which is such a joy and still just one of the best TV shows ever made.
Jason Concepcion Connor Goldsmith, who hosts the Unbelievable Cerebral Cast, one of the one of the most indelible, unique and fun podcasts about comics, specifically the X-Men that is out there. And it’s absolutely vibrant with a really fun community. Tweeted the other day It’s been lovely to see the whole comics Internet coming together to celebrate Kevin Conroy, apart from his unrivaled work as a voice actor, which will be immortal. I’m so sad that such an important gay elder is gone. He lived through so much and achieved so much. I’m grateful was such an important part of his story.
Rosie Knight Just wonderful.
Jason Concepcion Kevin Conroy, you will be missed. All right. We’re a week plus away from Black Panther Wakanda Forever. And I’ve been interested to see the just to take in the reaction and specifically the reaction, you know, I did this I did a guest spot on the Recode podcast with Peter Kafka for Vox, and he was asking me about Marvel fatigue, and I wanted to talk to you about it, Rosie, because he was like, Well, you know, what do you think about Marvel fatigue? Some people are tired of it. They’re waiting for people to be tired of it. What do you think’s going on? And it’s been interesting. It’s, you know, as Phase four has kicked off, it has been really it’s been a huge topic. And I think there’s various reasons for that. And first of all, with regards to Marvel fatigue, it will happen. If it’s not happening now, people will get people like, you know, everything that is popular will at some point become less popular and stop happening. There’s no there’s no reason to imagine that the Marvel movies will remain the top box office breaking movies in the world for the rest of our lives, like they will fall off at some point. But I think what’s interesting to me is, you know, having come from a writing background is somewhat of a criticism background, is I think a lot of what’s happening is. As Marvel was going on its run, all the way up through Endgame, I think that there were a lot of critics and people who like movies generally just fan of movies generally who thought, Oh shit, is this what movies are going to be now? And we’re not particularly maybe they like two or three of the MCU movies. We’re not particularly fans of the movies, which is absolutely fine. You like what you like and like what you don’t like. But but if I can I can also understand if I was a critic who didn’t like Marvel movies, I would be like, Shit, am I out of a job if I don’t? And I think now that phase four has come out and it, you know, didn’t have the kind of drive, narrative drive, I think the fact that.
Rosie Knight It’s not as cohesive as the other phases.
Jason Concepcion Is somewhat disparate. You know, we’re telling different stories about hidden societies. And there’s no there has been no central big bad to kind of shoot for over the course of the phase. I think that I think that a lot of this is people just feeling more comfortable now to say, you know what, I don’t like Marvel movies. Where, where in the past, it would have been like you’d get you’d potentially get an email from your editor. Like, too bad.
Rosie Knight Sorry. No, I’m just saying I’m not confirming or denying if that’s the case. But I will say it sounds familiar. I’m saying that I think that is realistic. And I think there’s two big things here, right. One, is that as comic book fans, as people who lived through the nineties boom when comic books were everywhere, we’ve actually seen this before. The idea of fatigue on comics or comics being the biggest thing in the world, and they’re everywhere. And they’re talking about Death of Superman on the News. And there’s 500 people queuing up outside a shop to meet Rob Liefeld. You know, we’ve we’ve lived through that. We’ve already lived through oh, this thing we love is now the most important thing in the world. Two, in the early 2000, to a certain extent. Spider-Man. X-Men. Yeah. So we know that these things are cyclical. If people are tired of Marvel, that’s like you said, it’s to be expected. And I think the other thing that you can’t kind of count out about the way that the conversation is going, especially on a critical lens, because, you know, people have to watch all these things, multiple movies and year I.
Jason Concepcion Yeah, that’s a big part of it.
Rosie Knight Disney Plus.
Jason Concepcion The critical texture.
Rosie Knight I think that Disney Plus has been so influential for better and worse. We love it. I mean Wandavision to me.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight Unbelievable. Like Jonathan Majors’ Kang. These are things, these are stories I never thought I would get to see. And if we weren’t living in an age where, you know, I’ll put it in brackets content because I don’t really like calling this stuff that but like content is king you know, we probably wouldn’t be getting a story based on a weird Scarlet Witch and Vision miniseries, or we wouldn’t be venturing into the world of Kang if we hadn’t already spent ten years digging into some of the weirder parts of Marvel. But, it to me, is very understandable that certain people might be overwhelmed or tiring.
Jason Concepcion Absolutely
Rosie Knight Even quicker because of the fact that there are so many of these things to take note of. There are multiple weekly shows, and if you add Star Wars into it, then you’re getting and then you add all the other things Disney owns, Pixar, you know, there’s multiple different versions. I will personally say the thing I think that is positive about this for people who don’t like it or who do like it. Phase four to me, is about a certain level of choice. There’s a lot of.
Jason Concepcion I agree with you. I completely agree with you.
Rosie Knight For all different kinds of people. Now, look, we I always I love indie movies, I love world cinema. I love horror, I love B-movies, I love Fantasia Fest. I always want to see more kinds of movies. So I understand that celebrating Disney for a certain amount of variety is like cheering on a monopoly. But I will say, I think I think Phase four is actually positive that not it’s not this huge cultural behemoth that is everyone has to like every movie. I actually think it’s great that you can like love Eternals and not like Doctor Strange. I like both of them just because I really like Doctor Strange. But I think the fact that there’s more of this stuff and people can have varying degrees of conversation. Also, I am very much a person who says, if you don’t like it, just just that’s fine. Like you can actually just not like it. And there’s been a lot of voices who, like you said, of feeling more comfortable. Does that relate to how people actually feel about Marvel movies? I don’t necessarily think so. I mean, just to compare numbers in the opening weekend of Black Panther, Wakanda Forever, arguably probably the most anticipated movie of the year. On a pop culture level.
Jason Concepcion Sure agreed.
Rosie Knight That made 180 million domestic, 330 million worldwide in about three or four days. That is almost dollar for dollar. The same amount that Black Adam made in like almost a month.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight So it’s there’s a fit. There might be a critical fatigue. I know that there’s definitely general TV watchers who aren’t keeping up with every Marvel show. But I don’t necessarily know that Marvel fatigue means anything kind of dire for the future of these stories.
Jason Concepcion I completely agree. I mean, which is interesting, which is why I want to raise it, because whenever the question is asked or whenever I’m asked that or whenever I hear that conversation, it’s always framed as, you know, almost like when is this? Is this over now? Is this whole thing over? And I and I think that we’ve gotten to a point where to pick up on something you’re talking about, whether Disney intended this or not. We’ve hit a point now with the movies, with the Disney plus offerings, where it’s kind of like, okay, what kind of Marvel do you like? Do you like spy shit? Do you like do you like alien shit?
Rosie Knight Do you like cosmic shit?
Jason Concepcion Do you like your shit? Right? Do you want funny stuff? Do you want. Yeah. And it’s so I. Listen, I’m sure that Disney wants you to watch every single fucking show. Every single fucking movie.
Rosie Knight Disclaimer. We are watching them all.
Jason Concepcion We. We are those people like we are, you know, we’re in the tank for it, you know, because this is what we have loved.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion But I think we’ve also reached a point where this popularity may wax and wane. But.
Rosie Knight Mhm.
Jason Concepcion As a, as a proposition, these movies and shows aren’t really going to go anywhere. Like the budgets may go up and budgets may go up and down, they may release less movies per year, they may release less shows per year, which I think is probably possible.
Rosie Knight Will release more and more and more.
Jason Concepcion Yeah. Or they make more and more animated, whatever it is. But this stuff is here, like all this this genre is here now and it’s, you know, not going anywhere for the foreseeable future, although, you know, the density and the cadence of them may change.
Rosie Knight And also like this is something that I’ve talked about with you guys, but like. These patterns have been seen before, right? Like the X-Men movies, x1x2. People loved those. Sam Raimi, Spider-Man one and two. They loved them. Then you had like Tim Story’s Fantastic Four, which I think are very funny, even though they disrespected Galactus. So I’ve never forgiven that in the second one. But like. I feel like movies like Morbius, like there’s always going to be a dilution of quality when something becomes so saturated. So, that’s going to happen. And the real truth is that until a new movie comes out that has almost 100 years of source material for people to be like, Oh, I make one of those, too. These movies are going to keep being here. It’s like whenever I try and think about like, you know, action movies, the trends, the blockbusters, the things that have happened before. It’s hard to predict what that kind of zeitgeisty shift thing could be.
Jason Concepcion It’s unpredictable.
Rosie Knight It’s unpredictable.
Jason Concepcion This is when I was working at the ringer. We’d been binge mode and Game of Thrones was coming to an end. Like a major part of the conversation was monoculture. And is this the end of monoculture with the end of Game of Thrones? Will there ever be anything that captures the imagination like this? And similarly to, you know, Endgame was coming on the heels of the end of Game of Thrones. It was like this feeling of, Oh, have we exited the era of this huge, you know, piece of cultural content that everybody takes part in? And no one, again, is, as you said, no one can predict what that thing is going to be. But if there’s one thing I’m sure of is that there will be another thing like that again and again and again, because we crave people, human beings crave it. We crave this massive story that we can all talk about with our friends or argue about and and say, Did you notice this? I noticed this.
Rosie Knight The whole world is based on stories.
Jason Concepcion That will continue.
Rosie Knight Culture. Human culture has been based on stories from the traditions of oral storytelling to religious texts to, you know, comic books. Like I always remember I went to this unbelievable is like one of the best days of my life, still. It was like a Mike Carey how to make comics.
Jason Concepcion Mike Carey.
Rosie Knight Little class.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight And it was so cool. And I love the stuff, yeah, with Apocalypse so I’m super into it.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight And, and he said, you know, if somebody just found like an entire run of the X-Men comics in 500 years, they would probably think that was like our Odyssey or some kind of real.
Jason Concepcion Absolutely.
Rosie Knight Folklore that shaped. That is 50,000 plus issues. You know, it’s it’s decades of human storytelling. It’s analogous, it’s not real, but stories really matter. And whether it’s comic book stories, whether it’s adaptations of Michael Crichton books like Jurassic Park, whether it’s bio biographical films, whatever, that next thing is going to be that kind of blows up. The world is going to be about stories. And like you said, we’re always going to find something else, especially with the Internet, because that allows us to connect over these things in a way that was never possible for. And that’s part of why we want the communal storytelling, the water cooler moments of Game of Thrones.
Jason Concepcion Okay. Up next, we return to a galaxy far, far away to discuss Andor episodes 10 and 11.
Jason Concepcion <AD>.
Jason Concepcion Up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up, up. Can you swim? Can you swim, Rosie?
Rosie Knight I can swim, but I am very scared of large swaths of water. So I was really having a lot of empathy.
Jason Concepcion For our good friend Kino Loy. Well, we are stepping off of the balcony of the prison, the industrial prison of Nakina 5, into the water. And we’re swimming away to talk about Andor episodes 10 and 11. Episode 10 titled One Way Out, written by Beau Willimon and directed by Toby Haynes. In episode 11, Daughter of Ferrix, written by Tony Gilroy and directed by Benjamin Caron we start with Andor 10.
Rosie Knight Wow.
Jason Concepcion Ulaf’s body is wheeled out of the facility after he has been euthanized by the medical technician there. Cassian tells Kino that listen, we got to make our move now. They can’t wait. They you know, they’re we’re not leaving here. You can see that now, can’t you? And Cassian tells him they don’t have enough guards to watch us. They know it. They’re scared of us. We need to act. When they bring a new person down to replace Ulaf, that’s when we have to move. Cassian and Kino return to the barracks. They tell the men that they what they know. There’s been a massacre on 2. Then Ulaf was euthanized. And the bottom line is, we’re not leaving this place. It doesn’t matter what your sentence says, doesn’t matter how many ships you have left. You’re going to die here.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion Or some other place that’s exactly like this.
Rosie Knight Yeah. And there’s a there’s a great moment where Cassian says it and they kind of they are all and they try and explain away. But then Kino realizes in that moment that he has to be the one to tell them. And he’s like, It’s true, but nobody’s getting out. And that’s their boss. That’s the man who steered them through. And so they know in that moment.
Jason Concepcion What a fucking great Andy Serkis you just did.
Rosie Knight Oh, thank you.
Jason Concepcion A little Andy, Andy Serkis.
Rosie Knight I love Andy’s Serkis. I love Andy Serkis. I wish I had this. I hope this will get him. I hope that this will get him more non CG roles because I feel like he’s all he’s selling it in this he’s just.
Jason Concepcion Oh my God.
Rosie Knight Absolutley delivering at every level. But yeah, thank you. That’s my secret talent.
Jason Concepcion He was he’s a legitimately mesmerizing actor on screen, you know, obviously, you know, you know, connected to his CG work, his mocap work. But like a great actor, it is. He’s mesmerizing in this. Yeah. And back at ISP.
Rosie Knight Boo.
Jason Concepcion Boo. Dedra has been tracking Anto Kreegyr, this rebel leader, and he’s there waiting for him to take this bait that they’ve laid out there. And he’s taken the bait. So the ISB is on the on the track, right. Anto Kreegyr, they’re watching him. Next morning, Kino Loy gets the men ready for what they’re going to have to face that day. They go through the motions as if it’s a normal shift and they’re just waiting for the moment that the guards bring Ulaf’s replacement down. On Coruscant, Mothma and Tay meet the gangster Davos. He, he’s there to hear what it is that Mothma and Tay need. Basically, they need money laundering.
Rosie Knight Mm hmm.
Jason Concepcion Davos sees through this kind of, like, cover story that they’re spinning about a charitable organization that just needs, you know, liquidity. They need an injection of cash to carry on with their charitable works. He sees through this, he says, listen, I’ll do a loan you some 400,000 credits, but I don’t want anything in return.
Rosie Knight Mm hmm.
Jason Concepcion You just owe me. Don’t worry about it. Like, you know, some kind of schedule to pay back. You just will owe me a favor. And Mothma is like, No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I don’t want to owe a gangster a favor. No, like, we’ll just work something out, like, monetarily. And Davos is like, no. Well, instead of that, what about this? Introduce my son to your daughter. He wants to. He wants to set up a love match. He says two young people, attractive and privileged Chandrilian citizens. Mothma is aghast. But Davos is like, Take it or leave it. Mothma declines. Kleya, Luthen’s assistant, at the shop on Coruscant brings news that there are marks on a fountain out in the town, which is like a sign that there’s a meeting to be set up. But she doesn’t like the timing of this, could be a trap. Back on Narkina 5, the guards bring the new man down. Cassian and the rest of the prisoners spring into action. And long story short, everybody fucking gets out. It is pulse pounding. You know, Kino gives this incredible speech. He gets he gets the men all chanting one way out, one way out.
Rosie Knight And he has to, he has this moment again. It’s this thing of they get to the control room, he takes over the speaker and Cassian’s like it has to be you.
Jason Concepcion Yeah, it has to be you.
Rosie Knight He has to coach him. He’s like, you’ve been doing this. You’ve been. Four 500 shifts, 2000 shifts. You’ve been the one whose voice has sparked them into action, and you have to do it now. And they turn off all the power. And it is just it’s a prison breakout. They get blasters, they are taken down. And guess what? Cassiem was right. They did not have enough guards. This is running on a very, I would say, tight ship, but cheap. The empire is cheap. And they’ve been using the floors and the electrocution to not have to put money into actually staffing this prison.
Jason Concepcion When Cassian is laying that all out to Kino, he he says and I think it’s a fascinating thing to think about how how brutality is actually a an indicator of of fear and weakness. He says, listen, if they had enough, if they weren’t scared of us, why? Why wouldn’t they just, you know, keep everybody alive? Then they need people to build stuff.
Rosie Knight They need people to build stuff, Why would they keep them alive?
