The Andor TV show is one of the most exciting shows coming into land to Disney Plus in the near future.
While at least three of the five Disney-era Star Wars movies could be described as “divisive”, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story pushed all the right buttons for fans of the original trilogy. Focused on a daring Rebel mission to recover top-secret plans to the Death Star, it led directly into a New Hope, and featured X-Wing-on-TIE Fighter dogfights, Stormtroopers aplenty, and a relentlessly bleak ending. This hotly anticipated prequel series is set to return to that world.
The Andor TV show will tell the story of Rebel spy Cassian Andor before he became part of the Rogue One mission. With Diego Luna reprising the role and Rogue One co-writer Tony Gilroy on showrunning duties, it promises to be an espionage thriller in outer space. We also know that show will have movie-scale production values, with a literal cast of thousands – and that Luna will be joined by a big-name cast in that galaxy far, far away.
So, with this exciting Star Wars offering set for a 2022 debut, TechRadar unleashes the Bothan spies to tell you everything you need to know about the Andor TV show.
Release date: Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed the 12-episode series will debut in 2022.
Cast: Rogue One’s Diego Luna will be joined by an all-star cast including Adria Arjona, Stellan Skarsgård, Fiona Shaw, Robert Emms, Denise Gough and Kyle Soller. Genevieve O’Reilly also reprises her role as Mon Mothma.
Story: Andor is a prequel to the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars story, a spy story focusing on the exploits of intelligence operative Cassian Andor.
Andor release date
Way back in November 2018, then-Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that a Cassian Andor TV show was in development – a whole year before Disney Plus and The Mandalorian made their debuts. Star Diego Luna confirmed in a November 2020 interview with Jimmy Kimmel that, after some Covid-19-related delays, the show had started production. The shoot – which, according to ScreenRant, wrapped in August 2021 – took place at London’s Pinewood Studios, and across the UK.
At Disney’s Investor Day in December 2020 – the one where Lucasfilm and Marvel announced a huge raft of Star Wars and MCU TV shows – Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy confirmed that the show will be called Andor, and that the Andor release date will be some time in 2022.
As for when in 2022 we’ll see it…
We know that The Book of Boba Fett is coming to Disney Plus in December 2021, which means it will continue into 2022. With the streaming service unlikely to wheel out two high-profile Star Wars series at once, the Andor TV show will presumably appear some time after the bounty hunter show is done.
Right now, we’re guessing the Andor show will be the next live-action Star Wars offering to land on the streaming platform – The Mandalorian star Pedro Pascal said in June 2021 that season 3 still hadn’t started production – which means the Andor release date will be February or March at the earliest.
In the sizzle reel below, costume designer Michael Wilkinson confirmed that the Andor TV show runs to 12 episodes. If it does kick off immediately after The Book of Boba Fett is done, that would give time for all of its episodes to air in time for The Bad Batch season 2 to follow the release pattern of its predecessor by landing in early May.
It’s still a bit early to expect a teaser for a series that won’t debut until 2022 – we often have to wait until within a month or two of release for a Star Wars movie or TV show to show off its first footage. But in the absence of a genuine Star Wars: Andor trailer, we do at least have the sizzle reel that debuted at the Disney Investor Day in December 2020.
While it doesn’t reveal any finished scenes from the show, the reel does showcase concept art, costumes and the scale of the production, and features plenty of contributions from Luna and behind-the-scenes department heads.
Besides, the sizzle reel’s Rogue One soundbite of Andor saying, “Everything I did, I did for the Rebellion,” may turn out to be a neat summary of the show…
Andor cast: who’s joining the Rebel Alliance?
The list of confirmed Star Wars: Andor cast members currently looks like this:
- Diego Luna as Cassian Andor
- Adria Arjona as TBC
- Stellan Skarsgård as TBC
- Fiona Shaw as TBC
- Robert Emms as TBC
- Denise Gough as TBC
- Kyle Soller as TBC
- Genevieve O’Reilly as Mon Mothma
The Andor cast is truly vast, with costume designer Michael Wilkinson revealing in the sizzle reel that there are “over 200 named cast members” and “over 6,000 crowd people” (aka extras). This being a typically secretive Star Wars production, however, we only know for sure who a couple of this literal cast of thousands are playing.
Unsurprisingly, Diego Luna is reprising his Rogue One: A Star Wars Story role as the eponymous Rebel spy Cassian Andor. He’ll be joined by another Rogue One veteran in Genevieve O’Reilly, whose involvement was confirmed by the Hollywood Reporter in April 2020.
She’ll be playing Mon Mothma, a member of the Galactic Senate before the fall of the Old Republic, who becomes a prime mover in the formation of the Rebel Alliance. O’Reilly originally played the role in scenes cut from Revenge of the Sith, her uncanny likeness to Caroline Blakiston (who played Mon Mothma in Return of the Jedi) ensuring she looks the part without the need for expensive digital magic.
Luna and O’Reilly will be joined by Good Omens/6 Underground star Adria Arjona, Thor/Dune’s Stellan Skarsgård, Harry Potter/Killing Eve’s Fiona Shaw, Atlantis/Chernobyl’s Robert Emms, Poldark/Anna Karenina’s Kyle Soller, and Olivier Award-winning theater star Denise Gough – though Lucasfilm and Disney are yet to reveal who any of them are playing.
