Lucasfilm’s as-of-yet-untitled prequel to Rogue One hit a minor bump in the road: showrunner Tony Gilroy has turned over directing duties to Toby Haynes, who’s best known for work on the Black Mirror episode “U.S.S. Callister.”
The reasons for the switch aren’t quite as dramatic as the production turmoil that Rogue One itself experienced—it’s simply that Gilroy is based in the US, and with the COVID-19 pandemic still a thing, opted to hand off directing duties to Haynes, who’s based in the UK, according to Deadline.
Rogue One had a famously convoluted production: Gareth Edwards (Monsters, Godzilla) helmed the project, but Lucasfilm was ultimately not thrilled with what they were seeing, and in the months ahead of the film’s release, brought on Gilroy to retool the film. He oversaw some extensive reshoots that tightened up the film, fleshed out characters, and redid some of the dialogue. The result likely saved the picture from a much more poor reception from fans and critics.
Fast forward a couple of years, and Lucasfilm greenlit the prequel series, which will see Diego Luna reprise his role as Cassian Andor, and Alan Tudyk as his robotic sidekick, K-2S0, and with Americans producer Stephen Schiff set as showrunner. Last year, some rumors emerged that the show was on the verge of being shut down, after which Gilroy joined the project to rewrite the scripts and handle some of the directing. Earlier this year, Lucasfilm announced Gilroy would take over as showrunner. Despite this change, Gilroy remains involved in the production as showrunner.
The series was on track to begin production later this year, according to Luna, but this was prior to the pandemic. This new update shows that the series is still on track, especially as Hollywood begins to figure out how to handle production while COVID is still a looming threat. One of those lessons is apparently about the mundane logistics of air travel, and remaining flexible.
Lucasfilm had dodged that particular bullet earlier this year as it wrapped the second season of The Mandalorian just days before the US began to lock down in response to the pandemic. It’s also faced some issues with its Obi-Wan Kenobi TV series, which went on hold earlier this year over issues with the scripts. However, production for that series is set to begin sometime next spring, according to series star Ewan McGregor.
The Cassian Andor series was slated for a 2021 release: hopefully, it’ll remain on track as production begins.