Unlike previous Star Wars shows, Andor didn’t film in the Volume

In a noted shift from the previous strategy for Star Wars shows on Disney+, Andor was filmed with practical sets rather than with the Volume.

“Yep, we’re old school,” showrunner Tony Gilroy told Empire recently. “We didn’t use StageCraft at all.”

The Volume is a groundbreaking filming technique developed by Jon Favreau and ILM for The Mandalorian. It features a 360-degree soundstage (walls and ceiling) with LED screens, allowing filming to take place on the set with various locations broadcast on the screens to give an immersive feel. It’s appropriate that it was created by ILM for Star Wars, as the company and the franchise have always been at the forefront of revolutionary filmmaking techniques (as recently highlighted in the Light & Magic docu-series).

The successful launch of the Volume – which is truly an incredible development – has meant that subsequent Star Wars shows have also filmed there. In fact, every live-action Star Wars series released to-date has filmed primarily there, including The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Andor will mark the first show to not utilize the stage, relying instead on practical sets built at Pinewood Studios and on-location filming. It should also be noted that this is the first live-action series to not come in some way from The Mandalorian tree, as both Mando and Boba Fett are from the same showrunners, while Kenobi’s Deborah Chow first worked on Mando before getting hired on the series.

Though the final results of how well this decision has worked out for Andor are yet to be seen, even the trailer itself has a noticeably different feel to it – and I mean that in a very positive way. The Volume has some limitations (some of which were on display at moments in Obi-Wan Kenobi), and Andor looks great. But what can often happen in this fandom is that people pit things against each other that need not be pitted against against each other. The Volume is a great filmmaking technique, but it’s not the only one, and it’s not the best method for everything. We can celebrate the Volume and the ways it has advanced filming and made things easier and more realistic to make while still thinking that Andor‘s choice to film on-location seems brilliant and like a wise choice. What really matters is that the showrunners have the ability to decide what will be best for their particular show and go with it. I’m glad Andor had the freedom to do so.

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