Here's What Inspired Tony Gilroy To Make Andor

By his own admission, Tony Gilroy had "no interest" in doing a Star War before he was hired to co-write and oversee the reshoots on "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story." Prior to that, the "Michael Clayton" and "The Bourne Legacy" filmmaker tended to specialize in thrillers that wed morally-complicated characters with grounded conflicts and overly political commentary. With "Rogue One," however, Gilroy got the chance to continue exploring his primary interests as a storyteller while painting on about as large a canvas as one could reasonably hope for.

Gilroy now finds himself back in a galaxy far, far away for "Andor," a series that delves into the life of the titular Rebel spy, Cassian Andor, in the five years leading up to the capture of the original Death Star's plans in "Rogue One." That the show will be as openly political as anything else Gilroy has worked on (or, for that matter, anything else in "Star Wars") should come as little shock. It is, after all, a story about no less than the struggle for freedom from oppression in the face of a fascist, totalitarian regime hell-bent on tightening its grip on the everyday citizens it's meant to be serving.

Speaking at a press junket attended by /Film, Gilroy talked about his experience serving as the head writer, producer, and co-director on "Andor," and how the show allowed him to chart the evolution of a complex hero like Cassian within the context of a saga as sweeping as the rebellion against the Galactic Empire. That, in a nutshell, was what Gilroy called the "buy-in" for him to even do the project in the first place.

'It's a potent moment in history'

Despite what its name suggests, "Andor" is not just Cassian Andor's origin story. It's a series about the role so many residents of the "Star Wars" galaxy — some of them familiar faces, many of them not — played in forming the Rebellion that would one day lead to the downfall of the Empire, from Mon Mothma's political machinations behind closed doors in the Imperial Senate to Luthen Rael teaming up with Saw Gerrera's insurgents to battle the Empire via not-so-diplomatic measures. All the same, Tony Gilroy stressed the importance of having an established character like Andor to follow:

"... We know where [Andor] ends up and we know how accomplished and complicated he is and the idea that we can do a story that takes him literally from his childhood origins and walk him through a five-year history, an odyssey that takes him to that place, during a revolution, during a moment in history, in a place where huge events are happening and real people are being crushed by it — the fact that we could follow somebody as an example of a revolution all the way through to the end, that was the walk-in for me, that was the buy-in, the opportunity to do that."

"It's a potent moment in ['Star Wars'] history," Gilroy stressed. "A lot of people are facing a lot of really difficult times and difficult decisions along the way, and that's what the show is about: The opportunity to do that on a large scale on a big canvas." Indeed, it's a much bigger canvas than Gilroy's ever had outside of "Rogue One." With a little luck, "Andor" will also prove to have the humanity and depth of the filmmaker's other work when it premieres September 21, 2022 on Disney+.