Some news that’s been bubbling for months, we mentioned a few months back, that’s been verified: there’s been changes in the world of the “Star Wars” spin-off, “Cassian Andor,” a prequel to “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” It’s good news if you’re Tony Gilroy (writer/director of “Michael Clayton“), lesser so, if you’re Stephen Schiff. Schiff, known for his work as a writer and producer on the FX television series “The Americans,” was originally announced as the showrunner of the still-untitled “Cassian Andor” show starring Diego Luna. Subsequent to that, filmmaker Gilroy was brought on to come on board as a writer and director of the series.
Before that, however, Gilroy famously was hired to re-write/-redirect and essentially salvage “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” during extensive reshoots and in the edit, as the film, originally directed by Gareth Edwards, had fallen off course.
Back to the present day. Creative changes have been made and buried in a new “Cassian Andor” casting story, Gilroy has been made the showrunner of the series. He will still direct the pilot, write on the series, and is expected to direct multiple episodes as well. The writing was sort of on the wall the minute Gilroy’s participation was announced, as he saved “Rogue One,” and Lucasfilm likely wanted him in the lead spot from the beginning, but only talked him into returning after the show had already started gearing up. Schiff has essentially been demoted, but has written on the show. Additional writers, no small fish by any means either, include Dan Gilroy (writer/director of “Nightcrawler“) and Beau Willimon (creator/producer/writer “House of Cards“). That trio itself, is a fearsome writing staff.
Meanwhile, two more actors have joined the cast of the show: Denise Gough and Genevieve O’Reilly, who will reprise her role as Mon Mothma whom she played in “Rogue One.” Gough is a two time Olivier Award-winner, known for roles in movies like “Colette” and “The Kid Who Would Be King.” The casting follows on the announcement that Stellan Skarsgard and Kyle Soller were joining the cast as the series begins to ramp up and ready itself for when COVID-19 quarantine has ended and the show can begin production.
Gilroy’s been extremely candid with the trouble Lucasfilm was in with “Rogue One” (“a terrible troubled mess”), but the company apparently liked what the filmmaker had to offer, despite admitting at the time he was not at all a “Star Wars” guy.
Cassian Andor was the pilot, spy, and intelligence officer for the Rebel Alliance, that led the Rogue One squadron mission to steal the Death Star plans on the planet Scariff. The Rogue One team was successful, the plans were then transmitted to Princess Leia’s Rebel Ship and the rest is “Star Wars” history, but Andor and the team sacrificed their lives in the process.
The untitled Cassian Andor show would be a prequel that likely details Andor’s rise to prominence within the Rebel Alliance as well as his time as a Rebel spy (Deadline also notes today that ‘Rogue One’ was more profitable than the expensive “Rise of Skywalker,” just FYI).
The events of “Cassian Andor” also crossed over with the events of “Star Wars: Rebels” and characters from “Rogue One” appeared on the animated show like Saw Gerrera, Bail Organa, C-3PO, and of course, Mon Mothma. Given Mothma is appearing again, it’s totally within reason to speculate we could see some of these characters again, including potentially, former Jedi Ashoka Tano (recently cast for live-action being played by Rosario Dawson) who was a Rebel at the same time Cassian was enlisted and actually served in the same top-secret “Fulcrum” role before him. [THR]