The first three episodes of Star Wars: Andor are now available to the viewing public, letting fans get a peek into Disney and Lucasfilm's latest adventure as Diego Luna's Cassian Andor gets his Rogue One prequel story. This also comes as one of the most unique Star Wars entries in some time, as it completed filming without the use of the Volume technology which The Mandalorian made popular.
This tech was used heavily throughout both seasons of The Mandalorian, allowing the actors to come onto a massive set with a near-360-degree screen that let them feel the full environment for which they were shooting. The Volume was later used for Marvel Studios on Thor: Love and Thunder, but even though it has its advantages, it's caused some controversy amongst fans due to the environments not looking as realistic in the final cut.
Only a few weeks ago, Andor creator/producer Tony Gilroy revealed the fact that his series didn't use The Volume for any shooting, causing some online controversy due to the fact that the show deviated from what had worked so well in the recent past for Lucasfilm. Now, Gilroy has cleared the air on the matter, explaining why he decided to go old-school and shoot with real-world locations for Andor.
Andor Producer Discusses The Volume News
Star Wars: Andor producer/creator Tony Gilroy spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the reports regarding his use of real sets for the show rather than The Volume technology.
Gilroy admitted that there weren't any issues with working in The Volume along with real sets, rather explaining how production for the series as a whole came together. This included bringing in numerous crew members that weren't "the traditional Star Wars people," although Gilroy saw the "genius" in them early in the process:
"It wasn’t really an issue. When I came on, Sanne Wohlenberg was the producer of record. She came with the existing pieces of the show. So Sanne was there, but I didn’t know her. She had just done Chernobyl, and it was sort of a shotgun marriage. So here we were together, and I had no idea that she was just going to be this rockstar producer.
And so the first decision you have to make is who’s going to be your production designer. Even in writing, my first call is to the production designer, because everything we do has to be designed. So we put a marker down. It was kind of a test for Disney: 'How serious are you?' We didn’t want to go with any of the traditional Star Wars people. We wanted [production designer] Luke Hull, who was like 12 years old and had just done Chernobyl. He’s just a fricking genius, but non-Star Wars in every way. So we brought him over. As I was doing the [series] bible, I wrote the first three episodes as a sort of a test."
For Gilroy, he would have rather looked to combine shooting on location with using The Volume, although it's impossible to do both at the same time in this day and age. This is largely due to the fact that "everything has to be done" already to shoot with The Volume before "adding the actors" to film the footage needed:
"In a perfect world, we’d be able to shoot location and shoot old school, and then we’d use the Volume when we want to use it. There are times when the Volume would be really good for us, but the technology doesn’t exist to do both. You have to make a choice at this point because of the workflow on the Volume. All your post-production has to be done beforehand. You have to shoot all of your plates. Everything has to be done. When you go in the Volume, everything’s done. You’re just adding the actors."
Gilroy shared that everything is shot "with the actors" and built out from there if necessary, making it clear that there "wasn't a controversy" with his choice to not use The Volume. He would love the chance to use it if possible, although it would have to be in concert with shooting on location:
"Our system is completely different. We shoot everything with the actors, and we build out from there if we need to build out. And those two systems, maybe there’s somebody who’s doing it, but economically, you can’t do [both]. So, automatically, we were just like, 'We have to be a build show.' It wasn’t a controversy, really. I saw it get turned into a controversy the other day, but it’s not like that at all. There are times where we’d love to use it. It does some great things."
No Controversy With Absence of Volume Tech
The Volume has certainly opened up new doors in terms of shooting new Star Wars content, especially with The Mandalorian exploring corners of the galaxy far, far away that hadn't been touched before. But while it has its advantages, it still doesn't encompass everything a production team would need to have to shoot as well as possible.
In the end, Gilroy made it clear that he wasn't avoiding using The Volume while shooting Andor - rather, the team wanted to do as much as they could practically while filling in where they could with that new tech. But as the shooting continued, the Andor team wound up using only real-world shooting to bring this new 12-episode entry to life due to The Volume's additional requirements.
Should the producer get a chance to use The Volume for Andor's upcoming second season, it wouldn't be shocking to see him take the opportunity to try out that method with new worlds to explore.
The first three episodes of Andor are now streaming on Disney+.