Andor creator Tony Gilroy reveals that he instructed the cast and crew of the Disney+ series to avoid mimicking the traditional stylings of Star Wars. Gilroy first worked on the Star Wars franchise as a co-writer on Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Andor explores the origins of Diego Luna’s Rebel Alliance spy, Cassian Andor, who made his franchise debut in Rogue One.
Taking place over the five year span before the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, Andor explores the earliest days of the Rebel Alliance, as citizens throughout the galaxy begin to stand up to the Galactic Empire’s rule. Among the senators and revolutionaries rising up is Luna’s Cassian Andor, a man on a quest to reconnect to a past he was forced to leave behind. When Cassian attracts the attention of Rebel Alliance member Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), the young man is brought into the faction and will rise through its ranks as an agent. Andor‘s premiere has received critical praise following its debut, with many critics praising the series for its distinct style and tone when compared to other entries in the franchise, and now the series’ creator has discussed how he set out to make Andor stand apart from what came before.
Gilroy explains during an interview with THR that he’d noticed that many of the cast and crew who he’d recruited to work on the series would choose to try and replicate Star Wars‘ traditional styles rather than rely on their own personal strengths and perspectives. Using actors as an example, the creator states that he would often ask the series’ cast to approach the roles from their own individual points of view, rather than as part of the franchise. Gilroy concludes by discussing how Star Wars‘ pop culture prominence creates preconceptions about what could be expected from the franchise’s projects.
“It’s really fascinating. We have this experience all the time. In every department, we’ve had all kinds of people come in, and they know it’s Star Wars, so they change their behavior. They change their attitude. They change their thing.
An actor will come in off a Ken Loach movie or something, they’ll put on a Star Wars [costume], and all of a sudden, this great actor, who auditioned for you and didn’t know what it really was, starts acting differently. And you go, ‘Wait, no. Do your thing. You’re here because we want you to be real.’
So it’s a testament to the potent power of Star Wars. It really gets into people’s heads, but to change the lane and do it this way, it takes a little effort. It’s interesting.”
Why Andor Is So Different From Disney’s Previous Star Wars TV Series
Beyond previously unheard real-world curse words making their on-screen Star Wars debut and a focus on a more morally grey story, Andor‘s first three episodes feel incredibly distinct from previous Star Wars live-action series in a way that provides a fresh take on the franchise. While Cassian may not be a new character and audiences will eventually see him join the war between the Rebellion and Empire, the character’s unexplored past allowed Gilroy to create an all-new setting and cast within the universe far removed from typical Star Wars iconographies like Stormtroopers, Star Destroyers, and X-Wings. While shows like The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi were centered on or heavily featured pre-existing Star Wars elements and characters, Andor avoids relying on fan service and overt nods to pre-existing lore to grip the audience’s attention, allowing its new environments and characters to receive the bulk of attention and stand on their own.
Andor‘s focus on telling a mature story without being too reliant on fan-favorite elements has already won over many critics and viewers alike for its daring approach. Gilroy’s prioritization of allowing his own cast and crew’s strengths to show rather than fitting to what audiences expect of the franchise has allowed Andor to rely on its own story while still being part of that universe. With Andor receiving praise for its approach, many viewers may wonder if other upcoming projects like The Acolyte will follow its example or at least share a similar creative approach when it enters production.