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Andor's Cast Really, Really Hated Those Prison Scenes

Seems like the Star Wars production designers did too good a job when designing the Empire's penal colony.

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Cassian looks out into a sterile white room where prisoners make widgets.
Image: Lucasfilm

Prisoners aren’t supposed to enjoy their time in prison. You would think actors who play prisoners, however, would get a bit more of a break. But the stars of the wonderful Star Wars series Andor, including Diego Luna and Andy Serkis, felt like their on-screen prison scenes were a bit too authentic.

If you’ll recall, Luna’s Andor was sent to a prison factory on the ocean planet of Narkina V after being arrested, where he and his fellow workers were forced to make very specific widgets. The prisoners, and thus the actors, were forced to wear uncomfortable paper clothes and work in a white, distressingly sterile space. So when you see the characters absolutely miserable in the scenes, that misery was quite real.


Speaking with the Hollywood Reporter, Serkis revealed he and the other actors felt like “they were imprisoned themselves”:

“The desensitization of wearing a paper suit and walking in bare feet was the most strange thing about the process. Week in, week out, everybody looking like a carbon copy of yourself, you feel like you’ve lost your identity. And everything about that set was hostile in its clinicalness. It did strange things to your head, like it was designed to do.”


Luna concurred. “Every day, going into those white walls, dressed in that uniform, made you feel like just another number. The prison metaphorically became a different thing for each actor—everyone found a way to hate the prison.”

Once you remember that Andor’s costume designer specifically designed their prison outfits to be too uncomfortable to cosplay in at conventions, it all sounds quite horrible—and made for some of the best scenes in the series. It also helped, according to THR, the prison scenes were the last ones filmed after a grueling 10-month shoot, so the weariness you see on the actors’ faces is quite real. In fact, it sounds like Andor’s production designer Luke Hull only has one regret about Narkina V:

One final design element, however, didn’t quite meet Hull’s high standards: Cassian’s cell toilet. “The Star Wars toilet still keeps me up at night,” Hull sighs. “We probably could have done a bit more work to make it more interesting.

The entire article is well worth a read if you have time, as it goes into the prison scenes and the heist on Aldhani in detail. There’s some great concept art as well.

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