I was thinking recently about the Death Star projects in Star Wars and an implication that we’ve all missed through the years.
I’ve written about the Death Stars before, including which one was cooler (Death Star II by a mile), how Vader was supposed to be using the Death Star as his tool for Ascendancy to become the full Dark Lord, and it’s come up plenty of times on Words With Nerds.
Per the films, there were two Death Stars (that we know). In the Expanded Universe (yuck) there was a prototype out by the Maw, which had to do with blah blah blah, it doesn’t count anyway.
Obviously the Emperor had designs on more than one Death Star. As effective a deterrent one might be, two is enough to make the galaxy tremble to its core.
But why stop at two?
A Death Star Fleet
It’s apparent that in Star Wars, economics weren’t a factor. Though every societal system, even a crazy dictatorship, requires an economic aspect, Palpatine was unencumbered by such concerns. Perhaps he was like Kim Jung Il and willing to starve people to death. Perhaps he only needed to starve certain populations at a time, or commandeer and “nationalize” their economies, and so the galaxy was able to turn a blind eye to the suffering on the other end of a spiral arm.
I mean, it’s not bloody likely the people of Tatooine gave a sand storm’s fart about what happened on Naboo. Not in any way that mattered, because those people were stupid enough to live on a desert planet.
But I digress.
The core concept is that I doubt Palpatine would stop at two Death Stars. In one respect it would make sense to build several, so that he could guard key worlds while blowing another into dust.
After all, if he sends a Death Star to Naboo to teach it a lesson, then he leaves Coruscant completely exposed. If he has two so he can guard Coruscant, then a key raw materials facility at Mustafar may be left wide open to attack.
Basically, a rebel fleet wouldn’t need a planetary base. They could be like the fleet from Battlestar Galactica, hitting unprotected worlds and then fading into the gigantic night.
But if Palpatine does construct this awesome fleet of planet-destroyers, he opens himself to a whole new, and potentially insurmountable, problem.
Any commander of a Death Star would have a modicum of ambition. Even Jerjerrod had some sense of ambition, otherwise he wouldn’t get the job. Sure, he quaked in his boots at Vader and Palpatine, but come on. So would anyone aside from Tarkin.
So imagine a small fleet of Death Stars. Heck, let’s limit ourselves to 10.
Each one would be commanded individually by someone with ambition. Each one would be constructed to defend against a direct, large-scale assault, ruling out a move by the existing fleet of Star Destroyers to wipe it out.
The galaxy quickly, easily devolves into a spinning death match between the regional governors who command these Death Stars. Death Star versus Death Star, each one traversing obscene distances just to arrive too late after their nemesis obliterates a key production facility, or plays a game of cat-and-mouse as it dances around that planet and tries to use fighters to breach the defense as the rebels did.
Imagine what a spectacularly devastating end to the galaxy that would be. Heck, the rebels might even be able to sit back and watch the Empire tear itself apart, presuming that they lived.
Sometimes I concern myself with how my brain works.