Andor — out Wednesday on Disney+ Hotstar — in essence, is a spy thriller set in the Star Wars universe. Created by Tony Gilroy, the latest chapter in Lucasfilm’s space opera saga is a prequel to his spin-off film, Rogue One — following the Rebel spy Cassian Andor, five years prior to the 2016 movie. While initially, Gilroy was attached to direct the series, plans were changed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, sidelining him as the creator and head writer of the show.
Despite being titled Andor, the Disney+ series sheds light on an array of key events and characters, at a time when the Rebel Alliance is forming against the Galactic Empire. Tracing back to our young thief Andor’s childhood homeworld, which gets destroyed by the oppressive rulers, we witness his rise to become a “rebel hero,” as he plans to infiltrate the organisation. With season 2 on the way, the plot eventually ties into Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, where he helps steal plans to the Death Star. But by then, he has established himself as the Rebel captain and intelligence officer.
But unlike the Felicity Jones-led movie, Andor has a hint of realism. While filming Rogue One, cinematographer Greig Fraser (The Batman, Dune) came up with the idea to use LED screens to project a digital background, in an attempt to avoid weird lighting issues on a green/ blue screen. The technique was employed in later Star Wars projects, such as The Mandalorian, The Book of Boba Fett, and the much more recent Obi-Wan Kenobi. Andor, however, is the first live-action Star Wars series to forgo the StageCraft tech, and instead, rely on real-world locations and large sets.
After filming a good chunk at the Pinewood Studios in London, the main production moved to Scotland, building large-scale set pieces around Cruachan Dam and its long, dark tunnels. “In Pitlochry, Scotland, we had to walk for hours up a mountain to set up one shot. Huge effort. Really dangerous to get there. All you can see around you is sky, trees, rivers, lakes. Amazing! Like being on another planet,” Luna said in an interview.
With that, here’s everything you need to know about Disney+’s Andor:
Andor release date and time in India
Andor releases Wednesday, September 21, at 12:30pm IST, exclusively, on Disney+ Hotstar in India. The show will be available to stream in English and Hindi languages, and premieres with the first three episodes.
The show was originally set to premiere on August 31, with a weekly Wednesday schedule, but was delayed by a month. While Disney never explained the pushback, we could assume the decision was made to avoid an overlap with the Marvel series She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, which was set to release on August 18. By the time Andor releases, the latter has already debuted its five episodes — of nine in total. By giving each franchise its own slot, Disney+ perhaps manages to keep viewers engaged with two highly-anticipated titles in a subsequent fashion.
After the special three-episode premiere on September 21, the 12-episode (total) Andor is slated to conclude on November 23.
|Episode Title||Release Date||Director||Writer|
|Andor episode 1||September 21, 2022||Toby Haynes||Tony Gilroy|
|Andor episode 2||September 21, 2022||Toby Haynes||Tony Gilroy|
|Andor episode 3||September 21, 2022||Toby Haynes||Tony Gilroy|
|Andor episode 4||September 28, 2022||Susanna White||Dan Gilroy|
|Andor episode 5||October 5, 2022||Susanna White||Dan Gilroy|
|Andor episode 6||October 12, 2022||Susanna White||Dan Gilroy|
|Andor episode 7||October 19, 2022||Benjamin Caron||Stephen Schiff|
|Andor episode 8||October 26, 2022||Toby Haynes||Beau Willimon|
|Andor episode 9||November 2, 2022||Toby Haynes||Beau Willimon|
|Andor episode 10||November 9, 2022||Toby Haynes||Beau Willimon|
|Andor episode 11||November 16, 2022||Benjamin Caron||Tony Gilroy|
|Andor episode 12||November 23, 2022||Benjamin Caron||Tony Gilroy|
Luna returns to play the titular Andor, fueled by vengeance and an undying thirst to tip over the Empire. As stated before, the series follows his transition from a regular thief to becoming a spy, as he employs tricks of deception, manipulation, and stealth, to establish an identity within the confines of the evil organisation. Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Luna affirmed that the show will challenge “every idea” fans had about the character, and will recontextualise the future Rebel hero’s role. “Everyone who watched Rogue One thinks they have the answer. So we’re going to challenge that, and we’re going to come to you and say, ‘No, listen, things were not the way you imagined. They were this way. This had to happen for someone to become the person you know,” he said.
While Mon Mothma has served as an intriguing Star Wars side character for years, Andor puts her closer to the heart of the action. Played by Genevieve O’Reilly, the senator tries to navigate the politics of the Empire, while secretly fomenting the opposition — the Rebellion. The actress played the political figure on and off since 2005’s Revenge of the Sith, and now gets to flesh out her backstory. “It feels really weird because it’s kind of going about it backwards, but because I know where we’re going, I feel like I can be curious in a really specific way,” she said in an interview.
Details on Stellan Skarsgård’s character Luthen Rael are scarce, but he is hinted at as a crucial figure in driving Andor’s legacy. In an interview, creator Gilroy revealed that the show begins with a simple situation for a thief, where he gets in trouble and has to save his skin. Turns out, that a Rebel scout has been watching Andor with interest, and plans to recruit him. This could very well be Rael, who is seen in the trailer trying to convince the thief, to be part of “something real” — to join forces and fight back against the Empire.
Following her appearance in Morbius, Adria Arjona returns in this major Star Wars IP. Bix Caleen is described as an ally to the Rebellion, having had a complicated on-again/off-again relationship with Andor. In an interview, Arjona described that Caleen’s perfect life of managing a salvage yard was interrupted by Andor. “–you can sense that they have a history and their dynamic is complicated. You can almost tell that their trust has been built and broken and built and broken over the course of many, many years,” she added. The pair even recorded Spanish dubs for their characters.