Beyond the officially announced Andor cast, there are unconfirmed rumors we’ll be seeing appearances from more Rogue One characters: The Direct reports that Ben Mendelsohn will be reprising his role as the Death Star’s architect-in-chief Orson Krennic. Meanwhile, Stellan Skarsgård suggested in an interview on Swedish radio that Forest Whitaker’s Saw Gerrera – the loose cannon freedom fighter who first appeared in The Clone Wars – might also be up for a return.
It looks like we’ll have to wait a while to see an appearance from K-2SO, the former Imperial security droid who was Cassian’s right-hand man in Rogue One. While performance capture/voice actor Alan Tudyk was attached to the Andor TV show when it was first announced, he’s no longer set to appear – at least, he isn’t yet…
“They’re shooting it right now, I’m not in it,” Tudyk told Collider in early 2021. “But, if it stays on the air, and stories keep getting told, I’ll end up in there. I’m going to be in the show. It’s just that the story that Tony [Gilroy, showrunner] is telling doesn’t involve K-2SO until later on… I can’t be too specific, but I can definitely say that I’m not going to be in the first season.” Presumably that means that later seasons will feature that important ‘When Cassian met K-2SO’ moment…
While most of the core Rogue One figures – such as Jyn Erso (played by Felicity Jones), Bodhi Rook (Riz Ahmed) and Chirrut Îmwe (Donnie Yen) – don’t start to move in Rebel Alliance circles until that movie, there are several other established characters who could feature in the Andor TV show.
Sex Education’s Alistair Petrie, for example, could reprise his role as General Draven, while regular Clone Wars/Rebels/The Bad Batch voicer Stephen Stanton could feasibly return as Mon Calamari officer Admiral Raddus. Having played Princess Leia’s adoptive father, Bail Organa, in the prequel trilogy and Rogue One, Jimmy Smits also seems a prime candidate for a cameo.
Indeed, one of the fun things about Andor’s spot in the Star Wars timeline is that most of the major players in the franchise are out there somewhere in the galaxy. So don’t be surprised if characters from Star Wars Rebels (set in the same period as Andor) such as ace pilot Hera Syndulla make their live-action debuts, or if Rogue One’s Guy Henry gets to wheel out his Peter Cushing impression once again, as Grand Moff Tarkin.
Most intriguingly of all, we know from Rebels that Anakin Skywalker’s former Padawan, Ahsoka Tano, was pivotal in the formation of the Alliance. Indeed, she was one of the top-secret operatives who worked under the codename ‘Fulcrum’ – Cassian Andor himself will also use the moniker at some point – so there’s a good chance the Jedi will cross paths with one of Andor’s missions. With Rosario Dawson having played the role in The Mandalorian and taking the lead in her own Ahsoka spin-off series, a cameo in Andor seems possible at the least.
Andor production team: who’s behind the camera?
Just as the presence of Diego Luna and Genevieve Reilly ensures a connection with the Rogue One cast, there’s also continuity behind the camera – Tony Gilroy, the Bourne screenwriter who supervised reshoots on Rogue One, is the Andor showrunner.
Having initially been hired as a writer on the series, Gilroy took the top job after the departure of former The Americans showrunner Stephen Schiff in April 2020 (via CBR.com). StarWars.com subsequently confirmed that Schiff remains on board as a scripter, with the writers’ room bolstered by the big-name likes of Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler) and Beau Willimon (House of Cards).
Although Tony Gilroy, who picked up an Oscar nomination for directing Michael Clayton, was originally attached to helm episodes, Deadline reported in September 2020 that Covid-19 concerns had prompted him to stay in New York, rather than join the UK-based production.
Instead, Doctor Who and Black Mirror director Toby Haynes was brought in to call the shots on the opening three episodes. ScreenRant reported in February 2021 that Susanna White (who includes Nanny McPhee Returns, and episodes of Boardwalk Empire and Masters of Sex on her resumé) and Ben Caron (The Crown) will also direct instalments.
Andor story: how it ties into the Star Wars universe
Beyond the fact that StarWars.com has confirmed that the show “takes place five years before the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” and is a “rousing spy thriller [that] will explore tales filled with espionage and daring missions to restore hope to a galaxy in the grip of a ruthless Empire”, Lucasfilm and Disney are being as cagey as you’d expect about the Andor plot.
From the minimal intel that’s made it past the production’s energy shield, it sounds like the Andor TV show will play out like James Bond – or, given Tony Gilroy’s involvement, Jason Bourne – in a galaxy far, far away.
Luna told Jimmy Kimmel that, “it’s basically everything you have to know to understand Rogue One.” We know from early scenes of that movie – where Andor kills an informant who may compromise his mission – that Luna’s character is capable of performing brutal acts in the name of the Rebellion. It’s also hinted that he has a murky past that could be explored in the new Andor TV show – perhaps we’ll be seeing the beginnings of a path to redemption that culminated in Rogue One.
That “five years before the events of Rogue One” setting means Andor will overlap significantly with the Rebels animated series. That show revealed how the Rebel Alliance united numerous cells of freedom fighters into a collective capable of winning its first significant victory at the Battle of Scarif – and subsequently taking down the Death Star. In other words, expect the series to detail the origins of the Alliance. As Diego Luna teased in the sizzle reel: “There’s tons of possibilities to explore. It is the building of a revolution.”