It Wasn’t The Empire’s Fault

I have already referred to my new "office" in the new house as "Palpatine's Secret Office" It's where I will plot things.
I have already referred to my new office in the new house as “Palpatine’s Secret Office.” It’s where I will plot things.

As most everyone unlucky enough to have regular direct contact with me knows, I’ve aged about 10 years in the last week thanks to that most rigorous of procedures called “selling a house.” Now, it’s a first-world problem to be sure. We are selling a fully-functional roof over our heads so we can go buy another roof to keep over our heads. And this next roof is the promise of even bigger and better things. It’s that next step toward the grave in a lot of ways; it’s the last house I’ll willingly purchase before I retire or die, whichever comes first (smart money is on die).

However, in the moment it seems as if the dumbest decision you can make is to sell your home. Someone hires someone else to inspect the joint and try to find things wrong with it, and if you’re particularly lucky the guy (sorry Steinems, have yet to meet a female home inspector) is a jackass and pronounces perfectly functional bits of home in need of “repair.”

It’s at this point that you enjoy that most chilling of realizations: homes are built by contractors who are looking to cut corners and make money. Just because they built it to last for a few decades doesn’t mean they didn’t rush the job. They cut corners, they wired on the fly, they didn’t check to see if it was built on an ancient Indian burial ground.

Now, our home didn’t fare too badly. There are some things that needed to be fixed, it was stressful, but it worked out.

But being who I am, I started thinking about it in the context of Star Wars.

How Does This Possibly Relate to Star Wars?

You see, for a very long time people have latched onto the flaw of the Death Star, that there was a small thermal exhaust port that allowed Luke to make an impossible shot using the Force, dropping a torpedo at just the right moment to blow up the Death Star like a giant firecracker piñata.

Now, for the sake of brevity I’m going to set aside the fact that after 10,000 viewings everyone loves to overlook the fact that it’s an impossible shot for anyone save Luke (and arguably Vader) to make in that moment. A seasoned pilot, leader of the flight group, took the damn shot with a computer lock and missed. A punk ass kid raised on a back-water made it only because he was that awesome with the super powers.


Bill Murray as Carl Spacker
The Contracting foreman for the first Death Star

But in light of everything, I thought to myself, it’s not the Empire’s fault the flaw is there in the first place. It’s because they used contractors. (Before you think I’m just riffing on that hack Kevin Smith‘s old dialog, just hold on.)

See, the first Death Star obviously took longer to build than the second based on the text of the films. Why would that be? Easy.

On the first Death Star they used union sub-contractors to build it. Construction delays, cost overruns and things built not quite to specs would be par for the course. Look at what happens in our world when we entrust large building tasks to contractors; we find out thirty years later they didn’t wire something quite right, or they built something just a fraction of a percentage off from what they planned so that they could rush the job (this didn’t happen in our current house thank goodness, but happened on a custom built house I know about from the past).

As a result of this labor pool’s shortcomings, they put something together wrong and/or made a “small change” to complete the project. By the time the Empire found out about it, they were probably rushing the plans back to Coruscant to try to figure out a solution when Princess Leia intercepted the plans, blah blah blah.

Supporting Text

My supporting text about the contractors not being used on the second Death Star (defeating Smith’s argument from Clerks) is Jerjerrod’s line from the opening when he requests more men to work on the job. This indicates to me that he’s using the Star Wars equivalent of a core of engineers (clones probably) to build the thing out so that everything will be exactly to specifications at the end of it all.

Of course, the Emperor screws it all up by letting the Rebels stage the attack which, in all honesty, is all kinds of stupid.


If you don’t like my conclusion, go listen to the Words With Nerds podcast at; and try to figure out how successful you’d be at convincing me otherwise. I welcome spirited debate, so…debate me spiritedly!

You can also comment below.


7 thoughts on “It Wasn’t The Empire’s Fault

    1. Ha! Points for the reference! Well done.

      Also: they’re making a Beverly Hills Cop TV show. The guy who created The Shield is making it. Who would have thought that would ever happen?!

  1. So let me get this straight, the empire is full of clones of a clone that can’t shoot straight thus making an army of clones with a magnification of the fact that they can’t shoot straight. So if a person is a shady contractor and cuts corners wouldn’t a clone of shady contractor that cuts corners have that trait magnified? With that in mind, is sounds like everything in the second Death Star is flawed. And did the get a clone of the initial Death Star Inspector? If the first one was unscrupulous just looking for contract work, think about how amorale the clone of the Death Star Inspector was.

    1. Amoral is not the same as unethical! And just because a clone is a bad soldier doesn’t make them a bad builder. Maybe the latter clones were good only at manual labor, and so were actually better utilized this way.

      Additionally, it means that they can be worked until they die, get paid almost nothing and never file suit. They can be killed before they can leak information. Essentially, the Empire had a waiting horde of slaves to build their Sphere of Doom. The plans (which returning to my first point, weren’t flawed) can be executed more exactly because you don’t have to pay for the labor (time).

      Outside contractors are a greedy, conniving bunch – and those traits are only magnified in a Union. So there.

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