Jason Concepcion They’re terrified. That’s why they wiped out the entire floor of 2. Because they’re scared and they know that they can’t handle this if we all rise up. And then there’s this. It’s a small moment, but it was so powerful when you’re seeing these prisoners, you know, fighting their way to the top of the facility, rampaging through it and killing guards and, you know, moving to the top, taking their revenge. There is a small scene of these guards, like cowering in like a closet somewhere, just terrified. And it was it really kind of close the loop on that thing that Cassian was saying up front, which was they’re scared of us. Yes, they’re brutal. But it’s their brutal methods that let you know that they’re scared.
Rosie Knight Yeah. Yeah. And I want to say as well, this is like another we talked about this a lot when we were talking about this arc on Narkina 5. But like this is a show where Tony Gilroy has put you in the position of empathizing with prisoners, prisoners who are doing labor, like prisoners do every day in this country. And he is then getting you to support them when they riot against their conditions and against the fact it is.
Jason Concepcion When is it okay?
Rosie Knight In an unjust system? He is saying you agree with this. You there is no question that what you are watching is right. And I just think that is so powerful in the context of the conversations that we have about the the prison industrial complex. And it was this is a very special episode of all of the and not unlike the Don’t Do Drugs, kind of very special episode way But I do love those too. But like.
Jason Concepcion I mean, it is after all the build up of.
Rosie Knight This arc is unbelievable.
Jason Concepcion In particular the last two, the previous two episodes, you know. Post-Aldani, Cassian’s arrest on the vacation world of Nyamos, kind of like, you know, the the trumped up charges by which he is arrested. This is such a cathartic episode because. You’re absolutely right. It’s it’s it’s. Put you in their shoes to such a degree that you understand that this is right.
Rosie Knight And we know that. Right? Right. There’s this suggestion. This is what they need to do. This is an unjust system that has imprisoned them so their bodies can be exploited for labor and they’re never going to leave if they don’t do this. It’s is heartbreaking and amazing. And Andy Serkis gives this unbelievable performance as this kind of reluctant leader turned man who knows that this is like the one good thing he has been complicit in this system for so long.
Jason Concepcion Absolutely.
Rosie Knight And he knows this is one thing he can do. It’s not a true complicity because he didn’t have a choice. But.
Jason Concepcion Right.
Rosie Knight In his role as being the the floor manager, every day one of his crews was getting electrocuted. You know.
Jason Concepcion He plays the game.
Rosie Knight To keep them in line. Exactly.
Jason Concepcion People will play the game for a long time until it’s revealed that actually there’s no.
Rosie Knight The game’s rigged.
Jason Concepcion End to the game, you know? Yeah. That’s even the rules that are laid out for you are fake. The men fight their way to the top, and they find themselves, you know, high above a body of water. And men are hurling themselves off into the water. They’re swimming away.
Rosie Knight Screaming one way out.
Jason Concepcion Yeah, one way out. And Cassian turns to Kino and is let’s go, let’s jump. And Kino is just like I can’t I can’t swim. And it is a heartbreaking moment. Now, we don’t know what happens.
Rosie Knight We don’t.
Jason Concepcion But I think we’re led to believe, and certainly because of episode 11, we are led to believe that Kino does not make.
Rosie Knight Yeah. And something really important. And like, if you’re someone who loved one, we used to do really deep dove Easter egg kind of breakdowns and stuff. Episode ten is the first episode where we get some little things that are a little bit more than like visual nods. So something very interesting here is that when they show the prison and out to the bays where the ships were docked, people are throwing themselves out and swimming away. It’s this it’s the shape of an imperial logo as we know them now, you know. So there’s these little touches that are. Yeah, just unbelievable. And it’s kind of this really interesting visual way of showing these people freeing themselves from the grips of the empire like and the imperial this imperial prison on 1905. So for R.P. Kino, you are a real one.
Jason Concepcion Yeah. I mean, there’s a there’s a there’s a quick moment in Luthen’s shop where.
Rosie Knight I was going to say.
Jason Concepcion Where you see Padme’s headpiece.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion The her headdress, their ceremonial headdress that she wears.
Rosie Knight That’s the first.
Jason Concepcion Prequels. And it is
Rosie Knight Like first Easter egg that we that we have in this, I think.
Jason Concepcion And it’s an Easter egg. But it’s like it is emblematic of how ruthless the world and this system is. Now, here is something that is a hallmark of, you know, the culture of Naboo. And of a beloved leader of that of that place. And her regalia is just like up for sale now.
Rosie Knight 15 years later. Not even. Wouldn’t that be in a museum?
Jason Concepcion Just go buy it. Yeah. No, not even to forget. Even in a museum.
Rosie Knight They don’t want people to remember her.
Jason Concepcion This is. Yeah. This is just for private collectors, for rich people. It is just up for the highest bidder. If you want it, just walk into Luthen’s and buy it. It is. It’s a heartbreaking display of what has happened to a lot of galaxy. Luthen goes to this meeting. It’s in some industrial kind of like area of course aren’t far away and Luthen’s contact is Lonnie, one of the ISB investigators that has been working closely with Dedra. He has been apparently steadily burrowing into the ISB at Luthen’s behest, steadily, you know, providing information to Luthen, who in turn has been, we are guessing, holding the man’s family hostage somehow, or at least threatening. I don’t know if he’s holding.
Rosie Knight The knowledge.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight He knows a lot about this man’s family and there is a lot of implied threats.
Jason Concepcion Yes.
Rosie Knight In what he is saying to to Lonnie. And it’s unclear. It doesn’t seem like Luthen thinks money’s a particularly good person. So it’s unclear if this is.
Jason Concepcion He’s just a valuable.
Rosie Knight Valuable asset. I don’t think this is a rebel who did a great job but weaseling his way in. I think this is an ISB agent that Luthen is exploiting. And yes, he’s about to find out something very useful. So like good for him.
Jason Concepcion Right. So Luthen, of course, has been, you know, front and center for Dedra’s investigation into Anto Kreegyr and the spread of of imperial kind of contraband stolen by rebels across the galaxy. He tells Luthen that, okay, Dedra is on Kreegyr, and they know that Kreegyr is planning a raid on Spellhouse and the ISP is watching. They want him to read it because they’re going to sweep up that entire network. And he’s like, okay, so I’ve given you this and I want out. That’s it. I’m done. It’s getting too dangerous. Like, let me out. And Luthen, he’s like, I have sacrificed so much for this, you know, like what have you sacrificed.
Rosie Knight If you.
Jason Concepcion And Luthen gives one of the greatest speech in Star Wars ever, ever, ever. He just says, what have I sacrificed? And he then goes on a monologue about I’ve you know, I’ve sacrificed my life. I’ve sacra, I’m sacrificing right now everything that I have for a sunrise that I’m never going to see. I’ve sacrificed my honor.
Rosie Knight Yeah. Even acknowledging that he has become a man who would threaten.
Jason Concepcion A ruthless.
Rosie Knight Someone’s family.
Jason Concepcion Spy master. Yes.
Rosie Knight He has become the thing that he hates. The thing he’s trying to take down is, you know, his morals, his values, everything gone. And he’s basically living the worst kind of life in the hope that someone in the future can have a better life. And it’s this is a really that line you said about was like, you know, I sacrificed everything. I’ve sacrificed hope for like a a sunrise I’ll never see, you know, that such great foreshadowing of that moment. In Rogue One at the end, when Cassian and Jen watch the sun, it looks like the sun’s coming up before everything kind of explodes. And yeah, that it’s so funny because that Serkis has really had two of my favorite lines in this whole show, which is the still my favorite is the never more than 12, about the gods.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight But in episode 10, when he says I can’t swim, that is just like heartbreaking. And you think that nothing can, like, outdo that performance wise. And then Stellan Skarsgard just comes through with the, like, grimmest, realist, most heartbreaking speech about the realities and toil that it takes to make concrete change.
Jason Concepcion And also so clear eyed and understanding that the game he is playing is so dangerous that there’s no way he lives. No, he’s he’s a I’m not going to live through this.
Rosie Knight And it takes a long time. He’s doing something that might happen 20 years from now. He sees it that things could change.
