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We got some more details today about the arc of the upcoming Disney+ Star Wars series, Andor, a prequel story centered on the Rebellion spy, Cassian Andor. Actor Diego Luna returns to play the titular role, and serves as an executive producer on the series along with showrunner Tony Gilroy, who also co-wrote the script for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. At today's Disney+ Television Critics' Association panel for the series, Gilroy and Luna clarified that Andor will only have two seasons and tell Cassian's story over a period of five years.
"We are covering one year in our first 12 episodes that we've completed," Gilroy told reporters, including SYFY WIRE. "We are going to do another 12 episodes starting this November." He explained that they've organized the second season to be shot in blocks of three episodes with one director, and each block will tell a contained story from Cassian's history in the four years leading directly into Rogue One.
"Last year, we were looking at the difficulty of doing five years," Gilroy shared. "It seemed like it would take the next 30 years, so we were like, 'What are we going to do?' And the answer just elegantly presented itself in front of us; each block of three is going to represent another year closer."
Gilroy said in his 30-year career as a screenwriter he's never had the opportunity to tell an ongoing story in this way. "We built it up and we're very excited about it," he enthused. "We get to take the formative forging of of Cassian Andor in the first 12 episodes. And then we get to take that organism that we built up, and we get to run it through the next four years in a really exciting narrative fashion. Our last scene of the show, our 24th episode, will walk the audience directly into Rogue One and walk you directly into the first scenes of Rogue One."
Luna concurred that containing Cassian's story to just two seasons evolved from early talks about multiple, ongoing seasons to this new plan because of the scale of what they accomplished in Season 1. Blaming Gilroy's ambition, Luna said with admiration: "We didn't do a season of something. We basically did four films with that intensity, with that complexity, with that rigorous work that pays attention to every detail. It is impossible for anyone to think about doing this for five seasons. It will be 15 years of your life and I don't think anyone could be ready for that.
"But this idea is very strong," Luna continued. "It's very strong and it is something that we see possible. I'm so excited we're doing it and then we're doing it already because we have to start now. Otherwise people would have to wait ages between Season 1 and 2. We have to start right away, when we're in the peak of excitement. We are ready to deliver this one and we're already working on the next one."
Within Season 2, Gilroy and Luna hinted that the story of how Cassian and K2-SO (Alan Tudyk) became partners would be part of that storytelling. "It's a story that ultimately we have to, and really are eager to tell. We have a very interesting way, we think, to do it," Gilroy teased.
Gilroy also clarified that the delay is because of the logic of where Cassian is in the first season of the series. "We're starting him so far away from a person that would know how or be motivated to reprogram an Imperial droid. That's is a very distant concept for the Cassian Andor we're introducing in our first season."
He added, "And it's difficult to carry an Imperial droid around with you and not draw all kinds of various attention. It's a difficult piece of luggage to be bringing with you everywhere you go. So when we do it, we'll do it in a spectacular, I hope, fashion. It'll be the way it should be done as opposed to presenting it and ignoring it, or presenting it and hiding it, or all the different things that are the bad versions that we would have been forced to do."
Andor debuts Sept. 21 with three episodes on Disney+.
Looking for more dark sci-fi space adventures? SYFY's acclaimed Battlestar Galactica adaptation is streaming now on Peacock.