Tony Gilroy believes that revolution is always in his mind. His latest venture is: AndorCritically acclaimed filmmaker of movies such as the Bourne Trilogy Michael ClaytonHis knack for turning bureaucratic dramas into unforgettably energetic action has been taken to extraordinary heights. Andor is both the very best of Star Wars and something entirely different, a show that takes the pieces of what’s always been there and presents them in a newly considered way.
These are the following Andor’s season 1 finale, Gilroy spoke to Polygon about the show’s slow-burn approach to revolution, where all its characters are heading, and his thoughts about what Kino Loy could be up to.
[Ed. note: Spoilers for the Andor finale follow.]
Polygon: So let’s start with the cliffhanger. Was your plan always to have the show end with Andor putting himself at Luthen’s mercy?
Tony Gilroy: Yeah — I thought 12 episodes was a good length of time. Our first chapter should focus on him becoming a disillusioned and self-interested moth to stand up after that year. The end result was exactly what I expected. Take me out or kill me. This was the mark we had been looking for.
Did it ever seem like the intention to have this change happen on Ferrix For Andor and for this moment, where people can get involved in a large way?
Well yeah, because we want to show that it’s not just him. You’re watching Ferrix itself […]Radicalization. Maarva’s speech is really — that fuse has been lit all the way through. They were minding their own business, weren’t they? They were happy, as she said, you know, “We were happy to just go about our jobs and have them leave us alone.” Well, that’s not good enough anymore. People need to choose sides.
It’s not just good dramatic structure. It’s also really real — what’s happening to him is happening to where he lives. We and I are both very concerned about where he lives. The soul of Ferrix, and the investment that we’ve put into building Ferrix, and building a culture there. It is obvious how deeply it has gotten by the end of funeral. A lot of people who worked on the show are very upset we’re leaving Ferrix. It means something. And it’s a mirror, isn’t it? It’s a mirror to him. It’s the way for him to see what’s happening inside of him writ large on the streets.
What is the secret to finding space for all this stuff and pushing people around in so many different ways? Andor and Bix are not the only ones affected by this. Bix is shattered by this, and we don’t know if she’s going to be OK.
Look at everyone! Wilmon! [Muhannad Bhaier]. I mean, that’s the making of a revolutionary; what’s going to happen to Wilmon? Vel and Cinta are already there, they’re already in on it. But has this experience changed them, what’s happened to them? Luthen has a plan. [Andor]. And by the end — god, when Maarva’s giving her eulogy, you see the smile on Luthen’s face.
You can imagine yourself as a revolutionary, or a real revolutionary who hides in shadows and lights these sparks of flame all over. He can feel the joy in creation when he stands there doing what he likes.It’s happening, my God. That is all I can hope for.. Everyone is affected.
From a storytelling perspective, the best thing about this show is its beauty [is]This story will be told on 1,500 pages. These are 650 pages worth of script we have just finished. And that’s an incredible amount of real estate. And we have these beautiful actors — the actors that we’ve been handed, when you have actors that are that great, they’ve elevated the writing so much. It’s sort of like all of a sudden you’re handed a Stradivarius instead of an old fiddle and you’re like,Wow! I really can play.. And everybody’s upped their game because of that.
So the opportunity to tell all these different stories and the opportunity to give all the different points of view — and even the characters that we’ve forgotten about. One of my favorites parts about the show, I think, is when they do it. [Andor’s]We hear Nemik back after we listen to the manifesto. And all the people that we’ve met along the way that have contributed for the audience, to the audience, but It is really contributed to building Cassian into the guy who’s going to be able to pull off Rogue One — and sacrifice his life! Happily! It’s not happiness, but openly, conscious, and willingly giving his life for the greater good. It is so difficult to admit that. Man, this is what it was leading for, for me, this is what’s worth it. That’s just — I mean, that’s something that obviously fascinates me. And I’m confused by it, because I’ve spent five years of my life now dealing with it.
Bouncing off this, I’m curious what has informed your thinking about the politics of revolution, and is there any reading that you go to, just to help inform both your dramatic and political approach here?
I’m like probably a lot of people: I’m a drive-by historian. While I have read quite a bit of history, I did so in an amateur screenwriting way. But I have quite a library and there isn’t a moment in history — pick your revolution! There’s just a revolution everywhere! It’s easy to see! […]The Irgun or the Montagnards or the Continental Congress or the Haitian slave rebellion. I mean, the entire expanse of history it’s almost impossible to read your way through without finding revolutions everywhere. These revolutions are all around us. AllYou can share some things. They all have unique dynamic and are each unique.
So what’s really cool about the show is if you’ve been looking at all this stuff for your whole life, I don’t have to be contemporary. I don’t have to say this is a comp for something exactly that’s happening right now. Because I know that there’ll be infinite numbers of connections that people can make for all kinds of things because I’m going back and picking through the last 3,000 years of recorded history, and I can say, The catalog of revolutionsThis is very interesting. Was it possible? What happened when the Sicilians went up against the French, and this is really what’s fascinating when they built Palestine.
I mean, what the Russian Revolution is — when the Rebel Alliance comes together, it has nothing on the complexity of building the Russian Revolution, and all the various factions that pull together and […]Politics becomes personal for each person. It’s just such a great opportunity to kind of use and reflect back on all the things that I guess have interested me as a reader in the last 20 years.
I’m a big fan of Michael Clayton. Does there exist a version of Michael ClaytonYou know, somewhere in Star Wars Universe? What story would you like to tell?
Kathy Kennedy was the one I said, you know. [president of Lucasfilm]In the beginning when we started working, Rogue One, and everyone’s like, We want to try so many different things!. [And I was like], Is there anything you can do? What can we do in Star Wars to create a Star Wars courtroom drama? Can we do You can inherit the wind? She was just like Oh my god, that’s, I mean, yeah, I mean, if this works, if we can open a new lane and the economics can work, there’s no reason why [not]. You could be a lawyer, yes! Kino Loy may become an attorney. I don’t know!
I mean: That’s what we’re trying to do. And I think that’s what Lucasfilm was trying to do. I think that’s why Disney is backing our play so hard, is the opportunity to expand this out and open a new lane for new kinds of storytelling within the frame. That would be the dream and that’s what we’re trying to do. This is not a baby step, obviously; we’re taking four giant steps with this show. But there’s a lot of room in between where we left and where we are, and there’s a lot of room all around us for all kinds of different things. You should have a comedy show. A sitcom! A Star Wars sitcom would be a great idea.
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