Jason Concepcion And it, and it ties back to, it’s the smallest moment in Return of the Jedi, when Mon Mothma is is talking about the raid on Andor what they have to do, how they got these plans. And she says, you know, the many Bostons died to bring us this information. And it was like this window into this, like, bottomless tragedy that had to had to take place in order to deliver this information to the to the rebel pilots and their leaders. And here we’re getting you know, we’re looks like we’re going through that window and seeing the the the smallest piece of that story, a version of that story where all these spies of, like, lay down their lives to overturn the empire. I mean, it’s thrilling. It was it was just an it’s incredible monologue. It just was like, brings you to the edge of your seat.
Rosie Knight Yeah. This episode is just such a powerhouse turn for everyone involved. The writers, the directors, the cast. It’s it’s so good. And Diego does such a brilliant job the entire way through. He essentially has to, he’s somebody having an awakening of what needs to be done. Still, not necessarily for the right reasons. He just wants to get back, see his family, and get his money and escape. He is not all in on the rebellion, but at the same time.
Jason Concepcion He hates them.
Rosie Knight He hates them.
Jason Concepcion He hates them also.
Rosie Knight He knows enough about what is right and wrong to know that he didn’t just try and escape himself. He wanted everyone in the prison to get out. He wanted everyone to be freed. He wanted Kino to become the leader he could be. We’re seeing the awakening of this angry, furious man that we meet in Rogue One. And this is very special. I love how much this series is also setting up. Remember how annoying Jen is to everyone. She’s like, All you need is hope. All rebellions need hope. Everyone’s like, Actually, no. Like, rebellions need a lot more than that. And it’s been like, really fucking hard to, like, make this happen. And I love how much context and kind of emotional heft this is bringing. I’m waiting. Every week I watch this. I want to watch Rogue One again. But I’m waiting till the finale next week.
Jason Concepcion I’d say the same exact. I feel the same exact way. And I have or I too have been holding off on watching it. So that brings us to episode 11, Daughter of Ferrix. After their escape from the prison, Cassian Andor and future Sergeant Melshi, who we will see in Rogue One as one of the one of the many soldiers that gave their lives in the raid on on Scarif cling to the side of a cliff there trying to evade imperial patrols. And eventually the patrol goes away and they haul themselves up. But it just gives you a taste of the many, many risks that they are taking and continue to take as they flee from the prison on Narkina 5. Meanwhile, on Ferrix we learn that Maarva has passed, Andor’s adopted mother.
Rosie Knight Kidnapper.
Jason Concepcion He is, kidnaper also, which we should talk about and we will talk about later.
Rosie Knight You know what? She died.
Jason Concepcion And, and, I mean, it’s you know what, though? It is one thing I’ve been thinking about in this as we’ve been watching this like early days of the fight against the empire kind of unfold, is the fact that what we’re kind of what, you know, there is a Senate, there’s a galactic Senate. Right. But that I think we also shouldn’t assume, even though we only know about the governments of a few of these places, that it’s we’re talking about democracies. It’s like it’s a Senate made up of, you know, mainly like nobles, royal houses, corporate intersts.
Rosie Knight Corrupt people, as well.
Jason Concepcion Yeah. Like planets that are completely run by corporations, like, you know.
Rosie Knight Nice to.
Jason Concepcion God love them. But you’re talking about like a royal lineage. Like this is there is no actual democracy on a planet to planet level. And it’s one of like because that’s one of the one of the things I’ve been thinking about is other than some of the flashbacks on fabrics.
Rosie Knight Mm hmm.
Jason Concepcion You don’t see protests like mass protests against the empire. I know that the Empire can blow up your fucking planet. I get it. But they’re not everywhere at once. And you just don’t see this kind of like mass uprising against the empire and part of, you know. And I guess I’ve just been like asking myself why. And I think part of where I’ve come to is part of the reason why is. The governments that the empire supplanted were not in and of themselves the kind of governments that you could really protect safely against all.
Rosie Knight Definitely. I agree. And I think that also the thing that’s been really interesting to see about this and is very real to to real world struggle is to get to that place where you have the million people marching against some kind of protest. You have to have multiple different people all around the world, the galaxy, the country.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Rosie Knight These little hubs of people who want to make where they live better, who want to make things better. And I think that and that can come together and coalesce that in a moment and a movement. But I think that kind of the interesting thing about about Maarva is like everyone, I would say, like the model of pretty much about every character in this show is like they’re just trying their best. Like, she she made a bad decision. But in the moment, it was the decision that she thought was best. And for Cassian kind of ended up being a good thing, even though I do think there’s more to dig into. Well.
Jason Concepcion What I bring up I bring up the democracy angle and the lack of protest angle to say and not in any kind of like, whataboutism way, that we the republic was clearly imperfect. Look at Maarva and, you know, and her stealing a child from a planet because of, you know, the depredations of some kind of corporate power that was working under the Egis of the Republic on this planet. But. It was better than the empire. And we have yet to really dig into other than those early episodes of this series. Exactly. How fucked up. Yeah. The Republic. Like, we don’t actually know exactly how fucked up the Republic was. And some like and as Saul, super producer, Saul is noting, the the kind of, uh, the. The early episodes of Tales of the Jedi, in which we see like Count Dooku and and quite on jinn take down a corrupt center. We. We have yet to really get a real taste of feels like Disney plus offerings.
Rosie Knight It feels like something that they’re leaning into that they want to get to.
Jason Concepcion I agree.
Rosie Knight That they want to talk about. I mean, also, if we look at every character in Star Wars they’ve gone against usually, yeah, they’re obviously against the empire. The empire is evil. They all like Nazis like that’s bad.
Jason Concepcion I mean, legitimately they are terrible.
Rosie Knight Legitimately Nazis, genocidal.
Jason Concepcion Either blowing up entire planets off.
Rosie Knight A lot of our heroes will have that moment where they also everyone from Amidala, Qui-gon Jinn, Obi-Wan, Luke, you know, even like Ram Finn. Finn especially obviously is a somebody who left stormtroopers. But they will also have that moment where they turn against the other side, because they know that that’s also not an immediate solution. Like the solution has to come from the people rather than the republic or the empire or imperialism.
Jason Concepcion Well, I mean the imperfect. Again, I think that one of the things that Andor brings forth is that that one of the primary differences between the empire and the republic is while the republic maybe would prey on a planet and destroy its ecosystem like a bit at a time, the Empire, just do it all at once like that.
Rosie Knight And make a point.
Jason Concepcion Right. And that and while they’re both and that’s not a small distinction, but that’s a real that’s an actually that’s like a major difference. Okay. Continuing. So back on Ferrix, Maarva has passed. Bea is absolutely fucking distraught does not want to be left alone wants Maarva back, is actually kind of doesn’t truly believe that Maarva has passed, seems like she’s he’s kind of like expecting to walk back in through the door. Bea watches as Maarva’s body is taken away, trailed by well-wishers from the community. Meanwhile, Cinta, from the Aldani crew, and members of the ISB are also watching. They’re not aware of each other, but they’re both watching and they’re all watching and waiting for Cassian Andor to show up. Cassian and Melshi, back on Narkina spot a ship. And there’s a couple of aliens nearby. They’re working a fishing hole. Cassi, Cassian is like, well, it’s an older quad jumper, but I think I can fly it. Melshi’s like, great. He makes a run for the ship, and Cassian has no choice but to follow. But the aliens are canny and they trigger booby trap, which capture the pair in this, like, gross kind of like snot net. Dedra at ISB learns of Maarva’s death. She, the local Imperials that are stationed there on Ferrix, are like so the local townspeople are asking for a permit to have a parade for a funeral. A funeral parade. And it’s like, should we give it to him? And Dedra is like, yes, give them the permit because I want bait to lore Cassian Andor in. I know that he won’t be able to resist going to his mother’s funeral. So, yes. Giving them the permit. Back on on Narkina, the aliens are discussing what to do with Andor and Melshi. They realize that these two are escaped convicts from an imperial prison and that they all share a hatred of the empire. So they let them loose and they’re like, okay, where you want to go? Andor is like, Take me back to Niamos, the vacation planet. Val arrives at Luthen’s shop. Val one of the Aldoni, the leader of the Aldoni crew.
Rosie Knight Cinta’s girlfriend.
