Star Wars is coming to the small screen in brand new ways courtesy of Disney+, where a number of live-action shows will debut to expand that galaxy far, far away. A Cassian Andor-centric series set in the years prior to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was one of the first announced, but not the quickest off the ground. Now, the show has experienced a shake-up behind-the-scenes, although there is still plenty of good news.
Tony Gilroy, who co-wrote and co-edited Rogue One before signing on as showrunner for the Cassian Andor series, has dropped out of directing the first three episodes, which is a considerable change as the show evidently heads back toward production. That said, Gilroy giving up directing duties doesn't necessarily mean that more delays are on the way. Deadline reports that the show has already found Gilroy's replacement in the form of Toby Haynes, who has helmed episodes of Utopia, Sherlock, and of course an unforgettable episode of Black Mirror.
The switch from Tony Gilroy to Toby Haynes reportedly has nothing to do with Gilroy's vision for the first three episodes, but is rather due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Rogue One spinoff is slated to film in the United Kingdom, while Gilroy lives in New York. He decided that staying in New York and handing directing those first three episodes over to Haynes was the best move. Haynes was already in the U.K., and he was reportedly already on the list of potential directors to helm episodes of the show down the line.
Toby Haynes taking over the directing duties for the first three episodes is a big deal, insofar as those episodes will launch a high-profile Star Wars series starring characters from a super successful Star Wars film, following the smash hit that is The Mandalorian. Still, the show itself likely won't be too seriously impacted by the switch. Tony Gilroy remains on board as showrunner and executive producer.
Tony Gilroy, who once stated that he "had no reverence" for Star Wars when the time came for Rogue One reshoots, is actually the second showrunner attached to the Cassian Andor series. Stephen Schiff of The Americans fame was announced as the original showrunner in late 2018. Gilroy as his replacement was announced back in April 2020.
The Rogue One prequel spinoff apparently made it four weeks into production before having to shut down due to the pandemic, and star Diego Luna previously revealed that he was in no rush to start filming. With news of Toby Haynes taking over as director of the first three episodes due to his location, all signs point toward the show getting closer and closer to filming.
A big question now is whether or not the Cassian Andor series will be the first live-action Star Wars series ready to premiere on Disney+ following the groundbreaking (and Emmy-winning) Mandalorian. Ewan McGregor's upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi show already has a plan to start filming in spring 2021, and that will be a limited series rather than a potentially ongoing spy thriller like Diego Luna's show.
A fourth live-action series has also been ordered, but details are scarce enough on that front that my money is on either the Cassian show or the Obi-Wan limited series debuting next, and I give the edge to Cassian. For now, you can look forward to The Mandalorian Season 2 hitting Disney+ on October 30, with plenty of additional Star Wars options also available on the streamer. For some upcoming viewing options set elsewhere than the galaxy far, far away, check out our 2020 fall TV premiere schedule.