Andor showrunner and creator Tony Gilroy claims that the show’s entire mandate was “to try to bring in an audience that may be Star Wars reluctant or Star Wars resistant.”
In a recently uploaded clip to the YouTube channel JarJar Abrams, showrunner Tony Gilroy revealed the mandate he was given by Lucasfilm executives for his Andor series.
He said, “They knew what we were going to do and I think they very wisely and very badly want to open new lanes into this franchise. Why should it be just this one thing? There’s so many opportunities in the franchise.”
“So our mandate was to make a new lane. Try to bring an audience that may be Star Wars reluctant or Star Wars resistant, and try to do a really different kind of show for people who may not… and do a show that you didn’t have to watch Star Wars to ever enjoy. And they made an enormous gamble. It’s a huge gamble.”
Gilroy continued, “And they used the down payment, really, of the hardcore passionate fans that you know are going to be there. Those people were really… And The Mandalorian really helps us, that’s what gave us the muscle to go to swing as weird and far as we have.”
“But it’s still a huge gamble,” he reiterated. “And they just backed our play all the way through in the most extraordinary and we kept our business clean and we hit all our deadlines and did everything we were supposed to do. So we were kind of a good kid in school. We were up in London and during Covid buttoned up just making it. I think everybody’s really pleased with that. It’s been really good.”
Gilroy made similar comments when initially promoting the series to Vanity Fair back in May 2022. He told the outlet that his goal was to reach Star Wars averse people, “The really passionate Star Wars community…all those people have a lot of people in their lives that are Star Wars hesitant, or Star Wars averse, or Star Wars reluctant. Their roommate, their husband, the guy at work, whatever.”
He added, “I mean, I want my wife to be watching this show. She couldn’t care less. She’s not that interested in it. She hasn’t been interested in it for the last two years. But my goal is that she really is like, Oh, my God, I’ve got to see the next episode. Without losing anybody, it’s really about enhancing what we have.”
Despite Gilroy claiming the show’s mandate was to reach a new audience, he told Variety in November, “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.
Anyone who has been following Star Wars for any amount of time should not have been surprised that a show whose mandate is to eschew the core audience of the franchise in order to chase a new audience would not have a “gigantic, instantaneous audience.”
In fact, this is not a mandate just for Andor, Kathleen Kennedy made it clear she was going to radically reshape the entire franchise after George Lucas sold the company to The Walt Disney Company.
Kennedy relayed her plans during an appearance at The Most Powerful Women Summit 2015 hosted by Fortune Magazine.
She said, “I think the interesting path we’ve had is the conversation that took place around consumer products. Because there were a lot of companies that were in place who frankly didn’t initially feel that Star Wars was for girls.”
Kennedy continued, “And when you have a company situation where between Lucasfilm and Disney, we were all looking at this situation saying, ‘No, with Star Wars we have to change this. We have to make sure that we create products that are in a sense appealing to both boys and girls.’ What’s wrong with that?”
However, Kennedy made it clear it wasn’t about appealing to both boys and girls, but it was about reshaping the entire company to specifically appeal to girls and females in spite of boys and males, “The fact that the company was bought by The Walt Disney Company has been amazing because they very much support the fact that we are trying to grow in the work force a number of women in executive positions and in all positions inside the company.”
“And with the movies that we are making and with the protagonists that we are putting in the stories. So I get a huge amount of support with that,” she continued.
She then touted, “But we have 50% of our executive team are women. And six out of eight of the people in my story group are women. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people that would be surprised that we’re making Star Wars movies and the majority of the people involved in the development of those stories are women. And I think it’s making a huge difference in the stories that we’re trying to tell.”
This plan has been a complete and utter failure when looking at the longevity of the franchise. Financial analyst and YouTuber Valliant Renegade declared Star Wars a dead brand after Andor’s premiere ratings were released by data tracking company Nielsen.
Renegade explained, “When they can’t even get a big show like this that they probably spent well north of $100 million to create to barely move the needle; it is one of the worst premieres ever,” Valiant Renegade declares.
“Especially when you factor in how much watch time they released. Obi-Wan Kenobi released with two episodes totaling 90 minutes,” he says. “This was 120 minutes with three episodes. Book of Boba Fett and The Mandalorian typically released with one episode. And those episodes were often somewhere around 45 minutes. And they ran up better numbers than three episodes of Andor.”
Valiant Renegade finished his video stating, “You’re dead Star Wars. Go home.”
What do you make of Gilroy admitting the show was made to chase a new audience?