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Andor actor Denise Gough on how her character arc addresses gender politics in the age of Palpatine

Denise Gough in Andor
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Andor might be named after Diego Luna's future rebel Cassian Andor, but getting to grips with what our heroes are rebelling against is also a key component, showrunner Tony Gilroy reveals. "We have a very, very, very deep dive into the Imperial side of the story," he tells Total Film in the latest issue. 

And happily, we're not talking about another Sith sausage party. "I'm definitely on the Dark Side," grins actor Denise Gough, nodding to her brief but fearsome appearance in the Andor trailer as Imperial officer Dedra Meero. Excited to be joining Star Wars' growing roster of female baddies, the two-time Olivier winner describes a shot where she dons her Imperial-issue jacket, "and as the camera pulls round, you see it's a woman in that outfit. And that felt great, great, great." 

Gough's arc will address gender politics in the age of Palpatine in a timely fashion: "As a woman, in that world, for her to advance in any way, she has to be like 10 times better than anyone else in that room. And that felt really relevant to everything we're going through right now." As such, she believes viewers will be "on [Dedra's] side". To a point, anyway... "It's a clever thing to do, to show you how hard she has to work," reckons Gough. "It kind of brings you in to feel cheerleader-y for her – and then you'll be like, 'She's a psycho!' So be careful supporting her..."

As to the dynamic between Dedra and Andor, all the spoiler-mindful Gough can say is "she's not particularly fond of him". She's not the only one. Another of Andor's principal foes is Syril Karn, a blue-uniformed inspector on Ferrix who, in the words of actor Kyle Soller, is "obsessed" with Andor. 

"Syril is a very intense, determined character who believes he's destined for great things," says Soller, who appears a lot more chilled than his alter ego. "One of those great things is upholding justice at all costs; another is squashing any signs of dissent or rebellious activity, which obviously relates to our hero."

Andor launches on Disney Plus with a three-episode premiere on September 21. For much more on the show, check out the new issue of Total Film magazine (opens in new tab), which is on sale from Thursday, August 18.

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