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INTERVIEW: Michael Wilkinson Talks Costumes in ‘Andor’

Genevieve O'Reilly in Andor as Mon Mothma

Andor has easily become the best thing that Star Wars has done in a long while and each week, it brought us beautiful planets and a struggle for the Rebellion fighting against the Empire. It also meant that we got to explore different aspects of costuming throughout the galaxy. While for most of the original trilogy the political fashion statements came from Princess Leia (and the same went to Padmé in the prequels), Andor provided a unique opportunity to explore multiple aspects of the galaxy all at the same time.

In talking with costumes designer Michael Wilkinson for the series, I was fascinated by things like Cassian’s poncho that he wears on Aldhani or the contrast in the rest of the galaxy to what is typical daywear on Ferrix so I asked Wilkinson about the process in building the look for each planet and how it was collaborating with other creatives on the Andor team.

“I think it’s a hugely collaborative process on these big Star Wars shows,” Wilkinson said. “There’s just so much to talk about . There’s the issue of like what’s come before all of the other episodes of Star Wars and where we fit in with within the timeline. Also how we want to sort of carve out our own creative space, how we might want this to be different or similar to other Star Wars projects. So we talked a lot about that and then we also started breaking down the script and talking about all the different planets that we go to. So lots of discussions with the production designer, Luke Hall, and talking about the different planets, how they might have their own unique colors and textures and materials that they might use, what the climate might be like, what the technology might be like, what they make there, what their architecture and their clothing might be made out of. So, you can run very deep with these collaborative discussions but it’s immensely rewarding and interesting.”

Which then lead my phone call with Wilkinson into breaking down specific scenes and characters from the series and how he crafted the looks according to where they were and what they were going through.

Creating Mon Mothma

Much like Leia and Padmé, Mon Mothma has always been a politician. And so in talking with Wilkinson, I asked about the beautiful gowns and outfits that we see star Genevieve O’Reilly wear in the first season of Andor and how that tied into the Mon Mothma we know from both Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and the original trilogy.

“It’s a real thrill to work with Genevieve and create her look for this series,” Wilkinson said. “Mon Mothma’s been a character that I’ve always been fascinated by. I felt like we really got to see enough of her. She was sort of like, she came in and out and you wondered what her background was and how she went from the look in the earlier episodes to the Rogue One look, what happened in between all of that. So we got to explore that here. And she’s playing an incredibly wealthy senator on the very sophisticated planet, Coruscant.But what fascinated was me was the sense of disguise. She’s hiding her true self because that would be very dangerous to reveal her interest in the early state of the Rebel Alliance.”

Wilkinson went on explaining how that double sided life we get to explore in Andor fed into his design. “So her outward public sense is this incredibly together senator, but then, hinting at the vulnerability that lies behind the supreme control was really interesting to me” he said. “With her costumes, we tried to get a sense of layers that she would be taking off layers. And so she had the armor of her Senate robes and her more business looks, and then something a little bit softer when she peeled back the layers when she looked home. And we got more of a sense of her more private life. So that was, that was a wonderful experience for me.”

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Andor has finished its first season and you can watch all twelve episodes on Disney+ now!

(image: Lucasfilm)

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Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast.