Star Wars has once again entered the Emmys, thanks to the outstanding “Andor” by Tony Gilroy, a miniseries about the rebel leader played by Diego Luna. ‘Andor’ is the highest rated live-action Star Wars property (yes, it’s higher than ‘Empire Strikes Back’ on Rotten tomatoes), and along with ‘Obi-Wan Kenobi’ joins ‘The Mandalorian’ among the rare genre series in the Emmy race. The show garnered a total of eight nominations, including for Writing, Cinematography, and Outstanding Drama Series.
As praise piled up for the political action series, Gilroy told IndieWire in November about the challenges of television versus cinema, particularly for a property 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 then suddenly you realize you’re responsible for 700 pages of material to shoot, 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 – you have the extra layer of trying to make it real – it’s a What.”
He also stressed the importance of scripts in making everything else fall into place—advice not lost at the moment, months after the WGA strike. Gilroy (who is also on strike) took some time out from Emmy nomination day to say thank you and to speak with IndieWire about his first season at the Emmys and the interplay between streaming and the strike.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
IndieWire: I will say that IndieWire anticipated this nomination, but how did you feel about facing today?
Oh, I was trying to tune it, so it’s a very pleasant surprise.
Do you have a specific reason for this, perhaps not to bring bad luck or to attach too much importance to us?
I’m not that superstitious about it. I’m tuning so many things out of my mind right now, it just didn’t feel like a healthy place to plan anything good for the show on this. So that was a big surprise. It was very, very, very pleasant.
I feel that genre shows like this that are part of big franchises sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve. What’s your feeling?
I’m a beginner. I’ve learned all about the Emmys in the last year. I hadn’t been part of that community, so it’s not my area of expertise. I can’t tell you who has won in the last 10 years. I’ll know soon enough. But the whole last year has been the affirmation on the show that we’re delivering something that’s trying to be more than a genre show.
You’re nominated for screenplay, directing, cinematography – do you have any comments on the rest of the team’s nominations?
I know there are points where — we don’t have actors and I think our cast is amazing, everyone thinks that — but someone just asked me if there was an award that (means) more and I just think the fact that we’re one of the best shows, that nomination is for everyone in our entire community. And it’s a huge community of people in Pinewood. I hope everyone is proud of it today.
Have you talked to the cast or the rest of the team?
No, I’m really exiled from the show right now. So I keep my communications to zero; a couple of messages between the producers and whatnot, congrats, but I’m not in contact with the show right now.
You mentioned at an FYC event that you were dropping all scripts, is that something you’re still considering?
We were going to do it, but when the strike broke out we realized it was promotional material and we didn’t want to do it. So I’m very eager to do that when the strike is over. We were literally about to pull the trigger and held back because of the shot.
I know it’s hard to look down the pipeline, but where would you like to be, at Emmy time in regards to both seasons and the strike?
I’m getting used to the fact that I’m not responsible for everything that happens in the world. I’m just taking the changes as they come and I really hope WGA and SAG can hang on and save this industry that we love so much. I hope the creative community can do what the Hollywood business community can’t seem to do, which is try to preserve something extraordinary that has been one of the great industries of American culture.
Whether you win or not, do you think the nominations could change the stakes or the feeling of going back to Season 2 when you can?
Oh, I have no idea. I mean, everyone’s waiting for midnight now, and then they’re waiting for something else, so I really don’t know. That would be boastful, I think, to try and anticipate where we would sit on that. I’m just waiting to see what happens. I’m feeling very atypically comfortable with not being in charge.
How strange is it to even have to take this call and talk about a nomination months after a strike in the wake of maybe another?
I’m doing it today to thank you and I hope it doesn’t seem like a promotional idea. We just want to thank you and underline our appreciation to the voters and the public. It’s also an opportunity to talk a little bit about the strike and how much we support it even though we are affected by it.
Critics raved about it, but it doesn’t necessarily have the most viewers for Star Wars. What would you say to people who may have hesitated to watch it?
Then I’ll go back to the strike. One of the central problems with all this work experience is that I have no idea what the public is. We don’t know what it is, and I don’t think the obscurity of the data helps anyone. Truly. I think that looks like low fruit and easy profitability for some companies, but it ultimately squashes any kind of free market. It crushes the business economy, meaning people are overpaid and underpaid and never adequately paid. It means that productions are overloaded with overhead expenses because what used to be commonly residuals and royalties now have to be loaded up front. I think it’s twisted and warped and it’s going to ruin this amazing industry. So I’d like to know how many people watched, I’d like to know who they were, and I’m not sure if that’s possible.
Season 1 of “Andor” is now streaming on Disney+. The 75th Emmy Awards will air Sept. 18 at 8:00 p.m. EDT on Fox.