The First ‘Star Wars’ Supership – The Malevolence Breakdown
Star Wars is full of super-weapons and massive ships. Let’s take a look at one of the first ones, the Malevolence.
You know that a ship means business when it’s classified as a “Subjugator-class” and it’s also named the Malevolence. You might think it’s a little on the nose, but the Confederacy of Independent Systems were nothing if not fans of big, bold, unsubtle statements. And they’re fans of big, bold, unsubtle ships as well. And the Malevolence is both.
The Malevolence is Armed AF
A heavy cruiser that was one of only two Subjugator-class vessels known to exist, the Malevolence was a fearsome presence throughout the Clone Wars. As the flagship of the Kaleesh separatist, General Grievous, the Malevolence terrorized the Republic fleets in the early years of the Clone Wars.
With an armament capable of taking on entire fleets, it’s not hard to see why. The Malevolence boasted more than 500 turbolasers, 5 different point-defense laser cannons for intercepting missiles and fighters, a massive tractor beam, and a deadly superweapon known as a mega-ion cannon.
These were a massive array of ion cannons that created a circular blast of energy that could disable entire fleets for the Malevolence. And with two mega-ion cannons aboard, the Malevolence could broadside fleets on both port and starboard. Ships caught in the blast were disabled, left without shields, weapons, or communications. In such a defenseless state, even whole fleets were easy prey for the Malevolence.
The Empire’s Dark Secret
But more than the mega-ion cannon, the true power of the Malevolence lay in secrecy. The Malevolence was manufactured in secret by Quarren engineers. That’s no small task when you’re building a ship that measures over 4,000 meters in length. The ship outsized five Venator-class Star Destroyers. And when the Malevolence attacked, it left no survivors, thanks to its complement of more than 900 battledroids. This includes specialized “pod hunters” that would hunt down escape pods and destroy them. They would leave only ruin and rumors in the Malevolence’s wake.
During the battle of Abregado, Jedi Master Plo Koon was attacked aboard the Triumphant. But he managed to survive the initial ion burst and the destruction of his vessel. He and his crew were able to destroy the pod hunter, and manage to get a transmission to nearby allies Anakin Skywalker and Ahsoka Tano who had disobeyed orders to go out in search of the escape pods. The secret weapon had now been revealed. Once, the Malevolence attempted to destroy a medical facility. A group of Y-wings known as the Shadow Squadron were able to target its main weapon. They destroyed the mega-ion cannons, and drive it off.
The End of the Malevolence
Eventually the actions of General Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO, R2-D2 and Padme Amidala were able to destroy the ship from within, directing the Malevolence to crash into the Dead Moon of Antar. Some wonder that the Republic intelligence programs never pursued the mega-ion cannon again after the Empire rose. They must surely have been directed by Darth Sidious to salvage the ship. Such a weapon would surely be a boon to the Imperial navy, but, the weapon was left forgotten on Antar.
Perhaps, for the better.