Andor (TV series)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Andor
Andor-logo-schwarz.png
Genre
Created byTony Gilroy
Based onStar Wars
by George Lucas
Starring
ComposerNicholas Britell
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes5
Production
Executive producers
Producers
  • Kate Hazell
  • David Meanti
Production locationUnited Kingdom
Cinematography
Editors
Running time38–50 minutes
Production companyLucasfilm
DistributorDisney Platform Distribution
Release
Original networkDisney+
Original releaseSeptember 21, 2022 (2022-09-21) –
present (present)
Chronology
Related showsRogue One

Andor, also marketed as Star Wars: Andor, is an American science-fiction action television series created by Tony Gilroy for the streaming service Disney+ as part of the Star Wars franchise. A prequel to the Star Wars spin-off film Rogue One (2016), the series follows thief-turned-Rebel spy Cassian Andor during the five years leading up to the events of the film.

Diego Luna reprises his Rogue One role as Cassian Andor and also serves as an executive producer. Kyle Soller, Adria Arjona, Joplin Sibtain, James McArdle, Rupert Vansittart, Stellan Skarsgård, Fiona Shaw, Alex Ferns, Gary Beadle, Genevieve O'Reilly, and Denise Gough also star. Lucasfilm announced a series focused on Andor in November 2018, with Luna attached and Stephen Schiff hired as showrunner. Schiff was replaced by Rogue One co-writer Gilroy as creator and showrunner in April 2020. Filming began at the end of November 2020, with Gilroy unable to direct as planned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming took place at Pinewood Studios in London, and on location around the United Kingdom, and wrapped by September 2021.

The first season of Andor premiered on Disney+ on September 21, 2022, with the first three of its twelve episodes. The rest of the episodes will be released weekly through November 23. A second twelve-episode season is in development, which will conclude the series and lead into the events of Rogue One.

Premise

Beginning five years before the events of Rogue One (2016), the series follows an ensemble cast of characters during the time that a Rebel Alliance is forming in opposition to the Galactic Empire. One of these characters is Cassian Andor, a thief who becomes a revolutionary and eventually joins the Rebellion.[1][2]

Cast and characters

  • Diego Luna as Cassian Andor:
    A thief whose planet Kenari was destroyed by one of the Galactic Empire's mining projects gone wrong. The series begins with Andor as a "revolution-averse" cynic and explores how he becomes "the most passionate person who's going to give themselves to save the galaxy" in Rogue One. Gilroy had described him as a natural leader who manipulates people, adding that he is "really a perfect kind of spy, warrior, killer".[1][2] Antonio Viña portrays a young Andor, when he was known as Kassa.[3]
  • Kyle Soller as Syril Karn:
    A Deputy Inspector for Preox-Morlana (Pre-Mor) Authority, a corporate conglomerate in charge of a trade sector. Karn works for Pre-Mor’s security services and is determined to capture Andor after he is suspected of murdering two Pre-Mor security employees.[3] Soller described his character as having "an extreme sense of need to impress, and fill a hole in himself. And so that really is about ascending to the top of whatever field he’s in. The field he’s chosen is one of restriction and complete control, and one of domination."[4][5]
  • Adria Arjona as Bix Caleen: A mechanic and black market dealer who is Andor's ally.[3]
  • Joplin Sibtain as Brasso: Andor's co-worker and colleague.[3]
  • James McArdle as Timm Karlo: Caleen's co-worker and boyfriend.[3]
  • Rupert Vansittart as Chief Hyne: Syril's Pre-Mor superior.
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Luthen Rael: Caleen's dealer contact who is a part of the Rebel Alliance. He hires Cassian on his first mission as a Rebel operative. Luthen poses himself publicly as an antique dealer from Coruscant.[6][7]
  • Fiona Shaw as Maarva Andor: Cassian's adoptive mother.[3]
  • Alex Ferns as Sergeant Linus Mosk: A Pre-Mor officer.[3]
  • Gary Beadle as Clem Andor: Maarva's partner and Cassian's adoptive father. Cassian uses his name as an alias.[3]
  • Genevieve O'Reilly as Mon Mothma: A member of the Imperial Senate who tries to navigate the politics of the Empire while secretly helping found the Rebel Alliance.[2]
  • Denise Gough as Dedra Meero: A supervisor for the Imperial Security Bureau.[8][9]
  • Faye Marsay as Vel Sartha: A Rebel leader on the planet Aldhani.[3]
  • Varada Sethu as Cinta Kaz: A Rebel on Aldhani.
  • Elizabeth Dulau as Kleya Marki: Luthen's assistant at his gallery.[3]
  • Kathryn Hunter as Eedy Karn: Syril's mother.[5]
  • Alastair Mackenzie as Perrin Fertha: Mothma's husband who is also a member of the Imperial Senate.
  • Anton Lesser as Major Partagaz: The head Imperial officer at the Imperial Security Bureau.[10]
  • Alex Lawther as Karis Nemik: A Rebel on Aldhani.
  • Sule Rimi as Lieutenant Gorn: A Rebel on Aldhani.
  • Ebon Moss-Bachrach as Arvel Skeen:[11] A Rebel on Aldhani.
  • Gershwyn Eustache Jnr as Taramyn Barcona: A Rebel on Aldhani.

