‘Cassian Andor’ Series: ‘Utopia’s Toby Haynes Takes Over Directing Duty From Tony Gilroy Over COVID-19 Concerns

This one has been in the works for a while now, but the news is out there and official: “Utopia” and “Black Mirror” filmmaker Toby Haynes is taking over directing chores for Tony Gilroy on the “Cassian Andor” series, a prequel spin-off from the “Rogue One” movie. Before you cry, “oh no, more ‘Star Wars,’ drama!”, this one is different. Gilroy, who was brought on to direct, edit, and supervise the remaking of “Rogue One” in the film’s extensive reshoots, will still stay on as showrunner and executive producer of the show. He even wrote episodes along with writers Dan Gilroy (“Nightcrawler”) and Beau Willimon (“House Of Cards”).

READ MORE: ‘Cassian Andor’: Tony Gilroy Takes Over As ‘Star Wars’ Spin-Off Showrunner; Dan Gilroy & Beau Willimon Are On The Writing Team

But Gilroy’s life was upended this year. Already in the U.K. in early 2020 getting ready to shoot the ‘Cassian Andor’ series and live in the U.K. for as long as a year, then the March COVID-19 lockdown happened and Gilroy and his family fled back to the U.S. to be at home, but also closer to his elderly parents. All summer, Gilroy and Lucasfilm had to wrestle with an upcoming reality: “Cassian Andor” production needed to start soon, but because of COVID lockdown and precautions, the filmmaker made the difficult decision of staying home.

READ MORE: ‘Rogue One’ Writers Reveal The Story Changes Made During Production, Cassian Used To Be A Double Agent

As Deadline reports, Gilroy, who was supposed to direct the first three episodes at least, has now turned over the directing reigns to U.K. director Toby Haynes who was already being shortlisted to potentially direct other episodes. Sources close to the project told us a few months back that Gilroy was still hoping to direct episodes, maybe the finale and a few episodes toward the end, but all of that is contingent on safety and how well the COVID situation is in the U.K. and the U.S. Given that the U.K. is going through a second-wave of COVID and implementing new precautions as we speak, it would not surprise me if those plans do not come to fruition as hoped, but we shall see. He will still work closely on the show through remote telecommunications regardless.

READ MORE: ‘Cassian Andor’: Adria Arjona Cast As A Lead In ‘Rogue One’ Prequel Series

The untitled series, affectionately known as “Cassian Andor” centers on that character, played by Diego Luna in “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” Spoiler: That Rebel spy and Captain met his maker at the end of the movie, but the series is meant to be a prequel that chronicles his adventures and dangerous missions as a member of the Rebel Alliance.

The series is meant to start shooting next month. Adria Arjona, Denise Gough, Genevieve O’Reilly, Stellan Skarsgard, and Kyle Soller are part of the cast and sources told us some potential American casting had been scuttled because of COVID schedules as well. The show has been described as a “spy thriller” and Alan Tudyk will also reprise his role as K-2SO, Andor’s reprogrammed Imperial droid sidekick.