Why The Death Star Is The Ultimate Superweapon (& 5 Why It’s Starkiller Base)


Star Wars is all about flouting the laws of physics with glee and abandon, and that’s part of the fun of the franchise. After all, few people would refuse a lightsaber if given the choice. In the annals of Star Wars lore are the super weapons – the big bad boys that provide a convenient threat for the heroes to conquer while making the story more exciting.

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The Death Star and Starkiller Base represent the pinnacle of terrifying super-weapons in Star Wars, but neither of them are perfect. Here’s 5 reasons why the Death Star is the biggest and baddest of them all, and 5 reasons why Starkiller Base takes the crown.

10 Starkiller Base Required Less Material

Ilum Starkiller Base

Starkiller Base had an advantage over the Death Star when it came to materials. It wasn’t a space station constructed wholesale from the ground up, but a planet with a hollowed out core that provided the mechanism necessary for its firing apparatus.

Years of Imperial mining left a deep trench in the planet’s surface, which was later converted as a building mechanism to construct the base’s main weapon. This eliminated the constant need for materials to be shipped to and from multiple secret locations, like the Death Star.

9 The Death Star Was More Versatile

Death Star at Endor

The original Death Star was meant to be a moving battle platform that could go anywhere and take out anything, regardless of how strong the defenses were. Had it buttoned up its weak points, the weapon would have maintained the Empire’s galactic dominance for centuries; perhaps eons.

The first Death Star was designed as a planet killer, but the second one constructed above the forest moon of Endor was capable of zeroing individual ships for destruction. It’s clear that a versatile battle platform was a primary desire of the Emperor.

8 Starkiller Base Was More Destructive

Starkiller Base firing

The Death Star was capable of obliterating an entire planet in one shot, but that destructive power paled in comparison to what Starkiller Base could do. After consuming the energy from a nearby star, the main weapon fired a massively devastating energy projectile that was beyond anything seen before.

This energy beam tore a hole through hyperspace to strike its targets almost instantaneously. The beam was also capable of splitting into several in order to decimate multiple targets within the same vicinity. Entire systems could be obliterated in one fell swoop.

7 The Death Star Had Mobility

Death Star vs. Yavin IV

Though Starkiller Base was capable of movement, the Death Star seemed to surpass it in terms of overall mobility. The sheer size meant that it took longer to reach targets. Worse, it would have to find a new star to migrate towards in order to recharge its firing capabilities.

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The Death Star could enter hyperspace and emerge on any planet’s doorstep, ready to fire. Its self-contained firing mechanism didn’t require any external energy sources, meaning it could perform hit and run attacks while waiting for its super-laser to recharge.

6 Starkiller Base Had A Better Power Source

Starkiller Base power source

What Starkiller Base lacked in mobility, it made up for with its designated power source. By drawing all of the energy out of a star and containing it within a magnetic field, the First Order possessed a mega-WMD of iconic proportions that could be turned loose at any given moment.

Although the act of consuming stars to generate firepower might have seemed counterproductive, its sheer destructive output could have acted as the ultimate deterrent to any kind of resistance.

5 The Death Star Was More Stable

Death Star Building

The First Order had troubles with their initial designs for Starkiller Base, as evidenced in the Star Wars: Resistance episode “The Core Problem.” Kaz and Poe Dameron set out to the Unknown Regions where they discover three devastated planets with missing cores.

The sheer amount of time and resources required to get a project like Starkiller Base off the ground would be astronomical. Having not one, but three separate fails before achieving the final product would have been catastrophic to the best laid plans.

4 Starkiller Base Had A Greater Firing Range

Starkiller Base firing range

The Death Star needed to be up close and personal in order to deal out damage, and this was largely a non-issue given its mobility. On the flip side, it meant enemies could track its location and movement patterns, giving them a means to set up a counterattack.

Starkiller Base could sit comfortably in the Unknown Regions and pick off targets from a distance, thanks to its hyperspace tunneling technology. Though the face of the fearsome planetoid would rarely be seen, its ability to strike from the darkness would be a major psychological warfare tool.

3 The Death Star Was More Psychologically Terrifying

Death Star terrifying

Speaking of psychological warfare, the Death Star would have been a far more insidious threat if it had been allowed to patrol the galaxy. The sheer sight of such a monstrous super weapon appearing on the horizon would send millions of people into a full-blown panic.

In this respect, the Death Star would have served as a fitting deterrent against any potential opposition. It would need only destroy a handful of planets at best in order to solidify the Empire’s stranglehold on the galaxy.

2 Starkiller Base Had Better Defenses

Starkiller Base defenses

The Death Star was marred by defense issues, most notably when it came to shielding. If fighters could penetrate the exterior danger zone, they were able to evade surface turbo-laser fire and go after their designated targets. The second Death Star was protected by a shield generator set up on the forest moon of Endor, requiring a strike team to knock it out before the fleet could run an assault on it.

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Starkiller Base had a powerful shield generator built right into its core that could deflect the strongest bombardments. It was also capable of preventing any intrusion from ships outside its shield radius. Its only weak point was a fractional refresh rate that allowed a ship to pass through just as it exited hyperspace, which was extremely dangerous.

1 The Death Star Was Based On Sith Tech

Sith Silencer

Though Starkiller Base was clearly the big daddy of evil super weapons, the Death Star was the original that struck fear into the galaxy. Its tech was an amalgamation of the galaxy’s best engineering minds, but its true purpose and potential lie thousands of years within mysterious Sith history.

According to most Legends material, the Sith had experimented with planet-killing super weapons on several occasions, and Emperor Palpatine believed his Death Star would cement his order’s symbolic hold on the galaxy. Everything that came after was an expansion of that original, sinister intent.

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Updated: December 2, 2020 — 1:00 am

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