Additionally, Dave Chapman voices Andor's droid B2EMO and Belle Swarc plays Andor's sister, Kerri.[3] Forest Whitaker reprises his role as Saw Gerrera, a veteran of the Clone Wars and the leader of a militant insurgent group, the Partisans.[12] Robert Emms,[13] David Hayman,[14] and Clemens Schick have been cast in undisclosed supporting roles.[15]

Episodes

No.TitleDirected by [16]Written by [17]Original release date [18]
1"Kassa"Toby HaynesTony GilroySeptember 21, 2022 (2022-09-21)

Five years before the Battle of Yavin, Cassian Andor travels to the industrial planet of Morlana One on the trail of his missing sister. While searching for her in a brothel, Cassian is antagonized by two Pre-Mor Authority security officers. An altercation between the trio shortly ensues outside the brothel, leading to Cassian accidentally killing one officer and executing the other. Cassian flees to the planet Ferrix, where he attempts to hide his involvement by convincing his adopted mother Maarva's droid, B2EMO, and his friend, Brasso, to cover for him. Cassian also asks his friend Bix to connect him with a black market buyer, as Cassian has acquired a Starpath Unit, a valuable piece of Imperial navigation technology. Bix agrees and contacts the buyer, but her attempts to hide her connection with Cassian make her boyfriend, Timm, suspicious. Back on Morlana One, the chief inspector of security elects to cover up the murders, to improve his report to the Imperial authorities, but his deputy, the dutiful Syril Karn, is determined to solve the case. Karn identifies Cassian's borrowed ship and traces it to Ferrix, and learns from an eyewitness at the brothel that Cassian said that he was from the planet Kenari.


Flashback: A younger Cassian, known as Kassa, and his tribe on Kenari decide to investigate a crashed ship. Kassa rebuffs his younger sister's efforts to join them, leaving her behind to guard their encampment.
2"That Would Be Me"Toby HaynesTony GilroySeptember 21, 2022 (2022-09-21)

Timm, still suspicious of Bix's relationship with Cassian, reports Cassian to Pre-Mor Security, who issue a warrant for his arrest. Karn partners with Mosk, an equally dutiful Pre-Mor officer, to arrest Cassian. B2EMO informs Cassian and Maarva of the warrant. Cassian prepares to flee the planet. Meanwhile, Bix's buyer travels to Ferrix to obtain the Starpath Unit.


Flashback: Kassa and his cohorts locate and investigate the crashed ship near a massive abandoned industrial strip-mining operation. When one of their own is killed by a crew member of the downed ship, the tribe kills the attacker and quickly leaves the crash site. Kassa stays behind to explore the ship.
3"Reckoning"Toby HaynesTony GilroySeptember 21, 2022 (2022-09-21)

