One Andor Ship Is A Tribute To A Star Wars Legend

This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of "Andor."

In the penultimate episode of the first season of "Andor," Luthen Rael (Stellan Skarsgård) is forced to visit Saw Gerrera on the out-of-the-way planet of Segra Milo. The two of them have much to discuss regarding their plans for Anto Kreegyr, whose raid on the Spellhaus power station has been hotly debated amongst the rebels and the Imperials who know about it and want to thwart it. Once Saw and Luthen make a final decision about it, Luthen has to leave the planet and head to put out other fires in his work. Namely, he has to find Cassian Andor and kill him before he can be caught. 

But before Luthen can make it to Ferrix on his own, he's stopped by an Imperial Arrestor Cruiser, something we've only seen in "Star Wars" once before ... even though it has a long history that dates back to the making of the original 1977 film. And the ship itself is a fitting tribute to an often unsung legend. 

The Cantwell-Class Arrestor Cruiser

The Cantwell class Arrestor Cruiser began its life in the mid-70s, designed by model builder Colin Cantwell as the first pass at a Star Destroyer. Cantwell also designed the original iterations of the classic X-Wing, TIE Fighter, and Star Destroyer vehicles, so he's something of a legend whether you know his name or not. Though they were later refined by designer Ralph McQuarrie and other model builders, these designs created the foundation for all of the ships in "Star Wars."

Labeling this ship on the show a Cantwell class cruiser is a clear nod to the man whose work has endured over the decades. However, this isn't exactly the first time the Cantwell class has been on screen in "Star Wars."

Solo: A Star Wars Story

The first time we saw one of these ships in canon was a brief glimpse in "Solo: A Star Wars Story." When Han Solo is trying to escape Coronet City and looking for a way out, he sees a recruitment film for the Imperial Navy. That film prominently features a Cantwell class Arrestor Cruiser, escorted by a pair of full-size Star Destroyers. In the script, the Millennium Falcon was supposed to be caught by a Cantwell class Arrestor, but the scene was ultimately cut from the film.

However, the design had been created, so it made enough sense for them to break it out for "Andor."

Colin Cantwell's legacy

Colin Cantwell worked on films such as "2001: A Space Odyssey" before moving on to "Star Wars," and he created the look of the ships and vehicles before they were refined and iterated upon by the likes of Ralph McQuarrie and Joe Johnston. One of Cantwell's models became Luke Skywalker's T-16 Skyhopper toy that he plays with in the garage in "A New Hope" — the one Obi-Wan Kenobi later gives to him in "Obi-Wan Kenobi."

Cantwell passed away this year at the age of 90 and had made available prints of all of his iconic work. He even made a living signing autographs at conventions and telling stories about working on "2001" and "Star Wars." It was nice to see him honored by name in a galaxy far, far away in this episode of "Andor," especially in a show that usually dodges Easter eggs. Even this series knows when to recognize a legend.