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A Moment of True Star Wars

Imperials standing on the bridge of a ship

An Imperial Bridge? That can’t be good.
Image: Lucasfilm

As good as Andor has been, you might get the feeling that something is missing. That’s because, unlike basically every other piece of Star Wars
that’s come before it, it’s purposefully devoid of some classic iconography. There are no Jedi, no Sith, no lightsabers, and no daring space battles. However, eepisode 11, “Daughter of Ferrix,” changed that slightly with a scene that straight up blew our minds—and was somehow even better because the show has made us wait so long for something like it.

Image for article titled The Moment Andor Went Full Star Wars

If you’ve seen the episode, and hopefully if you’re reading this you have, you know what we’re talking about. No, thankfully, Andor didn’t give us any Jedi or lightsabers. At least not literally. It did, however, give us a hugely exciting, intense space scene thanks to the man who has become synonymous with exciting and intense: Luthen Rael.

Luthen has just come back from subtly corrupting Saw Gerrera when his ship, the Fondor, is detected by the Empire over the planet of Segra-Milo. It’s an Arrestor Cruiser (a ship whose design is based on an original concept for the Star Destroyer, designed by Colin Cantwell, which is why it’s “Cantwell Class;” it was also seen in Solo, but that’s it a whole other point) and Luthen attempts to talk his way out with some lies and a fake code. It’s not working.

Arrestor Cruiser and the Fondor.  Good band name.

Arrestor Cruiser and the Fondor. Good band name.
Screenshot: Lucasfilm

The Imperials decide to power on their tractor beam, which is basically just a massive satellite protruding from the front of the ship. Luthen fakes some technical difficulties and then makes a run for it. Unfortunately for him, he’s stuck in a tractor beam. But he’s also prepared: all this time he’s been charging countermeasures, which then fire backward, destroying the tractor beam like something out of Top Gun. The Imperials were not ready for that, so they launch four TIE Fighters (well, three and a bomber, if you want to be specific) to go after Luthen. Let the space battle commence.

Only it’s not much of a battle. Luthen brings his main gun out of the top of the ship and makes quick work of the bomber and one of the fighters. Then, after a quick u-turn, he repositions his wings and opens up two additional weapons, one on each side of the Fondor. These unleash RED LASERS outward as Luthen spins his ship like a top, creating an impossible-to-pass-through barrier, destroying the two other TIEs. Yes, Luthen’s ship has its very own Grand Inquisitor Lightsaber, so to speak. And just like that, with the TIEs destroyed and Arrestor disabled, he engages the hyperdrive and is gone.

Lightsaber spaceship, oh yeah.

Lightsaber spaceship, oh yeah.
Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Obviously, the scene rules on so many levels. As a rousing burst of action, for Star Wars fans who love ships, its incredibly inventive cool weapons, the dramatic editing, all of it. Again, Luthen’s ship has fricking laser beams coming out of its wings. No notes.

But this is Andor. A cool space battle wouldn’t be in there for no reason at all. So, in addition to all of that, the scene also serves as a crucial piece of character-building for Luthen. To this point, the show has made it very clear that Luthen is capable. He’s playing double duty on Coruscant, huh organized the heist on Aldhani, and he has spies and connections everywhere. He’s a Rebel spy extraordinaire. But the skills he exhibits in this scene show he’s also an incredibly skilled pilot. Where did he get these skills? Who trained him? What’s his story? Why does he hate the Empire so much? The scene is a perfect balance of adding to the mystique of this character we’ve been following for an entire season, while also delivering that kind of high-octane Star Wars action we crave.

And maybe, just maybe, because Andor is so sparing with scenes like this, it lands harder. If every episode was non-stop space battles we might yawn at the destruction of an Imperial tractor beam and four TIE Fighters in a matter of seconds. But in Andorit works that much better.

Andor episode 11, “Daughter of Ferrix,” is on Disney+ now. The finale airs next week.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Warsand Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TVand everything you need to know about James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water.

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