The main thing that stopped George Lucas from making Star Wars TV shows decades ago was money. He couldn’t figure out how to make a show that looked like his movies, but for a fraction of the cost, which at the time was the only way it would work for TV. And while the first three live-action Star Wars shows did figure that problem out, the fourth is getting away from it entirely.
That fourth show is Andor, created by Rogue One co-writer Tony Gilroy, and it debuts on Disney+ September 21. It follows Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) from the beginning of the path that leads him to become the Rebel leader we meet in Rogue One. But unlike Andor’s Star Wars TV counterparts, the show was shot on practical sets and locations, not using Industrial Light & Magic’s groundbreaking StageCraft. “We’re old-school,” Gilroy told Empire Magazine.
StageCraft is a new technology that was first used on The Mandalorian, and has since been used on The Book of Boba Fett as well as Obi-Wan Kenobi. It involves placing a huge circle of monitors on a soundstage with the ability to display any location in real time. No longer do you need to travel to distant mountaintops to film on distant mountaintops; they can be recreated in a studio in Los Angeles on these incredible monitors. It’s Lucas’ money-saving dream come true.
But not Andor. From the first few images of the brand new trailer you can see that Andor actually did shoot on distant mountaintops. “In Pitlochry, Scotland, we had to walk for hours up a mountain to set up one shot,” Luna said. “Huge effort. Really dangerous to get there. All you can see around you is sky, trees, rivers, lakes. Amazing! Like being on another planet.”
Plus, when Andor wasn’t filming on location, it was filming at Pinewood Studios in the United Kingdom, using fully realised sets, just like a major film production. “We didn’t use StageCraft at all,” Gilroy said. The aim, of course, is to make Andor not just look different from all of the other Star Wars shows before it, but to make it fit in seamlessly with the look of Andor’s previous appearance in Rogue One, which was also filmed on location and on soundstages.
Will the likely expensive decision pay off? We’ll find out when Andor debuts with three episodes on September 21.
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