Andor: The Death Star in Star Wars explained

Cameron Frew
The Death Star in Andor Episode 12

Andor Episode 12 ends on a jaw-dropper: the show’s first look at the iconic, terrifying Death Star – if you’re unfamiliar with its place in Star Wars or just want a refresher, let’s get into it.

Andor, the Rogue One prequel series, just reached the finale of its first season on Disney+. The wait for Season 2 is going to be long, but you can find out more about that here.

Episode 12 was a testament to how brilliant the show became across its run, weaving emotional, stirring dialogue with immersive action and a compelling story. You can read our review here.

So, what about that post-credits scene? Andor has always been leading to the Death Star, the most famous weapon in all of Star Wars, and now we’ve caught our first glimpse of it.

Andor: What is the Death Star?

The Death Star is the Empire’s enormous orbital battle station and super-weapon, armed with a planet-destroying space laser that can reduce an entire world to rubble with one zap.

It’s the size of a moon, but as Obi-Wan Kenobi once said: “That’s no moon, it’s a space station.”

It first debuted in the Star Wars franchise in 1977’s A New Hope, in which Luke Skywalker and the Resistance fighters destroy it during the Battle of Yavin. A second Death Star is constructed during Return of the Jedi, but it’s also destroyed.

The Death Star in Star Wars

In the first movie, it’s referred to as the DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, while it’s known as Project Stardust in Rogue One, before the Rebels describe it as the “Planet Killer”.

Construction on the station began around the onset of the Clone Wars, with Wilhuff Tarkin overseeing and managing the logistics of the operation, while Orson Krennic led a mission to research how the Death Star could be powered.

In the end, the superlaser was powered by a hypermatter reactor, which focused its energy via eight giant kyber crystals (which are also used to power lightsabers). The resulting blast would be catastrophic, and it was used to wipe out Jedha’s Holy City, Alderaan, and Scarif before it was destroyed.

This isn’t everything: in addition to the superlaser, the Death Star was armed with thousands of canons and tractor beams capable of capturing the Millennium Falcon and other ships, and it had the ability to travel through hyperspace and pursue any targets Imperial commanders saw fit.

While we don’t have a confirmed size, it’s believed the Death Star would have a diameter between 140 and 160 kilometers, capable of crewing more than 1.2 million officers.

The Death Star in Andor Episode 12 explained

The Death Star is first shown in the post-credits scene of Andor Episode 12. The scene also reveals what they were building in the Narkina 5 prison: parts for its construction.

More specifically, they’re brackets that link together the gold panels inside the superlaser, which will be able to withstand the power and heat of the colossal hypermatter reactor. The scene ends on a wide shot of the Death Star, nearly entirely built, with work being completed on the laser.

How the Death Star connects to Andor

Andor is a prequel to Rogue One, which followed Cassian, Jyn Erso, and other Rebels on a mission to steal the Empire’s plans for the Death Star from Scarif.

They were successful, leading to the Resistance’s victory in A New Hope, but Tarkin used the station’s laser to annihilate the planet and kill the Rebels. Their sacrifice was key to defeating the Empire.

The Death Star will almost definitely feature in Andor Season 2, given it’s expected the show will end with Cassian in or on his way to Kafrene, where he meets Tivik, a contact with information about the Empire’s plans.

The question is: will we see Darth Vader, Orson Krennic, or Grand Moff Tarkin as the Death Star is completed?

You can find out more about Andor Season 2 here.