Star Wars is back at the Emmys thanks to Tony Gilroy’s exceptional series “Andor,” about the rebel leader played by Diego Luna. “Andor” is the highest-rated live-action Star Wars property (yes, higher than “Empire Strikes Back” Rotten tomatoes), and joins “The Mandalorian” along with “Obi-Wan Kenobi” as a rare genre series in the Emmy race. The show received a total of eight nominations, including writing, cinematography and outstanding drama series.
Along with praising the political action series, Gilroy spoke to IndieWire in November about the challenges of television and film, especially a property that is so beloved not only by its audience but also by those who work tirelessly behind the scenes.
“It really is an obsession-driven business; all the people who are great department heads and all the people who are great writers, directors — they’re all obsessed,” he told IndieWire last fall. “So when you put together a team of super-obsessed people and suddenly you find yourself in charge of 700 pages of footage, and it all has to be designed from scratch because you can’t use anything that’s real. But you want to make it real — it has that extra level.” , to try to make it real – this is the thing.”
He also emphasized the importance of scripts to get everything else in place — advice not lost on the moment, months after the WGA strike. Gilroy (who is also on strike) took some time out on Emmy nomination day to say thanks and talk to IndieWire about his first Emmy season and how streaming and the strike interact.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
IndieWire: I say IndieWire predicted this nomination, but how did you feel heading into today?
Oh, I tried to tune it out, so it’s a very pleasant surprise.
Do you have a specific reason for it, maybe you don’t need to get angry or attach too much importance to it?
I’m not that superstitious about it. I’m tuning so much out of my head right now, it just didn’t seem like a healthy place to plan something good for the show. So it was a big surprise. It was very, very, very pleasant.
I feel like genre shows like this that are part of big franchises sometimes don’t get the credit they deserve. How do you feel about this?
I’m a newbie. I’ve learned all about the Emmys this past year. I wasn’t part of that community, so it’s not my area of expertise. I couldn’t tell you who won in the last 10 years. I’ll be up to speed soon. But the whole of last year confirmed in the show that we are giving something that is more than a genre show.
Nominated for writing, directing, cinematography – any comments on the rest of the team’s nominations?
I know there are places where — we don’t have actors and I think our cast is amazing, everybody thinks that — but somebody just asked me if there’s an award that (means) the most, and I think the fact that what is one of the best shows is that the nomination is for everyone in our entire community. And it’s a huge community in Pinewood. I hope you are all proud of that today.
Did you talk to the cast or the rest of the crew?
No, I’ve actually been banished from the show now. So I keep my communication to zero; a few texts between the producers and whatever, congratulations, but I’m not connected to the show at the moment.
You mentioned at an FYC event that you were going to throw away all the scripts, is that something you’re still considering?
That’s what we were preparing for, but when the strike hit, we felt it was promotional material and we didn’t want to do it. So I would love to do it once the strike is over. We literally wanted to pull the trigger and were held back by the strike.
I know it’s hard to watch, but where do you want to be come the Emmys in terms of seasons and strikes?
I’m getting used to the fact that I’m not responsible for everything that happens in the world. I just accept the changes as they come and I really hope that the WGA and SAG can hold firm and save this industry that we love so much. I hope that the creative community can do what the Hollywood business community can’t, which is try to preserve something wonderful that has been one of the great industries of American culture.
Whether you win or not, do you think the nominations will change the stakes or the feeling of coming back for Season 2 when you can?
Oh, I have no idea. I mean, now everyone’s waiting for midnight and then something else, so I don’t really know. That would be futile, I guess to try to anticipate where we’re going to sit on this. I’m just waiting to see what happens. In a very atypical way, I’m beginning to accept that I’m not responsible.
How weird is it to even take that call and talk about a nomination for months and maybe have another strike?
I’m doing this today to say thank you and I hope it doesn’t come across as a promotional idea. We just want to say thank you and express our gratitude to the voters and the audience. It’s also an opportunity to really talk a little bit about the strike and how much we support it, even if it affects us.
Critics have raved about it, but it’s not necessarily the highest-rated Star Wars ever. What would you say to those who might have been hesitant to watch it?
Then I will return to the strike. One of the central issues of this whole work experience is that I have no idea what the audience is. We don’t know what it is, and I don’t think the vagueness of the data helps anyone. Really. I think it looks like low-hanging fruit and easy profitability for certain companies, but it ends up crushing all kinds of free markets. It destroys the economics of the business, it means people are overpaid and underpaid and never paid properly. This means that productions are burdened with expenses, because what used to usually mean residuals and royalties now have to be paid upfront. I think it’s warped and warped and close to ruining this wonderful industry. So I wish I knew how many people watched it, I wish I knew who they were, and I’m not sure that’s possible.
“Andor” Season 1 is now available to stream on Disney+. The 75th Annual Emmy Awards will air on Fox on September 18 at 8 p.m.