Jason Concepcion Cinta’s girlfriend goes to Luthen’s shop on Coruscant and wants to talk to Luthen. Kleya is like, Get the fuck out of it, you shouldn’t be here. This is not on schedule. This is against the rules. You’re being very, very sloppy right now. Get out of here. And Val was like, I got important information. I need to speak to Luthen right away. And he’s trying to pull rank like I did fucking, I did Aldoni, what the hell have you done? And then Kleya gives another one of these, like, great, great monologues where, you know, where she’s like, I don’t have lately. I have always I have a constant blur of plates spinning and knives on the floor and needy, panicked faces at the window of which you are but one of many. And she’s like, But listen, what do you have? What’s your information? And then Val tells her that Maarva, Cassian Andor’s mother, has died. Tell Luthen. And Kleya is like, I promise I will let Luthen know. Meanwhile, on Ferrix, the ISB is tightening its surveillance of the Andor home. Brasso, one of Bix and Andor’s colleagues on Ferrix, is in the Andor home straightening up trying to comfort Bea. The droid again doesn’t is is unable to process what is happening, has gone completely emotionally to pieces, and Brasso agrees, I’ll stay here at the Andor home with you just for one night. This calms Bea a little bit. Elsewhere on Ferrix, Bix is reeling from the effects of the horrific interrogation that she was undergoing. The ISP take her to another room where they question her again this time. You know, not under the kind of like genocide, the sound treatment that they had been giving her previously. And they want to know if they show her picture, if Anto Kreegyr, that they’re showing her is the man that she introduced Cassian Andor to and that he met with numerous times. Back on Coruscant, we don’t actually know if she says yes, but you would imagine. I mean, like, I would just like.
Rosie Knight Just say yes. Also as well, it’s not so you’re sorry to that man, but you’re actually saving.
Jason Concepcion Although you wonder. I guess the other thing that would be going through your mind, right, is if I give them this, do they need me? Am I dead?
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion Back on Coruscant, Val arrives at Mon Mothma’s house. Leida, Mon’s daughter is apparently a budding young fascist. And we see her, you know, with the rest of her schoolmates doing some shit that is very troubling to Mon Mothma. Mon shares with Val the details of the particular bind she’s in with regards to the money. Imperial inspectors are nosing around the various Chandralin accounts that that Mon has managed, and at some point they’re going to discover that there’s 400,000 credits missing that she moved, you know, to she moved to the rebels. She tells Val that, you know, I reached out to Tay for help. And, you know, we’ve been working to cover up the money. She doesn’t tell her tell her about Davos, which is probably wise. And then she said, but after Aldoni, everything just got impossible. And it’s only a matter of time before the Imperials figure out what’s going on. And Val is like, does Luthen know, like, how much trouble you’re in? And she’s like, No, but I don’t know. I, you know, I don’t think so. Mon then tells Val that she’s kind of found another way out and she doesn’t say his name, you know, that she’s talking about Davos.
Rosie Knight She gets interrupted by her fascist daughter coming through the door.
Jason Concepcion Cyril gets a call at his mother’s house from Sergeant Linus, his old buddy, back to the corporation. Cyril’s former colleague tells him that Cassian Andor, his mother, has died and that the ISB and and various groups on Coruscant bid, but probably ISB appear to be taking an interest in this. There’s a lot of calls back and forth from Ferrix to Coruscant, and it seems like Andor might show up at the funeral. Back on Niamos, Andor sneaks into his former hotel room to retrieve his credits Blaster and Nemix’s manifesto, which helpfully the various people who’ve been staying in this room have not found because he hid it like on a top shelf. Elsewhere in the galaxy, Luthen arrives at Saw Guererra’s hideout, and guess what? Saw has changed his mind. Saw now wants to join Kreegyr on the Spellhouse. Right. He was against it. He was like, I don’t know this guy. Kreegyr used to be a separatist back in the fucking clone war days. I don’t want to lie, like, with a guy like that, but now he’s like, You know what? Let’s fucking do it. We get the booty. We get to steal as much as we can from this imperial facility. And as long as Kreegyr, you know, follows my rules, we’re in on it, tell him we’re doing it. And Luthen’s is like, No, we can’t. And Saw’s like, No, no, we’re doing. And he’s like, it’s like, no, no, no, it’s going tomorrow. Like, it’s way too late. And Saw he’s like, No, no, we’re ready now. Like, we can go. If it’s in 5 minutes, we can go. We’re locked and loaded. We’re ready to go. And Luthen eventually is forced to say, listen, here’s why the ISB are waiting on this raid. It’s a fucking trap. And and he’s end. Saw is like, Wait, so Kreegyr doesn’t know? And he’s like, No. So Saw says, you’re willing to burn him? It’s 30 men, plus Kreegyr. Luthan says absolutely cold bloodedly. And this ruthlessness absolutely shocks Saw. And he says, what if it was me? What if what if I was going? Luthen says, That would be different. Kreegyr doesn’t know who I am. He has no connections to me. ISB can’t track Kreegyr back to me. He’s fucking disposable. And Saw says, okay, well what if I what if I want to warn Kreegyr? What if I what if I do that? Luthen and says, that’s your choice, but it would risk everything else that we want to do. It would blow up everything. Think about it. The ISB, if they take down Kreegyr, they’re going to be arrogant, they’re going to be confident. There’s going to be a lot of space for us to operate because they’re not going to know about us. They’re going to think they have everything under control. If we warn Kreegyr and he pulls off, they’re going to know that they have a leak somewhere in their information network and they’re going to tighten up. They’re going to get they’re going to just batten down the hatches is going to be very, very, very difficult. Saw gets paranoid now. He’s like, okay, if you have you have someone with Kreegyr and ISB, do you have someone here? And he’s like, you know, he’s wondering like, Do you have someone in my group? Who is it? And Luthen says, yeah, it’s Tubes, it’s Benthic, who otherwise known as Bethnic but his nickname Tubes.
Rosie Knight Yeah Two Tubes.
Jason Concepcion And he’s like, he tells you, he tells me everything. But of course this is all a ploy to get everybody excited so that he can then steel Tube’s blaster and pointed it at Saw and Saw is amazed and he’s and it is incredible display of Luthen’s resolve. Because Luthen, Saw knows, has to know that he can’t get out of this. But yeah maybe you kill Saw, maybe you kill Two Tubes, but you’re not walking out of this place if you do that. Luthen then is like, listen, this is just so you listen, here’s all the angles. And he again says all the reasons why they have to let Kreegyr go down. And he says anyway. And he finishes up by saying, Anyway, if I was ISB, wouldn’t I just let you go on the raid, Saw?
Rosie Knight Hmm.
Jason Concepcion And Saw says again, 30 men plus Kreegyr, marching to their deaths for the greater good. Whatever you want to call it. Let’s call it WAR. Which is just a chilling fucking lie. The writing of this show is so good.
Rosie Knight We learn so much as well about Saw. This is this is a big Saw episode because not only do we get this, but one of the aliens that Andor gets captured by is one of the partisans who ends up being part of Saw’s Partisans at Sy Saed Ok. So you get a lot of we’re learning not only why Saw hates everyone and is a part and is just like off by himself, which understandable to be honest, but also kind of who he may be taking with him. So it’s very interesting to see the way that the empire and also people like Luthen can kind of push people into action.
Jason Concepcion Well, it’s it’s it is a reflection of something that goes on, like in real life. You know, we’re used to Star Wars framing it as, you know, rebels versus empire.
Rosie Knight Mm hmm.
Jason Concepcion But here we’re understanding and through the Clone Wars and Rebels, we’re understanding that there were factions, there were schisms, there were different factions that had to team up like here, Saw his having to make the decision of going against some of his ideals in order to team up with someone. Kreegyr, who politically he was absolutely against during the Clone Wars days, who was a separatist, who was like not pro republic. And this is I’m reading this book, Opposing Power by Elvin Ong, and it’s about how opposition forces build alliances in the face of like autocracies and and dictatorships. And it talks about like, you know, successful protest movements in the Philippines in the eighties and Korea also in the eighties. And how these groups, these opposition groups managed to to, you know, revitalize democracy in those countries and overthrow dictators, because all of these opposition groups that didn’t necessarily agree with each other politically decided, okay, we actually need you, have a good get out the vote network. I have like the ability to communicate to people on television, therefore. And we both agree that this dictator needs to go. Therefore, we need to team up. And here we’re seeing that happen in this fictional Star Wars. These these group, you know, Saw Guerrera saying, okay, I can’t do it alone. Fine. I’ll team up with Kreegyr. He’s got to follow my rules. But we can do this. And that’s that that’s how we’re seeing this rebellion kind of like slowly knit itself together. It’s aristocratic people like Mon Mothma and rich folks like Luthen and these hardscrabble idealists like Saw and other people from who knows where, like Kreegyr, who politically, probably during the Clone Wars, could not have agreed on one single thing. All coming together now because they agree. So the Empire’s just got to fucking go.
Rosie Knight Yeah. It’s really interesting to see them pushing this message of solidarity across like boundaries and the real the reality of how many people there are who agree on the problems with people in power and how few people in power there actually are. That is the nature of the the Narkina 5 escape. There’s 5000 prisoners that should have been could have happened any time. But they separate people so that they can’t do it. They fight it. They make them fight against each other in this horrific idea of like this person is doing well, so you’re going to be punished for it, which we see in our real life. So I love the idea of reminding people that if you come together, even if you don’t completely agree, you may be able to make things a little bit better. It’s it’s a good message.
Jason Concepcion There’s also a really interesting subtext to this entire series that hasn’t really been explored that much now. And it is the human supremacist angle to both the the empire and the empire in particular, but also this kind of nascent rebellion. Less so with obviously Saw’s Partisans.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion Which include, you know, alien fighters in that group. But you don’t the empire is just humans like it is humans in prison.
Rosie Knight Even the people they put in prison.
Jason Concepcion Even the people they put in prison, they are not interested at all in aliens having any kind of agency in the upper levels of their leadership. And, you know, it really underlines how impressive the runs rise in the imperial leadership is, because this is not a group that is interested in anything that alien species have to do or say.
Rosie Knight Other than like their resources.
Jason Concepcion Their resources. That’s it. And can you help us smuggle shit? That’s. That’s basically it.
Rosie Knight Yeah, that’s really interesting, actually.
Jason Concepcion Now, there’s the cynical side of me can also say maybe it’s budgetary. They just don’t have the budget. I mean, but but I don’t think that’s the case because of how thought out this show really feels. And knowing what we know about Tony Gilroy’s writing, it seems like a very specific choice to highlight the human supremacist angle of the empire, in particular. In space above Saw’s hideout, Luthen makes contact with Kleya. They’re speaking in code here because they, you know, they’re unsure if they’ve been listened to. So they’re using this kind of a.\ Dialog to make it sound as if they’re just talking about the shop and talking about the various things that they sell there. She is basically telling him that something is kind of off and you should come home as soon as possible because we need to adjust our plans a little bit. Then the signal breaks off and it’s because it’s being jammed by an imperial patrol. Luthen is trying to talk his way out of it as the as the Empire is making contact with him. He gives a phony transponder scan out of all the on the ID absolutely checks out. But the Imperials are like, fuck it. We need to practice, let’s abort this ship. They’re so arrogant. This is like what we Saw in Narkina 5, where it’s just like, fuck it, arrest anybody we have who’s going to stop us.
Rosie Knight And.
Jason Concepcion Who’s going to stop us?
Rosie Knight The people who are still involved at this point, they’re masochists. They want to hurt people.
Jason Concepcion Absolutely. So Luthen preps his ship to make a run for it. He engages his countermeasures, shreds the imperial tractor dish, takes out a handful of Thai fighters on his way to hyperspace. It’s absolutely pulse pounding.
Rosie Knight It’s so good.
Jason Concepcion Action scene. It’s so good.
Rosie Knight And what he does is like it’s an EU staple where he, he lets shrapnel out and is caught in the tractor beam and it destroys the imperial tractor, which is so cool. Like, so it’s yeah, shrapnel, just bom bom bom *musical notes*.
Jason Concepcion It’s fucking great. And his, it’s his ship.
Rosie Knight Oh yeah. And the, the imperial ship is the, they call it a Campwell class, which is based on Colleen Campwell art. So that’s a cool nod which I think our Discord will really like that one because they’ve been having a lot of fun with ships during this show.
Jason Concepcion I mean, it’s just that it’s just like a really, really great action scene and it lets you know also that Luthen is not surviving all of this time because he’s gotten he’s got lucky. Obviously.
Rosie Knight No, but it’s gotten serious.
Jason Concepcion He’s also thought all of this shit through. He’s been doing this a while. Absolutely. Cassian contact Zan on Ferrix and learned, sadly, that his mother has passed. He’s absolutely stunned. And it’s an incredible contrast to like the background of Niamos, there on this beautiful beach. The waves are crashing against the beach, this gentle kind of a shushing sound. And he walks over to Melshi and Melshi asks him, like about the call and Cassian doesn’t tell him what happened. Melshi is soaking in freedom, but also, Melshi has become radicalized by this by this whole thing, this ordeal that they’ve been through. He says, like, you know, first he asks, How many people do you think made it out? And they’re like and Cassian’s like not enough. And then Melshi says, okay, we have to tell people what’s going on here. People have to know we need to split up, double our chances of getting out and getting to someplace where we can speak the truth of what happened here. And let’s get out of here. And they they bid each other goodbye. Cassian gives Melshi a blaster, and they give this really like I mean, I got choked up a little the way they part because you just know that they’re going to be together again. You understand also, like. How meaningful it is that they’re fighting together on Scarif in Rogue One. And then they part. And that’s it. That leads us. That leaves us the finale. What a show this continues to be. Some of the best Star Wars any one has ever seen.
Rosie Knight Yeah, it’s so good. And. Okay, so let’s think about it. The finale’s coming up seems like it’s going to take place at Maarva’s funeral. That seems like the most likely option. I wonder. Do you think? What do you think they’re building in knocking a five? Because I think a lot of people were kind of in this space where they were like, is it the Death Star? Is it, you know, something really important is irrelevant. Tony Gilroy has recently in a couple of interviews basically kind of said it’s not irrelevant. It’s actually incredibly relevant to season two. And it does.
Jason Concepcion Oh.
Rosie Knight Yeah. The he he was interviewed in The Hollywood Reporter. And he said they’re building season two. It’s the spine of season two. I’ve heard all kinds of things and it’s great. All of the material that the Empire has, I look at everything and think, Economically, how does this work? Who built Scarif? How do you build that? How do you build the. How do you build the Death Star and the armada of ships? There’s a lot of things that need to be built and there’s an incredible amount of material. So to me, what they’re building is not as important as the scale of it. But he said that building the spine of season two. So I’m very interested.
Jason Concepcion Well, I. This. I’ve been wondering all season as well. And the ship that intercepts Luthen made me wonder. Obviously, it could be anything and it could be the Death Star and it could be AT-AT. But I was wondering if it’s not because we haven’t seen them yet. Some kind of star destroyer class ship.
Rosie Knight Oh, that would be really interesting and could be.
Jason Concepcion Because we haven’t seen them yet.
Rosie Knight That’s a huge high stakes, but it’s not the Death Star. Yeah, Tony, actually, like debunked one of the theories that I loved the most, which was so bleak and definitely was like one. I just think it’s so good because it’s so in tone of the show. Somebody a lot of really popular fan theory was that every room is just building the next room.
Jason Concepcion Oh, my God. That is so bleak. That is, like, legitimately the bleakest.
