Star Wars is a story of Jedi and Sith, one that follows the Skywalker family, and as such Andor will be a completely different type of show. But Star Wars is also a story of rebellion against evil, about everyday people rising up to fight tyranny, about the preservation of light amidst the darkness. And with that in mind, Andor fits in perfectly.
Andor premieres on September 21 and zeroes in on the early days of rebellion against the Empire, focusing on Cassian Andor, Mon Mothma, and others. It doesn’t include Jedi – unlike every other Star Wars show to date. It apparently doesn’t even include the Skywalkers – unlike every other Star Wars show to date. But that, according to showrunner Tony Gilroy, is precisely part of the appeal.
“I wanted to do it about real people,” Gilroy told Variety. “They’ve made all this IP about the royal family, in essence. It’s been great. But there’s a billion, billion, billion other beings in the galaxy. There’s plumbers and cosmeticians. Journalists! What are their lives like? The revolution is affecting them just as much as anybody else. Why not use the ‘Star Wars’ canon as a host organism for absolutely realistic, passionate, dramatic storytelling?”
As such, the goal was that this series would stand alone enough to pull in new viewers while being thematically connected enough to engage longtime fans. “You should be able to watch the show and not give a shit about ‘Star Wars’ ever, or [have ever] seen any ‘Star Wars,’” Gilroy said. “This show should work on its own. … [But] The hope, the dream, is that the really hardcore ‘Star Wars’ community will embrace the show in a new way — that they’ll be thrilled to have someone come in and completely uncynically get down molecularly in their world and treat it like a real thing.”
Gilroy, who was tapped by Lucasfilm to oversee the extensive re-shoots on Rogue One, initially wasn’t involved in Andor. But because of his role on the film he was sent scripts about the proposed series, which was to focus on Cassian and K2-SO on some epic mission. But as the Variety article explains, Gilroy wrote back that the proposal was unsustainable over a long period of time, and he instead wrote back with his ideas for a series. That became Andor, on which Gilroy serves as writer, director, and executive producer.
But it’s not just the exclusion of Jedi and Skywalkers that makes this a new endeavor for Lucasfilm; it’s also the fact that this series is geared toward older audiences. “I don’t think it’s a show for 9-year-olds, probably,” Gilroy said. That’s notably different than the philosophy employed by George Lucas, who insisted that Star Wars was always, at its heart, for kids. As such this kind of language makes me a bit uneasy, as it makes me hope that they aren’t straying too far from the core Star Wars DNA. Different stories, different themes, and different eras are all good, and needed, for the future of this franchise. But it must not lose sight of who this is all for. A Star Wars that isn’t for kids isn’t Star Wars.
With that said, I’m still very optimistic about this series, and I think that probably what is meant by Gilroy’s comments is that this will deal with some more mature themes and scenes than other Star Wars material, which is perfectly fine and could, if done well, actually be a significant strength. “We are an adventure story,” Gilroy said. “We are a thriller. And in a really abundant way, we’re creating a lot of IP. Some of it’s ground level: products and TV shows, all kinds of things. They’re all brand new.”
And that sounds like exactly what the Star Wars franchise needs.