Tony Gilroy, the showrunner and creator for the most recent Star Wars series, Andor, recently admitted the show is “chasing the audience.”
Gilroy recently spoke about the show to Variety, where he was asked how he felt the show had been presented to the world.
After getting some brief clarification about the question, he answered, “I’m very pleased with what they did. The materials are great. I think I was surprised. I thought the show would go the other way, that we would have this gigantic, instantaneous audience that would just be everywhere, but that it would take forever for non-“Star Wars” people or critics or my cohort of friends to get involved in the show.”
“The opposite happened. We ended up with all this critical praise, all this deep appreciation and understanding from really surprising number of sources, and we’re chasing the audience,” he admitted.
He then attempted to explain the series is chasing its audience because streaming is still not understood.
Gilroy explained, “I’ll say this, because it’s a trade publication. Everybody is trying to pretend that this is business as usual: ‘Oh, there’s a comp for this, and there’s a comp for that. And this is how we do it.’ And everybody is faking it. This is an entirely new business. Everybody’s trying to figure it out.”
“You have business affairs trying to pretend with streaming that they understand it and how artists should get paid. We’re going to have a whole bunch of labor issues that are going to come up because of that,” he added.
He then declared, “No one’s ever launched these aircraft carriers before, these gigantic shows. I mean, our show has a budget. We’re tight. But there are shows out there without budgets, really. I mean, there’s some things going on out there that are just like, holy crap!”
Gilroy’s comments appear to be another piece of evidence that “Disney Star Wars is a dead brand” as YouTuber Valliant Renegade declared following the release of the Nielsen premiere ratings for the Star Wars show.
Nielsen released their ratings for the week of September 19-25 and Netflix took the top two spots with the newly released Dahmer series raking in over 3.658 billion minutes. Cobra Kai took second with 1.110 billion minutes.
Andor does not even show up in the Top 10 for Nielsen’s overall ratings.
In order to find Andor, one has to look at the Nielsen Original ratings. The series, which debuted three episodes when it was released on September 21st, clocked in at 624 million minutes.
That was good for only sixth on the originals chart behind Dahmer, Cobra Kai, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, Fate: The Winx Saga, and El rey, Vincente Fernández.
Valiant Renegade assessed these numbers saying, “That means if we assume that everybody who turned on Andor, watched the available watch time to completion, meaning all three episodes from start to finish then that means that somewhere only little north of 5 million people watched the premiere of Andor on Disney+, which is atrocious.”
He continued, “That is less than half that of Rings of Power. That is about a third of that of House of the Dragon. And that’s just over the first night for those other two shows.”
As for why these numbers for Andor are so low, Valiant Renegade posits, “Take a look again at these terrible numbers for Andor, 624 million watch minutes, and soak it in Disney because you did this. Disney’s animosity towards fans is exactly what they’ve received back and even worse they’re received back a wealth of apathy from the Star Wars fandom. They just don’t care anymore.
“You see, it doesn’t matter how good Andor is,” he explains. “And again I understand a lot of people like the show and it’s wonderful and one of the best Star Wars shows that they have made to this point. And that’s great and I’m happy that those fans are enjoying it. I’m not here to take that away from you. I’m strictly here looking at the business side of things. I’m looking at the numbers and I’m reading the tea leaves and they are just flat bad for Star Wars right now.”
The numbers have not improved since its premiere date. In its second week the series only brought in 485 million minutes. Following the release of the show’s seventh episode during the week ending October 23rd, the series only brought in 418 million minutes.
The Walt Disney Company and Lucasfilm also appear to recognize their streaming numbers for Andor are subpar as they recently announced they will be trying to lure new viewers to the show by broadcasting the first two episodes to ABC, Hulu, FX, and Freeform.
The company announced via a press release, “To celebrate the highly anticipated Andor finale on Disney+, and to help kick off the Thanksgiving holiday, The Walt Disney Company will offer viewers a special opportunity to watch the first two episodes of the acclaimed series across its unparalleled distribution platforms including ABC, FX, Freeform and Hulu.”
What do you make of Gilroy’s admission the show is chasing the audience and he expected a built in audience because it was Star Wars?