Andor is resuming production despite the writer’s strike… which could be a problem

If you follow the film industry, you no doubt heard about the decision made by the Writers Guild of America to go on strike. As a result production on many movies and shows has been halted, but some of the biggest names in Hollywood are moving forward – such as The Rings of Power (Prime Video), House of the Dragon (HBO Max), and Andor (Disney+).

WGA strike guidelines prohibit any writing from taking place. Disney, however, sent out a memo ordering showrunners to continue work on non-writing elements, leaving those like Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy (who is a WGA member and the writer on the series) in a tough spot. According to Variety, Gilroy is not present on set, but he is continuing to work on Andor in non-writing elements such as casting and scoring. His scripts for the show’s second season were already locked by the time of the strike, which is what is enabling filming to continue.

But what can’t continue is writers working on the show, including script changes and other adaptations that need to be made on the fly. Some projects depend heavily upon these on-the-go changes, while others more or less stick to the script, and it’s unclear how exactly Andor operates. But the irony shouldn’t be lost upon anyone: a series that has been widely praised, primarily for its writing, is now continuing on without any writers.

That presents quite the risk for Andor in particular, as it’s a series so heavily driven by the writing. The writing is important on any and all projects, but there are some that are more dependent upon it than others for success. Some shows or movies make up for so-so writing through a number of other things, but Andor is a series that really leaned into the writing to carry it. That worked to tremendous success in season one. The show managed to create the same kind of drama, tension, and excitement that we’re used to in Star Wars, yet did it often through words rather than action and blasting and fighting. The series delivered some of the best speeches we’ve ever heard in the franchise, whether it be from Kino Loy or Luthen Rael or Karis Nemik or Maarva Andor.

Tony Gilroy’s script for the second and final season of the series is finished… but we’ll have to see just how much the show suffers because writers can’t work on it any longer. Disney doesn’t want to risk delays to a big project like this, which is understandable, but at what cost? A better solution would be, of course, to work to make sure writers are paid fairly, but even that notwithstanding, in a rush to not get behind, they’re taking awful risks in hoping the quality of the series won’t suffer for it.

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