In a single strike the capital system of the New Republic was destroyed, and the First Order rose. Lets take a look at the weapon that did it.
Starkiller Base is a superweapon’s superweapon. And that’s saying something, considering that the Imperial forces in the galaxy were especially fond of technological terrors that could destroy entire fleets, cities, or even planets in a single dramatic strike. From the Malevolence to the weather satellites used by Operation: Cinder, to the iconic Death Star, superweapons have been used throughout the galaxy’s long and bloody history.
However, one of the most powerful superweapons was the First Order’s Starkiller Base. Where other superweapons would destroy a planet, Starkiller base destroyed whole star systems, and at massive range. With Starkiller Base, the First Order could destroy their enemies from halfway across the galaxy.
But what was Starkiller Base? How did the fierce machine upon which General Armitage Hux stood so proudly come to be? Let’s take a look.
It all begins on Ilum, a planet deep in the Unknown Regions and rich in kyber crystals. Kyber crystals are known for their energy transferring property. Ilum was a secret planet that was kept hidden to all but a select few individuals, mostly Jedi. During the Imperial Age, the Empire mined the planet for kyber crystals to align and focus the Death Star’s superlaser. It was this mining operation that left the planet’s trademark equatorial trench.
But after the Empire fell at the Battle of Jakku, the founders of the First Order retreated from the galaxy, taking with them secret research logs and other whispers from classified Imperial laboratories in order to find this lost planet. After decades of searching, the First Order came to Ilum, and there worked in secret to convert the entire planet into a superweapon. Which, for an organization that claimed to be the inheritors of the Empire’s ideal, is pretty on point.
Starkiller Base, or The Starkiller, was transformed into a planet-wide mobile superweapon with a colossal superlaser array embedded in the equatorial trench of the planet. The First Order’s scientists worked to bring to fruition the Galactic Empire’s research into ‘dark energy’ — a form of energy that permeated the entire universe but was diffuse and difficult to detect.But this energy field that permeates all living things is different from the other one known as The Force.
The invisible, impossible to detect energy field that helps bind the universe together that powers the Starkiller Base was called Quintessence. This was their term for energy pulled from Dark Matter–it required no belief or discipline, just machinery to harvest. Using a star as a power source, an array of Quintessence Collectors would gather dark energy and store it in the planet’s core, where it could be held in place by both the planet’s natural magnetic field and an artificial containment field maintained by a thermal oscillator.
This allowed Starkiller Base to hold massive amounts of dark energy which it needed, in order to fire. In this way Starkiller Base destroyed far more than just the targets it was aimed at–it could also extinguish a star, which is a deadly feat in its own right. When fully charged, Starkiller base proved capable of wiping out the capital system of the New Republic, destroying utterly the planets and their nearby fleets in a single event.
You might be wondering how a planet in the Unknown Regions could strike across vast distances in so little time. Well, First Order scientists were resourceful. The dark energy expelled from the planet would become transformed into a state known as phantom energy. Phantom energy, is of course, a state of dark energy that allows it to tunnel–not through hyperspace, but rather a different sort of hole through the space-time continuum known as sub-hyperspace. Sub-hyperspace is different from regular hyperspace, in that where hyperspace moves across the galaxy, sub-hyperspace moves through it. Which is why people were able to see the dark–er–phantom energy travel in a straight line at almost instantaneous speed.
Meaning that everyone in the galaxy regardless of distance or stellar positioning could see the effects of the beam. And because of the disruption of space-time caused by the phantom energy igniting a pocket nova in a planetary core, the nova was instantly visible as well, so everyone throughout the galaxy could see the Republic fall.
Not long after firing for the first and only time, Starkiller Base was destroyed and no one seems to have attempted to replicate this particular superweapon since.
May the Force be with you