Why Andor Ditched a Digital Trick Used by Every Star Wars Series Before It
Andor‘s creator turned off the Volume when crafting Disney+’s latest live-action Star Wars series — meaning, he did not use the massive, ultra-HD video wall that deposits actors in the middle of digitally generated environments.
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The Volume (aka Stagecraft) was first memorably deployed by Disney+’s The Mandalorian, after which The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi both used the virtual, non-practical backdrop. But Andor, which filmed in London, Scotland and other locales, instead exclusively built massive sets and filmed at actual locations.
Explaining the filmmaking choice, Andor creator and writer Tony Gilroy clarified for TVLine at the Television Critics Association summer press tour on Wednesday, “Nobody’s against the Volume — the Volume is fantastic for the things that it’s for.”
Andor, however, “is just on a massively epic scale, and people would be running off the set all the time,” quipped Gilroy.
A prequel to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Andor focuses on Cassian Andor (played again by Diego Luna) and his journey to discover the difference he can make. Season 1’s 12 episodes will be set five years prior to Rogue One and span one year in time, whereas Season 2 (another 12 episodes) will cover the remaining four years.
In addition to Luna, the cast includes Stellan Skarsgård (Chernobyl), Adria Arjona (Emerald City), Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve), Kyle Soller (Poldark) and Denise Gough (Under the Banner of Heaven), while Genevieve O’Reilly and will reprise her Rogue One role as Mon Mothma, the former Republic senator who eventually helped found the Rebel Alliance, and Forest Whitaker will make an appearance as Rogue One‘s Saw Gerrera.
“Believe me, there were things we wish we COULD have done on the Volume, they might have been simpler!” Gilroy allowed. “But our show is wide, it’s huge, we have 211 speaking parts…. I think if we have this conversation at the end of the show, it will be different, because the width and breadth and visual ambition and traveling ambition of the show is huge. It just didn’t lend itself to that kind of production.”
But make no mistake, Gilroy is among the many to marvel at the Volume’s potential.
“The technology is extraordinary,” he asserted. “My god, it’s going to become a larger, larger force in all filmmaking.” But, “The problem is right now there is no good way to do both,” he explained. “You kind of have to make a decision to be a Volume show or a non-Volume show.”
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