March 28, 2023
Andy Serkis Talks Andor's Kino Loy and His Star Wars Return

Andy Serkis Talks Andor’s Kino Loy and His Star Wars Return

Andy Serkis as Kino Loy in Star Wars: Andor.

Image: Disney/Lucas Movies

For a month and a half, Andor turned out to be a pretty excellent show, and its cast is a big reason for that. In each arc so far, Cassian (Diego Luna) has drawn a variety of different characters into his often chaotic orbit who, like him, are trying to make their way under the rule of the Empire. The latter saw Cassian as an inmate of the penal colony Narkina 5, where he rubbed shoulders with fellow inmate/half-manager Kino Loy (Andy Serkis). The actor/director previously made his star wars debut with the Sequel Trilogy as Emperor Snokewhere it looked like he was ready to be the Palpatine of these movies before Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) abruptly cut him in half during The Last Jedi. (Let’s not get into the fact that he’s apparently a Palpatine husk?)

Serkis has has spent the past few days talking about both his brief stint at Snoke and how it affected his return to the franchise. When he recently spoke to slashfilm, he admitted he was hesitant to join the show when approached by showrunner Tony Gilroy. Primarily, these concerns stemmed from feeding fan theories – “Does Kino actually play Snoke? !“- but it was his love of A thug who won. “The world of ‘Rogue One,’ it feels so gritty and real and human and complex,” he explained. “Unlike the world Snoke lives in, which is very much about dark and light, it’s much more about the gray areas of the ‘Star Wars’ universe.”

Snoke connection issues aside, Serkis confessed feel less pressure with this show as opposed to movies. And it helped that his inclusion in the series was a complete secret, eliminating any speculation that might have created a false sense of promise when he was inevitably show at the top. “Nobody knew [me] until last week,” he said. “There was no pressure in the sense that he was there. I think it was a good thing not to have announced it sooner. […] It’s a nice surprise, I think, I hope for everyone.

Serkis’ personal backstory for the character, he revealed to Colliderwas that Kino was a show owner fighting for labor rights and unionization when the Empire took him in. Butthis desire to help others was something that gradually disappeared in prison, Serkis continued, and he “gives up any desire to watch over others outside of himself. Just do his time and get out.

Yeah, about that…

Image for article titled Andy Serkis discusses Andor's Kino Loy and returning to Star Wars

The first episode of the Narkina 5 arc, aptly titled “Narkina 5”, portrays Kino Loy as a badass who just wants the prisoner building operation to go smoothly at the end of his sentence. Last week’s episode, “Nobody is listening!sees Cassian making an active effort to get Kino on a prison break he’s planning with other inmates, with Kino doing his best to stay out of it all. For the inmate portion of the episode, this pressure is felt throughout, and the prison guards tightening their authority over the inmates gradually begin to wear Kino down. Once he learns the end of his sentence, he will simply transferred to another level of the prison, Kino joins Cassian’s escape, pun intendedctued by a banger of a last line. (“Never more than 12.”

Of Kino’s switching sides, Serkis praised Gilroy’s writing and the author of the Narkina 5 arc, Card castle showrunner Beau Willimon, calling it “phenomenal”. He went on to say that Kino kept his eye so focused on getting out to the point that a prison break or wondering if he would even actually leave was never something he considered until Cassian’s repeated attempts to radicalize him. To have that cemented in his mind, Serkis said, is “intolerable for him. It’s like a trigger switch that then allows him to think only of himself and his release. […] He begins to think about the greater good and how he might enable and affect a trip alongside Cassian.

The end of each Andor arc had losses on the Empire side and on the Andor side, but some, like Vel (Faye Marsay) and Cinta (Varada Sethu) have so far managed to live and move their stories forward. Whether Kino ends up biting him during the heist or he’s dating Andor, the character is definitely up there in a cast that’s been stacked with strong characterization and great performances thus far.

Andor premieres new episodes Wednesday on Disney Plus.

Want more io9 news? Find out when to wait for the last wonder and star wars versions, what’s next for the DC Universe in Film and TVand everything you need to know about Dragon House and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

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