Rosie Knight So sad. And Tony was like, that’s so bleak, but so good. Paraphrasing. But, yeah, that was not the case. So I love the idea. I think the I think team X-ray looking at the chat is I think we’re all in on this star destroyer. I think that is. I think that’s a really great call because also one star destroyer. Building one star destroyer, destroying one star destroyer, trying to stop a star destroyer. That is a very doable 12 episode arc. I would be very interested to see if that’s what it is, especially. The reading that we’ve done, the books that we love, like Claudia Gray. Lost Stars, I always shout out, but that’s a really interesting book takes place over the three original trilogy films with new characters and kind of what the day to day of their lives looks like in the rebellion and and in the Empire. And I can kind of imagine them going for that kind of like, here’s what, you know, digging into what Andor has done so well, showing the bureaucracy and the little people who are behind these things. The people like Cyril who work doing one job that seems totally disconnected to the horrors of the empire, but are exactly still tools of it. And the one person in the rebellion who doesn’t even know they’re in the rebellion, who just help someone out because they think it’s the right thing to do, and then that person goes on to lead it. I mean, I think that’s so interesting. And I think the star destroyer could be a great landscape for that to take place in season two.
Jason Concepcion Well, we’ve got more Andor coming up. Up next, a conversation with Andor creator Tony Gilroy.
Jason Concepcion <AD>.
Jason Concepcion Welcome to the Hive Mind, where we explore a topic in more detail with the help of expert guests this week, we are thrilled to have Tony Gilroy, Oscar nominated, writer and director and the creator of Andor. Note. We recorded this interview while Rosie and I were on the road. Apologies in advance if the audio quality is not quite up to X-ray Vision top, top standards. Tony, thanks so much for joining us. I think one of the things that’s really knocked Rosie and I out about your story is how it shows how regular people, not necessarily, you know, Jedi and Space Wizards, etc., would get enmeshed in a fight like this, would either rebel or decide to join the forces that would oppress the rebellion. What was the genesis of this story?
Tony Gilroy Well, I mean, it started from the concept from from Lucasfilm, which was that they they were interested in doing a prequel from Rogue One. And during the five years of Cassian Andor story before Rogue One. And so that was that was the very first that was the that was the buy in. And then, you know, what’s your version of that? I think they tried they did try a couple other versions of it with different approaches. My attitude about it sort of from the sidelines along the way was it seems to me it’s pretty obvious what you have to do if you have this incredibly accomplished character in Rogue One who is, you know, the tactical leader, the the the the person that the alliance trusts to go on the most important mission possible and a guy who exhibits all these incredible leadership skills along the way tactically. And he changes his mind and he lies and he does all the things that a leader has to do on a mission like that. And then the guy gives his life for everyone.
Jason Concepcion Hmm.
Tony Gilroy Willingly. Who is that person? So my ideas. I said, Well, you want to do a show about that person, you know, they’re going to what’s going to happen to them? You want to take them as far away from that as possible five years ago, but have a show about becoming.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Tony Gilroy On our show in many ways is about becoming. It’s a revolution, becoming a revolution. It’s about Cassian Andor becoming a revolutionary and then becoming a leader. It’s about a lot of people becoming different things. So.
Rosie Knight And when it came to, you knew you were going to show the becoming so when it came to building the world, one of the things that’s kind of blown us away is Star Wars has always been analogous. But this feels like a show that has a lot of very radical things to say about building a rebellion and the becoming of a rebellion and the kind of world that encourages a rebellion, a world with horrific prison labor, you know, a world that oppresses the most vulnerable. Could you speak a little bit about building that world that would encourage Cassian to become the person that we see in Rogue One?
Tony Gilroy Well, canonically in Star Wars in the five years I have a five year tranche of history to take care of, I have a five year calendar. So I know what happens in those five years. I don’t really have to spend very much time thinking about anything else. And so I have to those five years are canonically clear to me. There’s no question of the established atrocities and and motivations of the empire. Right. I mean, that’s known. And we know we know how how bitter and horrifying and genocidal the battle will ultimately be and how devastating it’ll be to Alderon and everything else. So you know all that. But, all that said, I do never start anything with an agenda. I start with characters and I have my personal beliefs that I hope will, you know, in some way Osmotic Lee, you know, work their way through. But I don’t ever think about, Oh, I have an ax to grind about this. I’m going to talk about this or I didn’t start Michael Clayton because I wanted to do a story about industrial, you know, industrial atrocity. I started because I was an odd guy as a fixer. And what happens is so I’m really interested in the characters and I and I’ve learned over time that it works for me and it’s just what I’m interested. I started very, very small and I build my way out. And I know there’s been a lot of you know, there’s a lot of political. I’ve been watching, you know, the conversation is fascinating to watch all the conversations that the shows engendered over the past couple months. But and I know the show, there’s all kinds of people that are trying to lay claim in different ways to the the politics of the show. But, you know, to me, I’ve been studying history just as an amateur, as an idiot, and you know it. It’s the home, a DIY historian. Three years and now there isn’t anything in our show that hasn’t been going on for 3000 years of colonialism, slavery, oppression, horror, torture, whatever. It’s all there. So the great thing about this show is you can sort of needle drop and do a I could take you take something from the Haitian Revolution, take something from here and so to the Russian Revolution. So that’s all that’s the beauty of it. And that’s but my way in is really through character. What happens next to the people you care about and making you care about them.
Jason Concepcion Thinking about your work, you know, from the cutting edge all the way up through the border. I love the cutting edge. Just.
Rosie Knight Yeah, come on.
Jason Concepcion FYI.
Tony Gilroy That’s a movie about revolution, but anyway, I don’t think that’s been fully analyzed yet.
Rosie Knight I think that’s the episode.
Jason Concepcion But you know, like thinking about your work in that way, it’s often these characters who find themselves for one reason or another in a context that they were not necessarily prepared for. And now they have to make do with what they have. You have the ice skater, you know, the hockey player who now can no longer play hockey, now has to do figure skating. You have the spy who, you know, was brainwashed but now has their agency back and they’re cut loose in the world. In Michael Clayton, you have a guy whose you know the scales fall from his eyes. He’s a fixer for much bigger figures and realizes he caught between these two worlds of power and powerlessness and his morality and looking at, looking at and awe in that in that kind of context, I’m really struck by how it’s. It seems like and I know you say you don’t, you know, start with, you know, with any kind of like agenda. But I wonder if you might say if you might talk about how you build a character and, you know, where this kind of character falls in the kind of characters that you that you’ve built in the past. Well in cutting edge you get into. Yeah.
Tony Gilroy I mean, hopefully they’re all unique. I mean, every single one of them wants to be bespoke and and they want to be their own thing. I mean, I think that I think I’ve come to believe over time that, uh, that the single most important part of this is empathy. And you really, you have to be ridiculously empathetic to all of the people that you’re building that very and really care about them. Does it matter if they’re, you know, Orson Krennic or, you know, or Doug Dorsey and in the movie you gotta get in there, you know, you got to really live it with them and you got to really. So I, I don’t have a holistic answer to that. I have a very personal. Every one of them is a little temple and they’re all, you know, that makes it sound pretentious and bullshit. But, like, they’re all they’re all real to me and and and they all they couldn’t sound like anybody other than themselves. And I think you can always tell that when you read someone’s writing, you know, if you read a writer and all the characters sort of sound the same, or if someone’s IQ goes up and down based on what they want the story to do or whatever, then, you know, you’re with somebody who’s not maybe, maybe not, not not sticking to the rigor of that good writing is really where the writers are invested in the people so much that they could only do what they do.
Rosie Knight Yeah. And something that I found like really unique as from a writing standpoint of Andor is this choice of the arcs and kind of telling these small stories within the bigger kind of season. Could you talk a little bit about that choice and kind of why that felt like the best route to go?
Tony Gilroy Well, a lot of people, you know, I mean, we started out there were people I remember, you know, used to be I’d dip my toe into television over the last 20, 30 years at network television a couple of times, try to do things. And then the dictum always was, Oh, your first episode has to be your 20th episode of your first episode after two years. I mean, that was really what the the old system was. And then, you know, and then you move into a more, you know, as the stories have gotten more long term and, you know, and more complicated, there’s a different kind of structure for how they work. But I don’t think that there’s any clear I think everybody’s doing everything for the first time now. In many ways, I think we’re just at the frontier of streaming and we’re watching these huge shows. I mean, these are the beginning of something really new. I don’t think there’s any rule about what to do. And the way our show laid out, it was like, well, coincidentally, directors direct three episodes for us. The directors come in and they direct the block of three. So it sort of became a weird organizing principle in its own way, and you kind of lean into it a little bit. We’re not perfect because you see in seven we drop seven as a standalone episode and then eight, nine and ten, and then our last two episodes will be sort of other piece a little bit, I guess. We’re not I don’t think we’re like we’re not, you know, it’s not it’s not this rigorous, strict thing. It’s kind of the way it laid out and kind of the way it works with the directors. And and I think that there are no rules. I think the main rule is, do you want to see what happens next? That’s the
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion Yeah.
Tony Gilroy That’s the only rule that matters, right?
Jason Concepcion Yeah. Well, you’re you mentioned dipping your toe in TV before. Obviously, this is a TV property. You’ve moved from screenwriting to directing, and now you’re a showrunner working with directors. What’s that transition been like and how does it change your perspective as a person who’s telling stories?
Tony Gilroy Yeah, about is I don’t talk about the directing thing because that’s an old story for me, but it’s not anything is actually because I was going to direct the first three episodes of this and I was like, okay, that’s what I’m here for and I’ll do this and then I’ll get them. And then, you know, you realize what the gig is. And I was just incredibly naive. And COVID really saved our show because we got we got completely shut down and just everything just went on hold for six or seven months. And then I couldn’t come back to London. I didn’t want to come back to London and direct in the midst. There was no vaccine or anything like that at that point. And it just turned into like, okay, let’s and I started rewriting my episodes and rewriting everybody else’s episodes and tuning everything up and, and came time to hire directors. And it’s I’ve never hired directors before. And that’s a really that’s a really fascinating I didn’t take it quite as seriously in the beginning as I think I thought it would be easier. It’s very, very difficult. You have to watch lots of stuff, incredible amount of stuff. You have to find a way to pass your way through it. There’s an incredible amount of competition between shows because there’s so many shows to. Really hard to get directors. And it’s really there’s a limited number of directors who have, you know, we need directors who have a certain amount of flight time. You know, you can’t this is like flying a 747. You can’t just get it. So we have a different criterion then they had to be. It was it was. It’s very. Unanticipated we difficult we lucked out the first time around. I think we’ve lucked out this time around. We are we have three new directors that are coming back with this for this. The second half we start shooting in November. But man, it’s it’s I’ll tell you one thing, it’s the competition is really, really tough to find people that not to find it you know a smaller show where you could swing away and be loose, you know, think but you can’t figure out how to do this show on the job. Not not right. It’s just it’s just too many people are just drown. So the the the Venn diagram of what you’re looking for, it’s up there and then everybody’s after the same people though it’s very tricky.
Rosie Knight And it was such a like long like you talked about, you know, being shut down by COVID, this new experience of a showrunner searching for these directors. How did it and obviously the nature of filming a show like this is very different to a smaller film or smaller show. How did it feel once you started to see the fully finished episodes and kind of see the end of that first part of the journey of making the first season?
Tony Gilroy Well, I mean, quite honestly, I mean, I’ve been on it for three years now and in the middle of it, you know, I’ll be honest, it just wondering, what did I do to my life, you know?
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tony Gilroy I mean. And I mean, seriously, is it worth it? I mean, when you have any days going, like, what have I done? I could be doing anything I want to do. I’m to Brighton to play. I could make a movie. What am I doing? What did I do to my life? Is it worth it? And it well, it really wasn’t until, you know, about a year ago we really did start to put the episodes together in a kind of way that we could actually sort of and solve some of the, you know, really some the visual effects started coming in. We started in seven and my brother John is sort of the over the post-production overlord. So, you know, once the show started to come together and we could look at them in a whole piece and have other people outside of our little tiny community look at them, start to be like, Oh, my God, maybe this was really worth it. And that that’s the feeling more than anything else of like, oh my God, I haven’t wasted the last three years because it really was times along the way where you you could get on a movie, you could be on a movie, and you could hate the people that your business where you could whatever you could survive it. Now it’s in making a movie seems like nothing to me now. This is like you’re just, oh my God, I’m on a whaling verge and a whaling ship. On top of Haiti and how am I ever going to get back to the Nantucket? You know.
Jason Concepcion Well, Tony is you’ve made something really, really incredible.
Rosie Knight Yeah.
Jason Concepcion We’re big fans of your work and congratulations on the show. We can’t wait to see how it ends.
Tony Gilroy All right.
Rosie Knight Thank you so much.
Tony Gilroy So much. This was cool. Thank you.
Rosie Knight Thank you. Have a good day.
Tony Gilroy You too. Bye bye.
Jason Concepcion Big thank you to Tony Gilroy and Rosie Knight for joining us on X-ray Vision. Rosie, what do you have to plug?
Rosie Knight I will.
Jason Concepcion Plug, plug, plug, plug, plug.
Rosie Knight Tony’s not here so I will say watch Andor and the Cutting Edge.
Jason Concepcion Watch Andor.
Rosie Knight And the cutting edge seeing as we talked about so much on the interview for me, you can find me, Rosie Marx on Instagram and Letterboxd. I am here every week. I will be having some cool comic book news to talk about. You can read my writing at Polygon, Den of Geek, IGN, Nerdist, a bunch of different places, and I now have officially migrated my website, so my website is RosieKnight.com. If you want to look at some stuff.
Jason Concepcion Check it out. Crash the website.
Rosie Knight Crash the website. Crash WordPress.
Jason Concepcion Some quick updates and news. X-ray Vision will be taking a well-earned break for Thanksgiving next week. We hope you’re all able to do that as well. So catch the next episode on December 2nd where we’ll be diving into the finale of Andor lots of Andor discussion that week. Plus, we’re going to be hosting a panel and a live podcast recording at L.A. Comic-Con on Saturday, December 3rd, from 11:30 to 1 p.m. Pacific, in a panel room 402. More information on that to come, and you can find that through the show notes. But again, if you’re in L.A. in the first week of December and you want to come through, come check it out, come meet us, come talk to us. It’ll be fun. Check out the L.A. Comic-Con Map website, plus the show notes for specifics again and tickets if you want to come see the live taping of X-ray Vision. Five star reviews, we got to have them. We love them. We need them. We can’t live without them. Here is Matt Morricci: Rosie Knight is amazing. They’re a great tandem and really appreciate the branding as well. Five stars. Thank you, Matt.
Rosie Knight Thank you Matt. And thank you to the people who designed our branding, which is really cool.
Jason Concepcion And then finally, some other housekeeping notes, actually, visions of me going to two episodes at an undisclosed date in the future. We’re figuring that out right now, but it’s going to be in the more medium term than the longer term, certainly. And thanks to all of you’ve reached out and have expressed sadness at the ending of Takeline. So delighted that everybody listened to it. And it was a pleasure to give all of you some of the most fun sports content, I thought, out there. And it will free up time for all of us to do other stuff. Thank you for your kind words. Also, thanks for everyone who wished me a happy birthday.
Rosie Knight Happy birthday.
Jason Concepcion A couple of weeks ago. That was so delightful. That was so nice. X-ray Vision is a Crooked Media production. The show is produced by Chris Lord and Saul Rubin. The show is executive produced by myself and Sandy Girard. Our editing and sound design is by Vasilis Fotopoulos. Delon Villanueva and Matt DeGroot provide video production support. Alex Reliford handles social media. Thank you Brian Vasquez for our theme music. See you in two weeks.
Jason Concepcion Hey Mike. Its Christoff from right, I want to talk about Narkina 5 today first of all absolutely despicable what’s going on am I. The galaxy’s got to know about the things that are going on. That’s absolutely terrible. But I was got to say, this Kino, first of all, I hope you survived. I don’t know if you survived, but just to anybody who is watching this, is hearing this right now, swimming is not that hard. Guys, don’t be so nervous about who’s getting this. Here’s what it is, kick your legs and then just like, move your arms. That’s it. That’s it. You did it for nine months in your mother’s womb. You could do it again. It’s not that hard, you know, I’m not saying it’s not a long distance to swim, but, Kino, don’t be scared of it. You survived Narkina 5, You can survive this. Just kick your legs. I’ll take my answer off the air. Thank you.