One of the first things people said about Andor when the first three episodes dropped last week was that it didn’t feel like Star Wars. It clearly was Star Wars, but different. A lot of people liked that.

Now showrunner Tony Gilroy says that is deliberate. When he came onboard Rogue One to help with some re-work and reshoots he said his superpower was that he wasn’t a lifelong Star Wars fan. This meant he was unburdened and not afraid to make the tough choices, such as killing off the entire hero roster.

Andor

In an interview for The Hollywood Reporter he says this superpower is still with him for Andor, and he demands the same of his fellow creatives on the project.

A previous attempt to launch the show had stalled before Gilroy joined the project. He noticed that his collaborators were altering their behavior and performance because of their nostalgia for Star Wars. So he had to tell them to stop:

“In every department, we’ve had all kinds of people come in, and they know it’s Star Wars, so they change their behavior. They change their attitude. They change their thing. And you go, ‘Wait, no. Do your thing. You’re here because we want you to be real.’ So it’s a testament to the potent power of Star Wars. It really gets into people’s heads, but to change the lane and do it this way, it takes a little effort.”

Gilroy is also a director, but he says he simply does not have the time to direct on Andor as being showrunner is such a massive commitment:

“I am not [directing in season two]. I can’t. This job is just too huge. I don’t have the time to spare. It’s a really poor use of my time. [Director] Ari [Ariel] Kleiman is out in Pinewood. We start shooting in November. He started prepping three weeks ago. He’s got his hands full out there just to get to November. There was some fantasy that I would end up doing the last block, but I just can’t, to be honest with you.”

Gilroy has also let slip that he gave an Andor manifesto to Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy after the initial version of the show failed to move forward.

“They tried to do a couple different versions of this show along the way. I wasn’t really interested, but the people that were trying it were feeling a little bit trapped in what we just discussed, this reverence for Star Wars. But they were also kind of inhibited because the economics weren’t really in place for large-scale streaming at that point. The economics to make a show like this, there wasn’t anybody who was going to spend that kind of money on a show.

In the intervening years streaming went huge, and the rest is history:

“Kathy sent me one of the pilots that they were thinking about, but had grown cool on, and she asked what I thought. And in some sort of … I don’t know. I had time. I was in some sort of manic thing, and so I just got on it for a couple days. So I wrote this big manifesto for her. “This is what your show should be like. This is what you should never do. This is why this doesn’t work.” So it was a crazy thing, and it was wildly ambitious. And they were like, “Well, that’s really great. Thanks for helping us know what’s wrong, but we could never do this.” Then they tried a couple other things, and when everything had gone cold, there was a moment where, my God, streaming was whoa. Now we can really do it.

So they went back and pulled this old memo, and they were like, ‘We want to do this now.’ They wanted to be that ambitious on this scale, and the timing was right for me.”

Andor

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