New Star Wars Disney+ series Andor has a five-year plan for the journey of Cassian Andor (Diego Luna, who also serves as an executive producer), but we’ll see it played out over the course of two seasons.
“We are covering one year in our first 12 episodes that we’ve completed,” executive producer, creator, and showrunner Tony Gilroy said during the show’s virtual panel as part of the Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour. The way they film the episodes — in blocks of three — informs how the rest of Cassian’s story — leading up to the events of 2016 film Rogue One — will play out.
“We’re going to take our four blocks of three in the second half of the show, and each block of three is going to represent another year closer,” Gilroy explained. “We get to take the formative forging of Cassian Andor in the first twelve episodes, and then we get to take that organism that we built up and we get to run it through the next four years in a really exciting, narrative fashion. [In] our last scene of the show, our 24th episode, we’ll walk the audience directly into the first scenes of Rogue One.” Furthermore, “if we are successful with the 24 episodes that we make, when you watch Rogue, a lot of scenes are going to take a deeper significance and a deeper resonance.”
The new Disney+ series brings forward the tale of the burgeoning rebellion against the Empire and how people and planets became involved. It sets the titular character on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero.
“Everything I thought of when I was doing Rogue One, it was just part of what an actor has to do: create a backstory that explains why you make a choice and understand it perfectly and feel it as something personal,” Luna shared. “[I was] pretty amused by realizing how close [Gilroy’s work] was to what I had in mind. The motivations of the character are really close to what I had in mind and what we were discussing back then.”
If you ask Luna, “it’s quite unfair to call the show Andor because this is about a community. It’s an ensemble. It’s what we can in a community do and what we are capable of if we understand our strength is in our numbers.”
What you won’t be seeing is the droid K-2SO (Alan Tudyk) — at least, not just yet. “From a storytelling point of view, there are multiple reasons,” the showrunner shared. “It’s a story that ultimately we have to and really are eager to tell, and we have a very interesting way we think to do it. It’s difficult to carry an imperial droid around with you and not draw all kinds of various attention. … When we do it, we’ll do it in a spectacular fashion and it’ll be the way it should be done as opposed to presenting it and ignoring it or presenting it or hiding it or both the different things that the bad versions that we would’ve been forced to do.”
Added Luna, “If he knew K2 back then, there would be no journey to tell and the idea is to build an arc.” After all, reminded Gilroy, “We’re starting him so far away from a person that would know how or be motivated to reprogram an imperial droid. That is a very distant concept for the Cassian in Andor we’re introducing in our first season.”
But the Cassian that Andor will end with is one who, ultimately, dies in Rogue One. Gilroy and Luna don’t see that as an issue, however.
As the showrunner sees it, “we’re all living in a prequel. We’re all going to die, and we’re all in a prequel.” He likened it to watching a movie for the third time and knowing how it ends. “You’re watching it again [because] you’re invested in it,” he said.
And Luna sees it as the opportunity “to challenge everything you think about Cassian. Everything that made sense when you were watching the film is now going to be challenged because I do have that in mind. I know where it ends, and I can be very creative about how to get there.”
Andor, Series Premiere, Wednesday, September 21, Disney+