The Mandalorian's Key Impact on Andor Season 1 Revealed by Showrunner

By Klein Felt Posted:
Andor Season 1, The Mandalorian, Star Wars logo

According to Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy, The Mandalorian actually secretly improved Season 1 of his Star Wars streaming series. 

Gilroy's Disney+ take on a sci-fi cold war story won audiences over quickly last fall, as Andor became one of the most celebrated Star Wars properties since Disney purchased the IP back in 2012. 

While viewership for the HBO-esque drama was "overwhelmingly lower" than Lucasfilm's other streaming ventures, the series was considered a success with solid word of mouth and a longer tail than most

Obviously, there were a lot of ingredients that made up Andor's superb secret sauce, including a killer writing team, an amazing cast, and a vision that was unimpeded by Disney and Lucasfilm. 

How The Mandalorian Helped Andor

Andor, The Mandalorian
Star Wars

In a conversation with Deadline, Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy revealed how The Mandalorian made Andor a better show behind the scenes. 

Gilroy remarked "The Mandalorian [helped them]" in giving them "the muscle to swing as weird and far as [they] have:"

"And 'The Mandalorian' helps us. That gave us the muscle to swing as weird and far as we have. But it’s still a huge gamble. And they just backed our play all the way through in the most extraordinary way. And we kept our business clean, and we hit all our deadlines, and did everything we were supposed to do, so we were kind of a good kid in school. So, we were off in London just, during COVID, buttoned up, just making it. And I think everybody’s been very pleased with that. It’s been really good.”

The Star Wars showrunner lamented that Disney and Lucasfilm "took a huge gamble on what [they were] doing," and when working on projects "when they’re this scale" full creative freedom is something that is hard to come by:

“Yeah, I mean, they took a huge gamble on what we’re doing. And you know how these things go: when they’re this scale, nobody says, ‘Oh, I’m gonna sign on for you to start.’ There’s a long period of time of showing work, and trying to make deals, and you go pretty far along the way. But, they knew what we were gonna do, and I think they very wisely and very badly want to open new lanes into this franchise. Why should it just be this one thing? There’s so many opportunities in the franchise."

He added their "mandate was to make a new lane" and "try to bring in an audience that are maybe Star Wars-reluctant or Star Wars-resistant:"

"And so, our mandate was to make a new lane, try to bring in an audience that are maybe Star Wars-reluctant or Star Wars-resistant, and try to do a really different kind of show for people who may not– and do a show that you didn’t have to watch Star Wars to ever enjoy. And they made an enormous gamble. I mean, it’s a huge gamble. And they used the down payment of the hardcore, passionate fans that you know are gonna be there."

Speaking on the idea of taking on Andor in the first place, Gilroy revealed he was probably "a little naive about what [he] was getting into:"

“Well, I was a little naive about what I was getting into, probably. The success of Rogue [One] made everyone very excited. They wanted to do a lot of different things. It’s always the possibilities of how can they open the Star Wars franchise, what can they do to change lanes?"

And apparently, the show was not the first direction Disney tried going down, trying their hand at some other Cassian Andor-focused projects before settling on a streaming series:

"And they came back about a show about Diego Luna’s character, Cassian Andor on the show. ‘Can they do a prequel to that, years leading up to that?’ And they tried it. They tried it a couple of different times, but it was a combination of not being kind of wild enough and also the economics of streaming hadn’t really quite arrived as they were doing it.”

Gilroy knew went he saw the vision for the series that it was going to be expensive to make:

“Yeah, but you know, streaming… I mean, you can’t do this show inexpensively. There’s no way to do Star Wars inexpensively. So that Venn diagram of when the moment meets the economy meets the right idea. They came back and I had sent a sort of manifesto critique of one of the other versions in a year earlier, as a friend in court, just as a thing.

However, Disney came back to him and said, "We would actually like to try [the show] and we would like to spend the money to do that:"

 And they came back and they were like, ‘You know this crazy idea that you gave us that you talked about what you would do and it seemed so insane? We would actually like to try that and we would like to spend the money to do that.’ And we began tiptoeing forward with that and that was three and a half years ago. It’ll be five years by the time I’m done.”

Disney Learning From Its Streaming Success

So, who would have known that fans have The Mandalorian to that for the incredible first season of Disney+'s Andor

Mando broke down the streaming door for Disney and allowed for a bit more experimentation to take place at the studio. 

Andor ultimately doesn't work without Tony Gilroy and his team getting to execute on 100% of their vision not hindered by creative meddling.

The series' fairly standalone nature, without too many Easter eggs and cameos from across Star Wars canon (although there are some), actually helps it, becoming this deep-dive character study on Diego Luna's burgeoning Rebel and the people around him.

If that creative freedom had not been granted to Gilroy and co. it would not have been all that surprising if the series was mandated to include more universe-building opportunities, setting up spin-offs and including multiple cheap cameos. This likely would have made the series suffer and not accomplish what Gilroy set out to do. 

Now, fans wait in eager anticipation to see if Andor can follow up its stellar Season 1 with a sophomore effort that is currently in production (despite Gilroy leaving the set due to the ongoing writers strike).

Andor Season 1 can be streamed now on Disney+. 

- In This Article: Andor (Season 2)
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Genevieve O'Reilly
- About The Author: Klein Felt
Klein Felt is a Senior Editor at The Direct. Joining the website back in 2020, he helped jumpstart video game content on The Direct. Klein plays a vital role as a part of the site's content team, demonstrating expertise in all things PlayStation, Marvel, and the greater entertainment industry.