Duncan Pow Says His ‘Rogue One’ Character Melshi Was Added In Tony Gilroy’s Reshoots & Talks Returning For ‘Andor’

OK, by now, if you’re a fan of Lucasfilm’s “Andor” on Disney+, you’re probably well aware that Sergeant Ruescott Melshi (Duncan Pow) recently returned to the series. Who, you ask? Well, as you’re aware, “Andor” is a prequel series to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and in that film, Melshi is one of the Rebel Alliance lieutenants in the film aiding Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and the Rogue One squadron. You may not think you really know Melshi, but when you think about it, if you look at the film and had to pick one supporting character on the edge of most of the frame who is right there along much of the action with him.

READ MORE: ‘Andor’ Radicalization Takes Hold, Andy Serkis Appears & So Do Two Surprise ‘Rogue One’ Characters [Episode 8 Recap]

Melshi is one of the first Rebel Alliance soldiers we see in the movie; right at the beginning of the film, he’s the one that rescues Jynn Erso (Felicity Jones) with the reprogrammed Imperial droid K-2SO labor camp on the planet Wobani, and he also sacrifices his life with the rest of the team at the battle for Scarif.

As you’ve seen on the show, Pow returns as Melshi in the “Andor” prequel, a man imprisoned alongside Cassian Andor in the Imperial Prison Complex on the moon Narkina 5 and alongside Kino Loy (Andy Serkis) becomes one of the accomplices in their prison break.  We don’t know the rest of his history exactly, but we know he eventually becomes a member of the Rebel Alliance, and if you’ve seen episode 11, “The Daughters Of Ferrix,” of “Andor” available on Disney+ today—minor spoiler alert if you haven’t seen the episode yet—you know that Andor and Melshi part ways, in the end, the idea being both of them need to share what they have learned about the Empire as widely as possible.

READ MORE: ‘Andor’: Andy Serkis Discusses His New ‘Star Wars’ Character, ‘Venom 3,’ ‘The Batman,’ & More [The Rogue Ones Podcast]

We digress. We recently spoke to Pow about his appearance on “Andor”—listen below in our new episode of The Rogue Ones podcast, which also features Diego Luna— and in telling us the story of how he got involved in “Star Wars” in the first place, the actor revealed to us that his Ruescott Melshi character was an invention from the Tony Gilroy-run “Rogue One” reshoots.

In fact, to hear it from Pow, Gilroy seemingly added him into the film after talking to him on set casually, liked him, and then decided to invent a bigger role for him.

“I had a part in ‘Rogue One’ originally as a fighter pilot,” Pow said. “I was involved with the original production in various capacities early on, and then I came in for the reshoots, and all of a sudden, after having a conversation with Tony—about Buddhism, funnily enough—I found that the character of Melshi had been written into some of the stuff in ‘Rogue One’ and that’s how it came about initially… I really came on board [in a more significant way] in the reshoots. Sometimes in life, you’re in the right place at the right time.”

Of course, this revelation is really surprising and helps reorient our perspective on how “Rogue One” was reshaped, including the addition of that opening scene on Wobani, which clearly was different in the original, and the Battle of Scarif ending of which Melshi is a pretty significant part.

Pow said “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” was the first film he ever saw as a young boy, and he was a huge “Star Wars” fan growing up. The actor described his serendipitous re-casting in “Rogue One” and then “Andor” as “mystic and synchronistic.”

“You always kind of hope,” Pow said about rejoining the project. “So, when I first heard about ‘Andor,’ I was really optimistic that I might be able to be involved, and yeah, Tony called me up just as I was about [to go on holiday to South America], and he said, ‘Hey, go and have fun and we’ll catch up when you’re back in London.”

Fate intervened, and the global pandemic happened, the production was delayed by several months, and Pow said he had to nervously wait nearly an entire year to see if his scenes in the series would happen. “I remember [Tony] asking, ‘are you in shape?’ and I said, ‘Of course, I’m in shape,’ I haven’t spent all of lockdown in the backyard with my mum, drinking gin and tonics,” he laughed. “So, I had a very short period of time to get in shape.”

Will Melshi be a big part of “Andor” season two? Well, as you’ll have seen by episode 11, Melshi and Andor aren’t part of a team just yet, and Pow said he’s unsure of whether or not he’ll be part of the second season at the moment, but he’s called the entire experience, “a blessing and a gift” thus far and he’s hoping that mystic quality that got him into “Star Wars” in the first place continues.

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