The Helmsman was a Praetor II-class Star Battlecruiser[1] commanded by Mils Giel at some point in the year preceding the Battle of Endor.[3]


Stern-view of the Helmsman.

Propulsion systems[]

Three massive engines propelled the craft forward, with two secondary engines situated above the main structure, and an additional two auxiliary engines on the command section's superstructure. Several smaller openings dotted the rear of the ship, but it's unknown whether they too served a purpose of propulsion. The ship had no apparent ventral reactor bulb, instead, the main reactor was hidden behind layers of armor as on the Executor-class dreadnought.[3]

Offensive and defensive systems[]

The flagship was armed with a large amount of guns of varying sizes, with at least 90 cannons visible. Its shields and armor were heavy enough to require an extensive retooling of the firing system of the four modified TIE/LN starfighters used by the Flying Bantha Squadron to ensure that the blast would hit the Teezl deep inside.[4]


The containment cage of the Teezl.

The only hangar aperture visible on the ship was a triangular indentation located at the front of its ventral side. This appeared to be only slightly bigger than the main hangar opening on an Imperial-class Star Destroyer.[3]

Behind the main bridge, at the stern of the vessel, was a gigantic transport cage used to carry the bizarre Teezl creature.[3]


The ship's bridge was located at the front end of an elevated superstructure that ran like a spine towards the rear of the vessel and ended in two auxiliary engines. The bridge occupied considerably more space than the standardized bridge modules on most other Star Destroyers of the time. It was sizeable enough to allow Admiral Giel to hold meetings with a large number of other officers present.[3]


Giel holds a meeting on the bridge of the Helmsman.

The battlecruiser was used to transport a Teezl from Valtha Divide to Coruscant,[1] where the creature was meant to be installed and used to coordinate the entire Imperial Navy.[3] One of the largest fleets ever assembled by the Empire accompanied the Helmsman on its long journey. The fleet included an accompanying capital ship with a similar-looking design.[4]

Despite the massive amount of warships present, the armada failed to prevent an attack by the Rebel Alliance, which resulted in the partial destruction of Giel's ship and the death of the Teezl.[4] After being hit by a super-powered shot from a Rebel TIE/LN starfighter, the bridge-section of the Helmsman was left relatively unscathed, and Giel could still communicate with its gun crew. In response to his order, they opened fire on the attacker, but the TIE fighter was small and quick enough to avoid being hit and made its escape.[4]

Behind the scenes[]

A concept art of Vader's flagship from The Empire Strikes Back Sketchbook and a similar image of the Helmsman in Star Wars (1977) 60.

Early concept art for the Executor from The Empire Strikes Back Sketchbook, appears to have been used as inspiration for the Helmsman.[3]

It wasn't given an official name in its earliest appearances, with the characters referring to it as "Giel's Flagship" and the fans labeling it a "Super Star Destroyer" due to its apparent size in the comic. It wasn't until the release of The Essential Guide to Warfare in 2012 that the Helmsman's ship class and name was given. The 3D model artist Ansel Hsiao also contributed to the ship's design for its appearance in the book.



Notes and references[]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The Essential Guide to Warfare
  2. Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition describes Star Destroyers and Super Star Destroyers as large, wedge-shaped warships in general.
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 Star Wars (1977) 60
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.7 Star Wars (1977) 61
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