Diego Luna hides a laugh in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. (Image: Lucasfilm Ltd.)
“Hey K, we have a writer!”

Good news on the creative front! Variety has announced Rogue One co-writer Tony Gilroy is signed on to write the pilot episode for the unnamed Cassian Andor spy series on Disney Plus. Gilroy co-wrote Rogue One: A Star Wars Story after inheriting the screenplay from two other writers and running multiple re-shoots on the film.

 Tony Gilroy attends a screening of "Beirut" at the Robin Williams Center, in New York NY Special Screening of "Beirut", New York, USA - 10 Apr 2018.  Mandatory Credit: Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9623453al)
Tony Gilroy attends a screening of “Beirut” at the Robin Williams Center, in New York NY Special Screening of “Beirut”, New York, USA – 10 Apr 2018. Mandatory Credit: Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock (9623453al)

Gilroy is signed on to direct multiple episodes alongside showrunner Stephen Schiff. Not much is known about the show other than it will focus on Cassian Andor and his early career as a spy for the rebellion. The show is billed as a “spy thriller”. Diego Luna will reprise his role as Cassian Andor, and K-2SO will be once again played by Alan Tudyk. No release date has been announced, but sources hint at a 2021 release.

The popularity of Rogue One

A recent poll by IGN found Rogue One topped the chart of the best of the modern Star Wars films, beating out Revenge of the Sith by 17 percentage points. Fans have said frequently that the darker, grittier Star Wars film gives weight and significance to the actual sacrifice the Rebellion endured for those Death Star plans. Ironically, that is exactly what Gilroy had in mind when he came on the Rogue One set in London in 2016.

The cast of Rogue One
The cast of Rogue One

“If you look at Rogue, all the difficulty with Rogue, all the confusion of it … and all the mess, and in the end when you get in there, it’s actually very, very simple to solve. Because you sort of go, ‘This is a movie where, folks, just look. Everyone is going to die.’ So it’s a movie about sacrifice.”

Tony Gilroy on Rogue One

Danger Ahead: Gilroy is not a Star Wars fan

The Moment With Brian Koppelman podcast interviewed Gilroy back in 2018. A candid discussion ensued about his role in Rogue One and what he was hired by Lucasfilm to do:

“I’ve never been interested in Star Wars, ever. So I had no reverence for it whatsoever. I was unafraid about that… And they were in such a swamp… they were in so much terrible, terrible trouble that all you could do was improve their position (concerning re-shoots).”

“It doesn’t appeal to me (he said of making another Star Wars film), but I don’t think Rogue really is a Star Wars movie in many ways. To me, it’s a Battle of Britain movie.”

Tony Gilroy
The Battle of Britain 1940, painting by Robert Taylor

On the surface, those statements would worry most Star Wars fans. One comment endlessly repeated by the fandom is to hire someone for these films that is also a fan (Jon Favreau comes to mind). However, the results of Rogue One speak for themselves; a huge global box office haul of over $1 billion and 85% Rotten Tomatoes rating, plus lofty feedback from the fans.

Star Wars Writer Amy Ratcliffe on seeing Rogue One for the first time

“I was initially taken aback by and, quite frankly, borderline rejected the Rebel Alliance being portrayed as anything besides squeaky clean and innately ‘good.’ However, this ultimately became one of my favorite parts of the movie. The Rogue One portrayal shows a grittier, morally flexible and dirtier Rebel Alliance than in previous versions, which gives it more depth and humanity. Each of the main characters are seeking some type of redemption after being morally polluted in their struggle against the Empire, which I feel is a more realistic portrayal of the affects a nearly two-decade rebellion would have on a person, than had been previously shown on screen.”

Fan interview with Starwars.com writer Amy Ratciffe, 2017

Why did they pick Tony Gilroy for Cassian Andor series (Or Rogue One)?

He does come with a good screenplay pedigree. His extensive work on the Jason Bourne films for one, directing 2012’s The Bourne Legacy. In addition, he worked on the legal drama Michael Clayton starring George Clooney in his directorial debut. The film earned Oscar nominations for best director and best screenplay. The Devil’s Advocate with Al Pacino and Keanu Reeves, and Dolores Claiborne, starring Kathy Bates are also in his stable.

Gareth Edwards and Diego Luna during Rogue One re-shoots
Gareth Edwards and Diego Luna as Cassian Andor during Rogue One re-shoots

Gilroy is credited with a screenwriting credit on Rogue One, hired by Lucasfilm to oversee the extensive re-shoots. Lucasfilm hired him in June, and by August, he took a lead role in post-production. He also worked closely with director Gareth Edwards to supervise the final edit. Some fans say Gilroy should have a credit as “ghost director.”

Related Story: Star Wars – Who’s Next to Direct?

Due to those re-shoots, Actor Ben Mendelsohn has said “an enormously different version exists” of Rogue One, mostly concerning the ending.

“We did have multiple, multiple ways of going at any given scenario, we had multiple readings of it. So should they ever decide to, there would be a wealth of ways of approaching these different things. I know from having seen sort of the crucial kind of scenes throughout it, I know there’s vastly different readings of at least four of those scenes.”

Ben Mendelsohn, “Orson Krennic” from Rogue One, interviewing with Collider
Director Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn. Image: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm
Director Krennic, played by Ben Mendelsohn. Image: Jonathan Olley/Lucasfilm

Here’s hoping the new Cassian series sees success under Mr. Gilroy’s stewardship! Stick with That Hashtag Show for all your Star Wars news!

Sources: Starwars.com, Hollywood Reporter, Variety