It turns out that Star Wars: Andor and The Bourne Identity have a lot in common. During an interview with Total Film, Andor showrunner Tony Gilroy explained how his work on the Bourne franchise inspired his upcoming Star Wars show.
Discussing his work on the Bourne films (on which he wrote the screenplays for the first four, as well as directed The Bourne Legacy) Gilroy said, “I had been trying to get people to make an acoustic action movie, because action movies had gotten so bombastic in the ’80s, they were just enormous. So, when Bourne came along, we went way down to nothing.”
The Bourne Identity saw Matt Damon step up as Jason Bourne – a highly-trained former assassin whose amnesia hid a clandestine conspiracy within the CIA. It was a huge hit, spawning multiple sequels, and it was all about going back to basics.
“It was about making it real,” said Gilroy. “Keeping someone you really understand and really care about in a place that you understand the geography of, with stakes, is much more involving than a guy on a train with 15 machine guns and a helicopter coming down. That aesthetic, that idea, does carry over to Andor because we are on the ground with these people, so that everything that we do has an intimacy and an acoustic nature to it within the grandeur of Star Wars.”
Gilroy was also scriptwriter for Star Wars: Rogue One, and you can see similar thinking here. The Star Wars spin-off introduced the rebel pilot and intelligence officer, Cassian Andor, and with a rag-tag crew assembled from the far reaches of the galaxy far, far away, there’s no doubt that this was a film about the people on the ground.
Now, it looks as though Andor will take that concept and run with it.
“It’s an adventure story,” he explained. “It’s one man’s odyssey through the center [of the story] and then all these peripheral characters surrounding him and spinning around. I mean, God, it’s looking to be entertaining. It’s heavy material, heavy things are happening, but it’s an adventure story, too.”
Whether or not we’ll see Andor take on a thrilling speeder bike chase or take down a target with nothing but a credit chit remains to be seen. But if it’s anything like the Bourne movies, we’re in for a real treat.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.