Rael arrives on Ferrix and meets Cassian in an abandoned factory. Karn and Mosk also arrive there with a dozen security officers. They confront Maarva, but she refuses to cooperate. Karn intercepts a transmission from Cassian to B2EMO, thus pinpointing Cassian's position. Cassian wants to sell the Starpath Unit and leave Ferrix, but Rael tries to persuade him to join the Rebel Alliance, citing Cassian's repeated success at stealing from and sabotaging Imperial ships. When Karn's officers raid the factory, the two men escape back to Maarva's house, where they subdue Karn. When Bix learns that Timm informed on Cassian, she rushes to aid him, only to be stopped by the officers, who then kill Timm when he attempts to intervene. The officer who fired the shot is sent back to the pod on which the security officers arrived, but the pod is destroyed after takeoff due to sabotage by Brasso. Rael and Cassian escape the planet, leaving a stranded Karn and Mosk behind.


Flashback: Maarva and her husband Clem scavenge the crashed ship on Kenari, and find Kassa. Maarva decides to take him with them, as they fear his fate if he is discovered there by the Republic.
4"Aldhani"Susanna WhiteDan GilroySeptember 28, 2022 (2022-09-28)

Rael takes Cassian to the planet Aldhani, asking him to join a sabotage mission there to provide backup. Cassian is reluctant but eventually agrees; Rael asks him to use a pseudonym among the rebels, and Cassian chooses 'Clem'. Vel, the rebel group's leader, introduces him to the rest of the group but keeps Rael's involvement a secret. They explain to Cassian that they plan on stealing the pay roll of an imperial garrison from a key imperial supply hub, by taking advantage of a rare natural phenomenon in Aldhani's sky to escape, since their getaway vehicle is slow.

Meanwhile on Coruscant, Rael, posing as an art dealer, meets with Senator Mon Mothma, and they discuss challenges in keeping their opposition to the Empire hidden. Karn visits his mother after being castigated and placed on leave. Imperial Security Bureau lieutenant Dedra Meero seeks access and authority over the Ferrix incident, but is faced with opposition from her colleagues and superiors.
5"The Axe Forgets"Susanna WhiteDan GilroyOctober 5, 2022 (2022-10-05)
6TBASusanna WhiteDan GilroyOctober 12, 2022 (2022-10-12)
7TBABenjamin CaronStephen SchiffOctober 19, 2022 (2022-10-19)
8TBAToby HaynesBeau WillimonOctober 26, 2022 (2022-10-26)
9TBAToby HaynesBeau WillimonNovember 2, 2022 (2022-11-02)
10TBAToby HaynesBeau WillimonNovember 9, 2022 (2022-11-09)
11TBABenjamin CaronTony GilroyNovember 16, 2022 (2022-11-16)
12TBABenjamin CaronTony GilroyNovember 23, 2022 (2022-11-23)

Production

Development

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced in November 2017 that Disney and Lucasfilm were developing live-action Star Wars television series for the new streaming service Disney+.[19][20] One of these series was revealed a year later to be a prequel to the film Rogue One (2016). The series was described as a spy thriller show focused on the character Cassian Andor, with Diego Luna reprising his role from the film. Production was expected to begin in 2019 after Luna completed filming the second season of Narcos: Mexico.[21] Jared Bush originally developed the series, writing a pilot script and series bible for the project.[22]

By the end of November 2018, Stephen Schiff was serving as showrunner and executive producer of the series.[22] Tony Gilroy, who was credited as a co-writer on Rogue One and oversaw extensive reshoots for the film,[23] joined the series by early 2019 when he discussed the first story details with Luna.[1] In July 2019, Rick Famuyiwa was in early talks to direct several episodes after doing the same for the first live-action Star Wars series, The Mandalorian.[24] Gilroy's involvement was revealed that October, when he was set to write the first episode, direct multiple episodes, and work alongside Schiff;[23] Gilroy had officially replaced Schiff as showrunner by April 2020.[4] Six weeks of pre-production for the series had taken place in the United Kingdom by then, but this was halted and production on the series delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[25][26] Pre-production had begun again by September ahead of a planned filming start the next month. At that time, Gilroy, who is based in New York, chose not to travel to the UK for production on the series due to the pandemic, and was therefore unable to direct the series' first episode. Instead, the UK-based Toby Haynes, who was already "high on the list" of potential directors for the series, was hired to direct the first three episodes. Gilroy would remain executive producer and showrunner.[27] Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy announced the series' title, Andor, in December 2020, along with its 2022 release date. Luna was revealed to be executive producing the series, which was set to consist of 12 episodes.[28][29] In February 2021, Ben Caron and Susanna White were set as additional directors.[16][30] Sanne Wohlenberg and Michelle Rejwan also executive produce.[16]

