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SYFY WIRE Cassian Andor

WIRE Buzz: Cassian Andor series taps Black Mirror director; SXSW going online for now; more

By James Comtois & Nivea Serrao
Cassian Andor Rogue One

The upcoming Disney+ series centered on the character of Cassian Andor from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has landed a new director. Deadline is reporting that Toby Haynes is on board to direct the first three episodes of the as-yet untitled Star Wars spinoff prequel series. 

Haynes, who directed the Emmy Award-winning Black Mirror episode U.S.S. Callister, replaces Tony Gilroy, who had to step down as director for “COVID-19-related travel reasons,” according to the media outlet. Long story short: the show’s shooting in the U.K. and Gilroy’s based in New York City, so he made a judgement call to pass the reins to Haynes. Gilroy, who helped write the screenplay for Rogue One, is still on board as executive producer and showrunner. 

Diego Luna will reprise his role as Cassian Andor from the film, while Alan Tudyk will return to play K-2SO. The show is also set to star Adria Arjona, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kyle Soller

The series, which focuses on Andor before the events of Rogue One, is in pre-production and scheduled to begin filming next month.

Next, Austin's annual SXSW festival has chosen to go online when it returns next year, though plans for a physical event haven't been ruled out. 

Dubbed "SXSW Online," organizers have announced that 2021 festival attendees will be able to participate in the weeklong celebration of film, television, music, and tech, with screenings and exhibitions being held online, along with the networking opportunities the festival offers. Though there is not much information yet on how the festival plans to achieve this. 

Even with the move online, though, festival organizers haven't given up on the idea of congregating in person as well. "SXSW is working with the City of Austin and public health authorities on plans for a physical event in 2021," reads the announcement.

Earlier this year, the 2020 edition of SXSW was one of the first U.S. conventions to shutter, having been forced to cancel in lieu of the global outbreak of COVID-19. Most other cons followed suit. Many films also had to forego theatrical runs for releases on video on-demand, while some film festivals opted to be held entirely online.

SXSW Online will take place March 16-20, 2021. No word yet on when or if a physical gathering is in the works.

And last but not least, Amazon's The Wheel of Time adaptation is the latest series to restart production following a Hollywood-wide shut down in March. 

Series star Rosamund Pike shared the news in an interview with Collider, noting that the cast and crew have been following all the safety guidelines and protocols put in place, as they attempt to still produce the kind of high quality adaptation fans of the series have been hoping for. 

Written by author Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time books follow the story of Moiraine (Pike), a member of the Aes Sedai who goes to the small town of Two Rivers in search of the "Dragon Reborn," a chosen one destined to either save humanity or bring about its end. She's joined by a group of young men and women as they take off on a journey back to the city of Tar Valon, otherwise known as the "headquarters" of the Aes Sedai. 

The Wheel of Time series is made up of 14 books with the first being published in 1990. Following Jordan's passing in 2007, fellow fantasy author Brandon Sanderson was brought on by Jordan's widow to finish the final three books in the series (The Gathering StormTowers of Midnight, and A Memory of Light) based on Jordan's extensive notes. 

Amazon has yet to set a release date.