Andor Created A 'Direct Link' To A New Hope's Torture Sequence [Exclusive]

To its credit, "Andor" is a series that has largely eschewed the urge to turn "Star Wars" into an Easter egg hunt, avoiding some of the more overt callbacks or rhyming patterns of other movies and TV shows in the franchise. Sure, there's a nod to blue milk, and the latest episode batch, set in a pristine white prison work facility, visually and thematically references George Lucas's first movie, "THX 1138." But on the whole, "Andor" has been subtle about echoing previous "Star Wars" moments. You wouldn't necessarily expect it to mirror a scene from the original "Star Wars" film, but that's what it did with the torture of Bix Caleen (Adria Arjona).

In "Andor" episode 9, Bix has headphones placed over her ears and is forced to endure a new insidious form of torture that subjects the listener to the dying screams of an alien race. The screams are known to cause "emotional distress" in anyone who hears them, and as Bix cries out in agony, the camera backs out of the room, the door whooshes closed, and we follow the footsteps of an Imperial officer away from her cell. The framing of the scene is very similar to one with Princess Leia in "Star Wars: A New Hope."

/Film's Jeremy Mathai's recently spoke with supervising sound editor David Acord about the torture scene in "Andor," and he confirmed its connection to "A New Hope," saying:

"There's a direct link there to the Empire using torture apparently for years, as we see it spanning multiple generations here. So it is meant to be an homage, in a sense. And there is some sound elements we used from the original for that moment, too. Again, sort of augmented a bit, not to be too on-the-nose with it in that moment."

Beats by Sheev

The interrogation of Princess Leia in the first "Star Wars" movie is a little less intense than what we see in "Andor." It simply involves an Imperial mind probe with a needle closing in on her with a hum, as Darth Vader utters the immortal line, "And now, your highness, we will discuss the location of your hidden rebel base."

Whether intentional or not, substituting headphones for a needle as a torture method in "Andor" — and letting the audience's imagination fill in the sound blanks — is a more horrifying device that recalls the real-life use of music torture in U.S. military prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. In these cases, prisoners would sometimes undergo sleep deprivation while being exposed to heavy metal at a loud volume.

Add to this the sadistic relish that Dedra Meero (Denise Gough) seems to derive from torturing Bix, and it just goes to show that the Empire is as evil as it ever was. Forget Beats by Dre; Bix's torture is more like Beats by Sheev (as in Sheev Palpatine, otherwise known as the Emperor).

"Andor" is currently streaming on Disney+.