In February 2022, star Stellan Skarsgård indicated that the series would have a second season, with filming for it beginning in late 2022.[31] That April, cinematographer Adriano Goldman said there had originally been plans for the series to last five seasons, but he believed those had changed and it was now expected to last three.[32] At Star Wars Celebration a month later, Lucasfilm confirmed a 12-episode second season.[33] Gilroy explained that the original five-season plan was deemed to be "physically impossible" due to the series' scale,[34] and instead they realized that they could end the series with one more season that led directly into the events of Rogue One.[33][34][35]

Writing

In addition to Gilroy and Schiff, writers for the series include Beau Willimon and Gilroy's brother Dan.[4][17] Gilroy urged his writing team to put aside their personal reverence and nostalgia for Star Wars, fearing that such a reverence could change their behavior and work.[36] Gilroy wanted the series to be accessible to all viewers, not just Star Wars fans, with the hope that those fans would be able to watch the series with their friends and family who are not interested in the rest of the franchise.[2] Luna expressed his excitement at being able to explore the character of Andor further in the series after the bittersweet experience of making Rogue One, in which the character dies.[29] Since Andor is a prequel to the film, Luna said it was "nice to go into a story you already know the ending. Now you can take the nuances and the layers. I think it's fun to do something that isn't just about getting to the end. It's about delaying that."[37] Luna was able to suggest elements of the character's backstory that he had thought of during the filming of Rogue One,[2] and was grateful that Gilroy made the character a refugee.[1] He explained, "It's the journey of a migrant, which to me is everything I come from. That feeling of having to move is behind this story very profoundly".[2] Luna felt that because of this, it was "difficult to find out where he comes from", and felt that Andor wanted to "find the opportunities, the freedom, the chances they don’t find where they’re born".[38]

The first season begins five years before Rogue One and tells one year of Andor's story when he first becomes a revolutionary. The next four years are then covered by the second season, which leads directly into the events of the film.[35][2] Gilroy approached the two seasons as two halves of a novel and described the show beginning as "a very simple, almost film noir situation for a thief [Andor]. A skeevy kind of guy gets in big trouble, tries to sell something he has to save his ass".[2] Luna said the series was about the building of a revolution,[29] and said it was important to explore "the revolutionary we can become to change things, to stop war, to make this world a livable place" which he felt was relevant to real-world issues.[2] Gilroy stated, "This guy gave his life for the galaxy, right? I mean, he consciously, soberly, without vanity or recognition, sacrificed himself. Who does that?" He wanted to explore that idea in the first season, beginning with Andor "being really revolution-averse, and cynical, and lost, and kind of a mess". The season shows the destruction of Andor's homeworld when he was a boy and is then based on Andor's adopted planet, which becomes radicalized against the Empire.[1]

Luna and Gilroy said the series was also about "how the disenfranchised can stand up to effect change".[38] Co-star Fiona Shaw described Gilroy's political commentary in the scripts as a "great, scurrilous [take] on the Trumpian world", adding that "our world is exploding in different places right now, people's rights are disappearing, and Andor reflects that. [In the show] the Empire is taking over, and it feels like the same thing is happening in reality, too".[39] Meanwhile, Gough has stated that her character arc in the series deals with gender politics, while Gilroy explained that "We have a very, very, very deep dive into the Imperial side of the story".[9] After starting with Andor's story in the first three episodes, the fourth begins to expand the scope of the series to include the rest of its large ensemble cast, such as Rebel leader Mon Mothma, whose path will cross with Andor's in the second season. Gilroy felt Star Wars fans would see Mothma in a new light after watching the series, and added that there were key characters and events in the series that would be different or "more interesting" than fans previously realized: "What you've been told, what's on Wookieepedia... is really all wrong".[2]

