Alex Yarde wonders, what if the Galactic Empire didn’t invest the time and resources to build those Death Stars?
“Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.”
“The dark side clouds everything. Impossible to see the future is.”
In watching the Star Wars films again, I’ve come to the conclusion that Jar-Jar Binks wasn’t the dumbest character after all. I think that title belongs to the Emperor, Palpatine. Darth Sidious (Emperor Palpatine) ordered the Death Star’s construction after the Galactic Empire was formed to secure his newfound power and ensure his rule was absolute. Lt. Governor Wilhuff (Promoted to Grand Moff after rejoining the military) Tarkin was appointed to oversee the secret development of the Death Star project along with Geonosian Industries. His creative work resulted in a monstrous super battle station several hundred kilometers in diameter, bristling with thousands of turbo laser batteries, ion cannons and tractor beam encampments with its signature feature—a directed energy super laser capable of completely destroying a planet with a single shot. It was the Empire’s ultimate weapon.
Not only was the Death Star project redundant, since by the end of Revenge of the Sith the enemies of the Emperor were either on the run or eliminated, but he also effectively put all his eggs in a moon-sized basket. During Luke’s briefing, before the Battle of Yavin, in the original Star Wars film, the Rebel Commander told those assembled “the Death Star has the power equivalent to half the Star Fleet.” Now, it seems to me, that had Palpatine invested the time, labor and credits he did in the Death Star into the Imperial Fleet, he could have built thousands of warships in a fraction of the time and achieved the same goal, while spreading the risk of destruction of his investments around. No planet would get out of line with an Imperial Star Destroyer Battle Group in their System, with such redundancy of ships; no rag tag Rebel fleet could possibly oppose him.
In addition, after the Clone Wars ended, Palpatine conscripted millions of Republic Clones to serve the Empire. The Jedi, at that point, were decimated by Order 66, which caused the Clones to turn on their Jedi commanders. Only a handful of living Jedi were left and they were on the run. He sent his newly minted apprentice, Darth Vader, to eliminate the Separatist leaders of the Droid Army on Mustafar, granting him access to all deactivated Battle Droids. So, with 90% of the Galaxy under his total control, except for the Outer Rim, which was lawless Hutt space anyway, his “technological terror” was overkill.
If Palpatine put a garrison of clones or battle droids on every former Republic world (which could have easily been done with the credits saved from Death Star construction) no sector could have opposed his control and he could have ruled unchallenged. If he feared an insurgency, then why not have Vader train and field Force sensitive children into an elite cadre of Dark Jedi loyal only to him? Special Forces troops are very cost effective. Plus, if any Dark operators got too ambitious, he could just dispose of them in “Order 66” style like he did with the Jedi.
The main threat of a Death Star (and its utter impracticality) was total destruction of defiant worlds. Destroying a habitable planet is not only a huge waste of natural resources, but also it wastes a planet’s worth of labor and a base of military operations. In addition, it is a huge disruption to any system’s navigational charts and gravitational balance. Celestial objects create their own gravity fields, so if one is removed, a navigational hazard is created (asteroid field) and a huge change to the star maps of that sector is required. How many times can one use that trick before hyperspace jumps become impossible and trade routes are disrupted because no one can safely fly anywhere? Planetary genocide is simply bad for business. Better to bombard the populace into submission from orbit, offer the survivors citizenship, clean up and repopulate the planet to harvest it’s natural resources or grow food for a hungry populace. Dead inhabitants cannot pay taxes nor give tribute. The ancient Romans knew this. Even if one is ruler of the Galaxy one has an economy to keep in the black, infrastructure to maintain and billions of beings to keep happy with bread and circuses.
The capper is, after the dismal failure of the first Geonosian Industries disaster, that fool built ANOTHER DEATH STAR! Now, the first Death Star was destroyed by a couple of proton torpedoes that were fired blind by a farm boy in a snub fighter at an exhaust port two meters wide. The second Death Star was larger and, unwisely, put into service when it was only 70% complete, though fully operational. A Corellian Freighter, the size of the Falcon, flew right into it, destroying its exposed reactor core. For such a devious mind to orchestrate the Clone Wars destroy the Jedi order and make himself Emperor. Palpatine’s architectural plans were fairly easily overcome. He was evil, but no genius. And employed the worst contractors ever. Ultimately he was a dog that after chasing cars finally caught one and had no idea what so ever to do with it. I’ll thank the Maker if we get a villain with a bit more foresight than Palpatine in Star Wars-Episode Seven!