‘Andor’ Creator Says ‘The Mandalorian’ Made His Show Better

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Diego Luna as Cassian Andor

Credit: Lucasfilm

Although it didn’t rake in nearly as many viewers, Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy recently explained why he believes that The Mandalorian secretly improved Season 1 of his Star Wars series.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) in 'Star Wars: Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

After landing on Disney+ last fall, Andor, the prequel series to 2016’s Rogue One, quickly won over audiences, going on to became one of the most celebrated Star Wars properties since Disney purchased the IP back in 2012. The show, which holds a 96% Tomatometer rating on Rotten Tomatoes, was even enough to score Lucasfilm its first prestigious Peabody Award in May.

Tay Kolma (Ben Miles) and Mon Mothma (Genevieve O'Reilly) in 'Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

Starring Diego Luna as the eponymous spy, Cassian Andor, the show picks up five years prior to the events of Rogue One and Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977). Season 1 follows Cassian as he begrudgingly finds himself working with the Rebellion after meeting the cunning tactician Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård), who’s working with Chandrilan Senator Mon Mothma (Genevieve O’Reilly) to quietly take down the Galactic Empire.

Melshi (Duncan Pow) and Cassian (Diego Luna) plot their escape from Narkina 5 in 'Andor' episode 11, "Daughter Of Ferrix". Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

However, despite rave reviews, viewership for Andor was “overwhelmingly lower” than Lucasfilm’s other streaming ventures on Disney+, paling in comparison to Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni’s hit sci-fi western, The Mandalorian.

Still, by word of mouth and the mighty powers of Disney advertising overlords, Andor was ultimately considered a win, marking a new, more mature era for the future of Star Wars. And according to Tony Gilroy, the mastermind behind the galaxy far, far away’s first espionage-thriller, The Mandalorian might’ve actually given Andor the strength it needed to succeed.

Luthen Rael riding with Cassian Andor
Credit: Lucasfilm

Speaking with Deadline in a recent interview, the Andor showrunner revealed how The Mandalorian made Andor a better show behind the scenes, claiming that it gave them “the muscle to swing as weird and far as [they] have:”

And ‘The Mandalorian’ helps us. That gave us the muscle to swing as weird and far as we have. But it’s still a huge gamble. And they just backed our play all the way through in the most extraordinary way. And we kept our business clean, and we hit all our deadlines, and did everything we were supposed to do, so we were kind of a good kid in school. So, we were off in London just, during COVID, buttoned up, just making it. And I think everybody’s been very pleased with that. It’s been really good.

Andy Serkis as Kino Loy in 'Star Wars: Andor' star wars
Credit: Lucasfilm

Gilroy continued, explaining that The Mandalorian, which was a “huge gamble” for Disney+ and Lucasfilm at the time, opened the door for Star Wars projects like Andor, and allowed showrunners more creative control:

Yeah, I mean, they took a huge gamble on what we’re doing. And you know how these things go: when they’re this scale, nobody says, ‘Oh, I’m gonna sign on for you to start.’ There’s a long period of time of showing work, and trying to make deals, and you go pretty far along the way. But, they knew what we were gonna do, and I think they very wisely and very badly want to open new lanes into this franchise. Why should it just be this one thing? There’s so many opportunities in the franchise.

Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) and droid B2EMO in 'Star Wars: Andor' (2022). Credit: Lucasfilm
Credit: Lucasfilm

It’s funny to think that, in a way, fans have The Mandalorian to thank for for the incredible first season of Disney+’s Andor. But it does make sense when considering that Mando shattered creative boundaries for Disney, allowing for a bit more experimentation to take place at the studio as it continued to expand its streaming roster.

Andor wouldn’t have worked out the way it did if Gilroy and his writing team didn’t have complete creative control over the story—a lesson Disney undeniably learned from The Mandalorian. When creatives are given the resources and—as Gilroy put it—muscle to execute their full vision, the quality of a film or TV show is made all the more better.

Andor under fire by Corpos
Credit: Lucasfilm

For now, fans of Andor will have to wait patiently for what is hopefully just as stellar of a Season 2. Filming on the new episodes is currently underway, though Gilroy has stepped away from the set in solidarity with the ongoing WGA strike. But fans can remain cautiously optimistic that Andor‘s sophomore season will arrive on Disney+ sometime next year.

What do you think of Tony Gilroy crediting The Mandalorian for Andor‘s success? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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