Design

Luke Hull served as production designer on the series,[40] and described it as "very cinematic".[29] Neal Scanlan provided the creature and droid effects after doing the same for all of Disney's Star Wars films, including Rogue One.[41] He said his team was treating the series the same as they did the films,[29] and due to Gilroy's involvement the series would fit within the same "pocket of [Star Wars] history" as Rogue One with a "slightly harder edge" than other Star Wars projects.[41] Scanlan added that unused creatures developed for the films could be brought back for the series,[42] alongside newly created creatures.[29] An outdoor city set, which co-star Adria Arjona estimated to be three to five city blocks long, was built practically for the series.[43]

Casting

Diego Luna was confirmed to be reprising his role as Cassian Andor from Rogue One with the series' announcement in November 2018.[21] In April 2019, Alan Tudyk was announced as also reprising his Rogue One role of K-2SO.[44] A year later, Stellan Skarsgård, Kyle Soller, Genevieve O'Reilly, and Denise Gough joined the cast. O'Reilly reprises her role of Mon Mothma from Rogue One and other Star Wars media.[45][4] Adria Arjona joined the cast in August 2020,[46] and Fiona Shaw was revealed to also be appearing in December,[28] when Tudyk was not included in an official cast list. A month later, Tudyk confirmed that he would no longer be appearing in the first season due to Gilroy's story changes but he could appear in potential future seasons.[47] Robert Emms was cast in a supporting role in June 2021,[13] when Skarsgård revealed that Forest Whitaker was reprising his role as Saw Gerrera from Rogue One.[12] In February 2022, David Hayman confirmed that he had a role in the series after being spotted by fans during filming.[14] The first season has over 200 named cast members and over 6,000 extras.[29]

Filming

Filming began in London, England at the end of November 2020,[37][48] with the production based at Pinewood Studios.[49][50] The series was filmed under the working title Pilgrim,[49] and was the first live-action Star Wars series to not make use of the StageCraft digital background technology. This was done because the scripts were more suited to being filmed on locations and large sets, and Luna noted that taking a different filming approach for the series made it similar to Rogue One, whose filming style was distinct from other Star Wars films.[51] Toby Haynes directed the first three episodes,[27] with Ben Caron, Susanna White, and Haynes each directing another "block" of three episodes.[6][30] Jonathan Freeman and Adriano Goldman served as cinematographers.[32][52] The series was previously reported to begin filming in 2019,[21] and then June 2020,[52] but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[26] Both UK and U.S. COVID-19 protocols were followed on set, including daily temperature checks and tests for COVID-19 three times a week.[50] Filming at Pinewood Studios was expected to end in July 2021.[50]

By late January 2021, a large village set had been built on the grounds of a former quarry in Little Marlow, Buckinghamshire, not far from Pinewood Studios, with filming expected to last there until April.[53] Filming in April also took place at the Coryton Refinery in Corringham, Essex.[54] Several days of filming occurred in Cleveleys on the Fylde Coast of Lancashire in early May, with the town's promenade and beach area dressed as an alien location,[49] followed by another several days filming in the disused Winspit quarry in Dorset.[55][56] Second unit and location filming began for at least a week at the end of May in Black Park, a country park in Buckinghamshire near Pinewood Studios which was also used for filming Disney's Star Wars films.[57][58] By the end of May, main production on Pilgrim had moved to Glen Tilt in Perthshire, Scotland, and was expected to continue there until late June.[59][60] Around 500 crewmembers travelled to Oban, Scotland, for filming at the nearby Cruachan Dam. This started by June 18, with sets built around the dam and filming also happening in its tunnels.[14][61] From June 22 to 24, filming took place at Middle Peak Quarry near Wirksworth, Derbyshire.[62][63] Production was expected to wrap in mid-2021,[13] and Luna confirmed that it had finished by September 27.[64]

The second season is scheduled to begin filming in November 2022 and last until August 2023, with Gilroy anticipating a year for post-production as with the first season.[65] Episodes will once again be filmed in "blocks" of three episodes at a time, which each block moving the story a year closer to the events of Rogue One.[6] Gilroy stated he would not direct in the second season because of his commitments as showrunner.[36]

Music

Gilroy contacted Nicholas Britell about composing for the series in 2020, before filming began so he could compose source music that would be played on set. Gilroy and Britell, who are neighbors in Manhattan, first met for the project in August 2020. Kennedy and Gilroy wanted the series to have a unique sound, and Britell said it would be "orchestral-plus" with a "wide range of sounds" including some that he had created. He added that the large scope of the series meant that "every episode has new demands, new music, and new ideas. It's important that as the story evolves, the music should evolve too."[66] Britell was publicly revealed to be the series' composer in February 2022,[67] and was still working on it that May when he said they had been "working nonstop for months, actually years, at this point". Recording was underway by then at AIR Lyndhurst studios in London, with a full orchestra. Britell was unable to travel to London due to the pandemic, but had a team in place there that also worked with him on other television series.[66]

Marketing

A sizzle reel featuring behind-the-scenes footage of pre-production and filming was released during Disney's Investors Day presentation in December 2020, when the series' title and cast was officially announced by Kennedy.[28][29] Gilroy, Luna, and O'Reilly promoted the series at Star Wars Celebration in May 2022, where they revealed the first teaser trailer.[35][33] The Hollywood Reporter's Aaron Couch said it showed the "gritty side" of the Star Wars universe.[68] Daniel Chin of The Ringer felt the series had a unique identity in the Star Wars franchise, with a darker tone, and said the teaser "paints a picture of the formative years of the rebellion against the Empire".[69] Ryan Scott from /Film felt the teaser gave the "most comprehensive view at the show up to this point". He said the series could explore the morality behind the Rebels, writing that while they are usually seen as heroes there is also "much gray area in there to be explored".[70] Writing for CNET, Sean Keane felt the trailer did not give much away but gave an "intriguing taste of the show's espionage tone".[71]

Luna promoted the series and debuted the official trailer on Good Morning America on August 1.[18] Hattie Lindert from The A.V. Club highlighted the action scenes in the trailer, saying "In addition to the epic scale and darker tone, the series also promises intense fight scenes created with limited green screen use" and also noted Gilroy's experience with action films due to his work on the Jason Bourne films.[72] The Hollywood Reporter's James Hibberd enjoyed Andor's increased screen-time in the trailer compared to the teaser, and felt the series was a "welcome scenic change from the company’s previous Star Wars shows".[73] At CNN, Scottie Andrew felt it "reveals a bit more about Andor's evolution from common thief to galactic martyr".[74] Luna and Kennedy promoted the series at the 2022 D23 Expo,[75] with CNET's Keane writing "The trailer paints a pretty grim setup for revolutionary fighter Cassian Andor and his pals, as fighting the Empire and row upon row of Stormtroopers looks like a one-way ticket to death".[76] Meanwhile, Collider's Rachel Leishman felt the trailer "gives us a bit more of a look at where the rebellion is and who is fighting back against the Empire" and was excited for the portrayal of the Empire in the series, writing "Seeing these little missions and the feelings that the rebels have towards the Empire feels so perfectly align with what we know about Cassian that this trailer really just has us excited for what is to come with the series".[77]

Release

Andor premiered on Disney+ on September 21, 2022, with the first three episodes being released. The rest of the 12-episode first season will be released weekly.[18] The series previously was expected to debut in 2021,[78] before production was delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.[26] It was originally set to premiere on August 31 with two episodes.[33] The second and final season will also consist of 12 episodes,[33] with Gilroy expecting it to release in late 2024.[65]

Reception

Audience viewership

According to the streaming aggregator Reelgood, Star Wars: Andor was the most watched program across all platforms during the week of September 28, 2022.[79][80][81]

Critical response

Andor: Critical reception by episode

Andor (2022): Percentage of positive critics' reviews tracked by the website Rotten Tomatoes[82]

The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported an 90% approval rating with an average rating of 7.00/10, based on 399 critic reviews.[82] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 74 out of 100 based on 31 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[83]

In a four star review, The Guardian called Andor "the best Star Wars show since The Mandalorian",[84] while Variety was positive towards Andor's departure from other Star Wars projects with a "story of people who have nothing to do with Solos, Skywalkers or Palpatines, but whose lives matter nonetheless".[85]

References

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