Denise Gough (Under the Banner of Heaven) is billed fifth on the list as Dedra Meero, a high-ranking Imperial officer, who has taken a dislike to Andor. Drawing inspiration from Breaking Bad villain Gustavo Fring’s meticulous nature, Meero is an ambitious advocate for the organisation — looking down on her peers and trying to be “10 times better” than anyone else in the room. To display her prowess to the Imperial Security Bureau, she conjures plans to capture Andor — something her lazy colleagues aren’t keen on doing. “She’s surrounded by lazy, slouching, kind of, corner-cutting boys! And she doesn’t like it,” Gough said in an interview. “So, she’s going to climb the ranks, at whatever cost, to everyone else.”
But Meero is not the only obstacle on Andor’s path to success. Syril Karn — played by Kyle Soller — a blue-uniformed Imperial officer is also on the hunt for the rebel spy, though he’s stuck in the very far reaches of the galaxy, where the Empire doesn’t have a big influence. Struggling to make his way up the ranks, he is described as a desperate individual, who sides with the Empire due to his history. “He doesn’t have a father,” Soller told Total Film magazine. “He was raised by his mother, who is sort of the stage mother from hell. He has an extreme sense of need to impress, and fill a hole in himself. And so that really is about ascending to the top of whatever field he’s in.”
Fiona Shaw — best known as Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter movies — plays Maarva, the adopted mother of Cassian Andor. Interestingly, her character is displayed in two separate instances of life — the first being the older version who is nearing the end of their lives and working out their values. “Then there’s this younger version of Maarva — of how she came about, how she found Cassian,” she noted in an interview. “–and how she rather beautifully saved him, loved him, brought him up.”
Forest Whitaker (Panic Room) reprises his role as Saw Gerrera, a veteran of the Clone Wars, who is seen teaming up with Rael in the trailer. Meanwhile, Kathryn Hunter (The Tragedy of Macbeth) appears as Eedy Karn, Syril’s mother, and Anton Lesser plays an unnamed Imperial officer.
Andor special look
As part of Disney+ Day, the studio released a special look feature for Andor, ahead of its release on September 21. The nine-minute footage featured a brief interview with showrunner Gilroy and lead Luna, who described the filming process — which is to build a large-scale Star Wars story for the small screen. Gilroy was committed to exploring Andor’s past which led him to become so passionate to end the Empire’s regime. “I wanna see how and what did it take to get there, and how far away could he be?”
But the crux of the special look — out now on Disney+ Hotstar — is some exclusive footage showing Andor’s first meet-up with Rael. The footage begins with Andor handing over a mysterious box to Rael, in a discrete location — which is revealed to be stolen from the Empire. When questioned on how he stole it, Andor casually replies, “You just walk in like you belong. […] To steal from the Empire? What do you need? A uniform, some dirty hands, and an Imperial toolkit.”
Rael then reveals himself to be quite the observer, offering Andor a choice to join him in fighting the Empire. As someone who has trust issues, it is declined, right before a troop of Imperial soldiers raid the location — ultimately transpiring in gunfire and Andor escaping the scene.
Here’s the official synopsis for Andor from Disney+:
“Andor,” a spy thriller from Lucasfilm filmed over two 12-episode seasons, takes place five years before the events of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.” The era featured in “Andor” is filled with danger, deception and intrigue where Cassian will embark on the path that is destined to turn him into a rebel hero. “Andor” presents Star Wars from a different perspective, focusing on everyday people whose lives are affected by the Empire. The decisions they make have real consequences, and the stakes for them—and the galaxy—couldn’t be higher.
On May 27, Disney+ unveiled a brief teaser for Andor, which set the moody tone for the Star Wars prequel. The warning gong of a bell plays over the footage, as the citizens prepare for the Empire’s arrival on their planet. There’s also a glimpse at young Cassian, a migrant, who grows into a revolutionary — seen climbing through crevices and making way into the Empire’s headquarters. At this point, the series was set to release on August 31, with a two-episode premiere.
The studio then dropped an official trailer on August 1, which functioned as a release date change announcement, while offering some context into the characters. We see Rael asking Andor to join the Rebellion’s cause — as seen in the special look — while the Empire establishes its authority on the citizens. It also features some quick glimpses at the real-world locations the show has been filmed in, before dropping the new September 21 debut date.
At Disney’s D23 Expo, held on September 10, the studio unveiled the final Andor trailer, focused on the power struggle between the Rebellion and the Empire, as matters erupt into war. Meero orders a hunt for Andor, while senator Mothma, conspiring with the rebels, brings up concerns regarding the people’s safety. “Do you realise what you’ve set in motion? People will suffer,” she tells a determined Rael.
At the time of publishing, there’s no word on when the first reviews are expected. Going by previous Disney+ shows, reviews usually drop a day ahead of release.
Andor season 2?
The first season of Andor — comprising 12 episodes — chronicles one year in the rebel spy’s life. Season 2, however, covers four years, as it jumps across several timelines. “The scale of the show is so huge. Directors work in blocks of three episodes, so we did four blocks [in Season 1] of three episodes each. [For Season 2] we looked and said, ‘Wow, it’d be really interesting if we come back, and we use each block to represent a year’,” Gilroy told Empire. Meaning, that each three-episode segment in season 2 amounts to a year, with the final shot directly segueing into the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Andor season 2, containing another 12 episodes, reportedly begins filming in November — thereby ending his saga and opening ways to the 2016 movie.
Here’s the official poster for Andor from Disney+: