The new cruiser in Star Wars: Andor explained

Kassa (Antonio Viña) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved.
Kassa (Antonio Viña) in Lucasfilm's ANDOR, exclusively on Disney+. ©2022 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Rights Reserved. /

In one of the shots of the second Andor trailer, Luthen can be seen engaging some TIE Fighters and a Bomber, with a weird looking Imperial cruiser behind him. This is the Cantwell-class Arrestor Cruiser, and it’s the perfect cruiser to appear in Andor.

Firstly though, a bit about its history. The Cantwell-class cruiser was designed by Colin Cantwell in 1977, pitching it to George Lucas as the first design for the Imperial Star Destroyer. However, Cantwell’s design would be rejected in favour of a different one.

This unique class of Star Destroyer is shaped more like an arrowhead than the traditional wedge shape, and features three powerful dish shaped tractor beams, one to the port side, one to the starboard side, and one on the bow. These tractor beams were ideal for pulling in enemy vessels for capture and interrogation, pushing enemy ships away, or holding them at the ideal distance for the Cantwell’s ion cannons to disable enemy ships.

The ship has appeared in canon before. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, the ship appeared briefly in propaganda videos. There were plans for the ship to appear in sequence in Solo, but this was ultimately deleted from the film.

The ship’s unique function of prioritising the capture of enemy ships rather than their destruction hints at its use in Andor. As the Rebel Alliance is extremely early in its lifespan, Imperials will be keen to capture anyone who they might be able to interrogate about the acts of violence happening, or the whereabouts of key targets such as Saw Gerrera. Destroying rebel ships at this stage wouldn’t help the Empire, because they wouldn’t be able to learn anything more about other rebels.

This ship seems to have a similar purpose to the Interdictor vessels, such as those seen in Star Wars: Rebels. These cruisers would prevent targets from escaping into hyperspace, could pull ships out of hyperspace and pull other ships near it. While the Interdictor vessels use a different technology than the Cantwell-class – gravity well projectors instead of tractor beams – there nonetheless was the same aim to capture targets alive for interrogation. There is no evidence that the tractor beams of the Cantwell-class are powerful enough to pull a ship out of hyperspace.

The role of the Cantwell-class in Andor is unknown, except for that it will likely try to pull Andor and his fellow revolutionaries in to be captured and arrested. Audiences will have to wait until Andor debuts on September 21st to find out more about the Cantwell-class.