Apr 072017

“Generation Tech” is the YouTube channel of the very best kind of nerd: the kind who over-analyzes Star Wars and tries to apply logic and rationality to it. Some people think it’s silly to try to make popular science fiction or fantasy franchises such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings or the last eight years of the White House make sense, but I find it to be a good way to exercise the brain. With Star Wars, things are complicated by decades of officially licensed novels and comic books and the like that are now officially considered non-canonical, but which still slip into the new canon (witness Grand Admiral Thrawn now being wholly canonical).

Still, some interesting conclusions can be drawn by taking some widely separated, and almost certainly unrelated, hints (hints that were never meant to be linked together by the various authors) and drag them kicking and screaming into some sort of grand unified nerd theory. For example, several details hint at the idea that Emperor Palpatine wasn’t just a simple one-dimensional Bad Guy. Instead… early on in his career he had visions of the galaxy being invaded by an extremely dangerous foe, one that the hidebound Galactic Republic would have been utterly incapable of fighting off. So his obsession with building up a remarkably pointless military (honestly, who was the Imperial navy, with those tens of thousands of star Destroyers supposed to fight?) wasn’t just a pointless obsession, but was a buildup to prepare the galaxy for incoming foes. The Death Stars turn out in this scenario to not be one-off weapons of internal suppression (though that’s what most of the people involved with them thought them to be), but basically the first of a new class of really big battleship to fight off the incoming world-sized enemy ships. There are rumors that this scenario just might ply out in the future Star Wars flicks, presumably the Episodes 10-12 trilogy.

And then there’s the question of “how does a regular schmoe take on a Jedi?” And the answer is the same that I thought up decades ago: shotguns.

Let’s face it: there are few enough situations where “shotgun” is the wrong answer. But against some self-important magical jackass with a laser sword, a shotgun would be extra-handy. Sure, they can use their Force-powers to accurately place their blades to reflect an incoming blaster bolt, which will bounce right off. But what happens to a chunk of lead, copper, steel, or depleted uranium flying at a Jedis face if said Jedi intercepts it with a light saber? He *might* vaporize the projectile. And I’m not sure than an ounce of uranium *vapor* heading at his face it going to be a whole lot safer for him. Not mentioned in the video: grenade launchers. Shoot projectiles at the Jedi that are designed to explode when struck with a light saber… and at no other time. Maybe he can hurl them back at you with the Force, but big whoop. If they go *kerblam* if he uses his blade on them, then he’s got a grenade going off at arms length.

 Posted by at 1:43 pm
  • Rick

    always figured DS constructs were for the same reason as aircraft carriers – force projection

    • Robbie

      They are like aircraft carriers because they do carry thousands of TIE Fighters (Tarkin was a moron for not deploying that massive force against the pathetic Rebel attack) and nuclear deterrence rolled into one.

      • Rick

        not to mention thousands of “boots on the ground” and central C&C. And a big shadow that reminds people who holds the High Ground.

        As a mobile base of everything, that’s pretty much the definition of “force projection”. and not “midichlorian mysticism” force either.

        • Robbie

          Yeah I think Tarkin was a tad overzealous when he destroyed Alderaan. A lower power shot from the Superlaser could have blown the planetary shield and shown them who was boss. Destroying Alderaan just turned the entire Galaxy against the Empire.

          • Rick

            a real smart Empire couldve done wonders with Media. As it was, the Rebellion was really never that large. Stomping all of Alderaan to root out Lei and her crew, yeah, big propaganda mistake.

            Thing is, according to formerly in-canon books, the Empire can and did deploy much more plausibly deniable weapons of mass destruction, even tailored plagues that only wiped out specific families or races. Coulda done the same to the Organas.

            But then Lucas was really not the genius he’s been made out to be. Other than a structure adapted from some samurai movies and leveraging marketing for toys greater than ever done before, his stories are awfully thin and only recently has any work been done in-canon to try to flesh things out.

  • Robbie

    When you consider the Star Wars galaxy with its millions of inhabited worlds and quadrillions of beings, blowing up one or two and killing a few billion isn’t even a drop in the bucket. The Death Star starts to make sense when you consider how expensive it would be in men and materiel to subjugate an entire world, especially one protected by a global deflector shield like Alderaan was.

    • Scottlowther

      The problem is…Alderaan was *already* a part of the Empire. There was no need to conquer the joint. The paradox is that the grip the Emperor put on places like Alderaan was exactly what caused them to rebel in the first place; a little bit of benign neglect coupled with greasing the wheels of the local Tamany Hall would have served a whole lot better. That’s what makes the “Palpatine sees an external threat” theory so compelling… it explains *why* the Empire needed that military. And once they had it, like any bureaucracy they decided they might as well use it. And since apparently only the Emperor (and according to some recent speculation, Thrawn) knew that there was an outside threat coming, all the Governors and Moffs and Admirals decided to get all bossy, which made the locals rebel, which made the Empire respond, which made more locals annoyed… etc.

