One of the most defining traits of the recent “Star Wars” series has been their extensive use of StageCraft, the ultra-HD ‘Volume’ video-wall technology that offers in-camera effects and immersive digital environments.
“The Mandalorian,” “The Book Of Boba Fett” and “Obi-Wan Kenobi” all utilized the technology heavily for a bunch of their sequences. The upcoming “Rogue One” prequel series “Andor” will not.
In fact, series creator and showrunner Tony Gilroy has surprisingly revealed to Empire the show didn’t touch it: “Yep, we’re old-school. We didn’t use StageCraft at all.”
This resulted in the building of massive sets at Pinewood along with plenty of location shooting with practical elements in an effort to capture a gritty texture in a dark and sinister time in the “Star Wars” universe.
On the one hand the actors loved some of it, star Diego Luna says: “As an actor, it’s beautiful. Everything is mechanical. You’re interacting with real stuff.” However, there were downsides, such as some Scottish locations that required hours of effort to reach setup certain shots.
One thing they did love, was the darker and more mature storytelling the show aims to offer, with Gilroy saying: “The freedom on this show was unprecedented. I’ve never had this level of trust, even with pictures I had final cut on.”
The show also isn’t afraid to get political. Gilroy says: “Sci-fi has always been an interesting way to talk about real issues. I didn’t come here to do the same old thing. There are refugee aspects to our series; there are political aspects. We have all the food groups.”
Actress Fiona Shaw, who plays Andor’s mother, says: “Tony has written a great, scurrilous [take] on the Trumpian world. Our world is exploding in different places right now, people’s rights are disappearing, and ‘Andor’ reflects that.”
Gilroy added that he had “no interest” in “Star Wars” before he signed on for “Rogue One,” and his emotional detachment helped on that as it was a ‘doctoring job’. It also helps here as he says: “I wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t something that really interested me. Our goal with the show is ambitious but simple. We want to blow the hardcore ‘Star Wars’ people away. But we also want their husband, neighbor, sister – that person in their life who’s never gotten why they like ‘Star Wars.’ We’re absolutely going for both audiences.”
“Andor” is slated to premiere with three episodes on September 21st.