46 Years Later, Star Wars Is Finally Bringing Back Its Best Starship Trick
In Ahsoka, a starship finally took a starring role.
Star Wars has amazed viewers from its very first second. Back in 1977, A New Hope followed its opening crawl with a spaceship flying across the screen. It looks impressive, but then it’s followed by our very first look at an Imperial Star Destroyer. As it comes in from the top of the frame, it just keeps going, and going, and going.
The Star Destroyer was quickly dwarfed by the Death Star, a ship famously mistaken for a moon, and the ships and fleets have only gotten bigger since then. But the latest chapter of Ahsoka has finally recaptured this early magic.
In the New Republic era of The Mandalorian and its spinoffs, the Empire is (supposedly) gone for good, meaning the dramatic moments are a bit more intimate: cool lightsaber fights, expansion of Mandalorian lore. Even Moff Gideon, The Mandalorian’s big bad, kept his Imperial Remnant faction running from a Light Cruiser, which a Star Destroyer dwarfs.
But Ahsoka brought back the shock and awe of the Star Destroyer. We’ve already seen some big ships in the show; the hyperspace ring known as the Eye of Sion is no slouch. But as Morgan Elsbeth and her mercenaries used the Eye to visit another galaxy, they finally met up with Thrawn and his Star Destroyer, the Chimaera. We’re reminded that Star Destroyers are big; the way it looms over everyone is terrifying, especially since an ominous soundtrack accompanies it.
Later Star Wars stories have tried to shock with numbers rather than scale, but Palpatine’s fleet in Rise of Skywalker was more silly than scary. Thankfully, focusing on smaller-scale stories in the Mando-verse has reset fan expectations, and a single Star Destroyer can be just as surprising — and threatening — as it was nearly half a century ago. And if any ship deserves such fanfare, it’s the Chimaera, the flagship of one of the most terrifying villains in Star Wars history.