The first three episodes of Andor will premiere on September 21, and it turns out that the three-episode premiere is about more than just driving engagement at the launch of a new series. It will also be the complete first arc of the series.
In a recent Variety article about showrunner Tony Gilroy and the series, it was revealed that Andor takes a unique storytelling approach amongst Star Wars live-action shows. The first season, which features twelve episodes, will feature stories that are told in three-episode arcs. In other words, the first arc of the series will be the first three episodes, thus the way the show is premiering. Each arc is written and directed by the same team, keeping a consistency amongst that story even with different writers and directors on the season.
That same approach is being taken for season two as well, and it’s actually the way Gilroy and his team figured out how to make it work. Realizing that they wanted to see this story through to completion (which means taking it right up to Rogue One) but that they didn’t want to commit to five seasons (with each season spanning a year of Cassian’s life, like season one does), they decided to utilize this three-episode story arc format to make it work – something Gilroy called “an amazingly elegant solution.” As such, Gilroy described season two like this: “When we come back, it’s a year later, and it’s a Friday, Saturday and a Sunday. And then we go away for a year. And then we come back for, I think, eight days. And then we go away for a year. And we come back, and it’s four days.”
I think this is a great approach for the series to take, one that will hopefully keep it fresh enough and moving at a brisk enough pace while still having the time needed to tell the story they want. It allows them to bridge different periods of Cassian’s life as they move closer to the Battle of Scarif, and that will particularly come in handy in season two as they span more time in-between each of the arcs.
This is a brand new tactic for the live-action Star Wars shows, but it shouldn’t be too unfamiliar to Star Wars fans. This is the same method that The Clone Wars used, telling a series of stories over multi-episode arcs. Those arcs were different lengths, and they were not in chronological order, but the multi-episode arc format worked really well. The main difference with Andor is that it will be following a more set, sequential story (whereas The Clone Wars jumped around a lot), and I think that can work incredibly well.