      • Paul451

        That’s what makes the “Palpatine sees an external threat” theory so compelling… it explains *why* the Empire needed that military. […] And since apparently only the Emperor (and according to some recent speculation, Thrawn) knew that there was an outside threat coming, all the Governors and Moffs and Admirals decided to get all bossy,

        The flaw in the theory is that Palpatine didn’t tell anyone. Fear of an outside attacker is a huge propaganda tool. It would have allowed him to justify every action against rebels (both political resistance within the Empire, as well as The Rebels).

        Plenty of dictators and wannabes have made up external (or outside-group internal) threats to fake such a crisis. It beggars belief that Palpatine wouldn’t use an actual galaxy-wide existential threat to avoid wasting resources fighting pissant little rebel groups. It beggars belief that he wouldn’t have used it to keep his own people (Governors/Moffs/Admirals) in line. It beggars belief that he wouldn’t have used it to sow doubt in the mind of Luke during that final confrontation in RotJ.

        • Scottlowther

          > The flaw in the theory is that Palpatine didn’t tell anyone.

          Not necessarily. *Presumably* the reason who knows (or believes) that a major external threat is coming a few decades down the line is because he had some sort of Force-derived “vision.” So, ok, who’s he going to tell? Before he’s Emperor, Senator Palpatine would have to explain that “oh, yeah, I know it’s coming because I’m secretly a Sith,”and then the unaccountable Jedi come and lop his noggin off.

          After he’s Emperor, he’s loaded with paranoia. Telling people that he’s a Sith will no longer bring the Jedi down on him, but the Sith were nevertheless extremely unpopular in the Galaxy at large; while he’s accumulating power and putting things in order he hardly needs to have the galaxy fighting him. From the movies and Rebels show, it seems that most of the Galaxy is reasonably satisfied with the Imperial order, with only a relatively tiny minority getting all rebel-y. But if everyone knew he was a Sith, it’d be like if the President was revealed to be a Klansman.

          It would be funny and ironic if his foreknowledge was the standard vague prophesy: some force from outside the known Galaxy is going to arrive in a few generations, weillding weapons the size of worlds that can destroy whole systems, and will try to take over the established galactic order. And it turns out what he saw was Starkiller Base, which was built in the “Unknown Regions.”

          • Paul451

            Before he’s Emperor

            Yeah, I was assuming after the destruction of the Jedi, when he would need to stabilise his power with existing institutions like the Navy.

            But if everyone knew he was a Sith

            Pretty sure that cat was out of the bag with “Darth Vader” being his protege.

            However, he doesn’t actually need to tell people that he’s a Sith-lord, only that he’s a Force-user. Something he can obviously demonstrate.

            Hell, he doesn’t even need to do that, “We have reliable intelligence…”, and certainly anyone benefiting from the Empire will nod and loudly agree. And when his every subsequent action seems to be geared to addressing the threat, it would lend credence to his claim amongst many who aren’t his allies.

            Plus, I mean it’s a hell of an origin story: “Since I was a child, I was plagued with visions of the destruction of our galaxy. As I grew older, and understood more about the Force, I realised that it was a Force-prophesy. I tried to warn the Jedi, but under the influence of Yoda, they were too arrogant to listen. I’ve spent every moment of my life since then dedicated to preparing our galaxy for the coming war…” The whole martyr routine. The dude is physically burned, horribly disfigured, who would doubt his suffering-for-the-cause? Sympathetic as hell.

            [Arguing against myself: The scene in SW where Admiral Chokey berates Vader for his “sad devotion to that ancient religion”, while later Han Solo dismisses it as “Hokey religions and ancient weapons”. (Religions, plural. Just one of many. Yawn.) Of course, neither makes sense since the events in the prequels were recent history, occurring in both men’s lifetimes. So perhaps only a few people has direct knowledge of the Jedi’s abilities, perhaps there was a widespread skepticism about the Force through the Republic, perhaps Jedi were seen as self-delusional loonies with a few magic tricks and government funding (and the Sith an old scare-story.) Palpatine would know that revealing the prophesy, or rather his belief in the prophesy, would actually undermine his standing with even experienced military men like Adm. Chokey, let alone with the average blue-collar Han Sixpacks.]

            But if everyone knew he was a Sith, it’d be like if the President was revealed to be a Klansman.

            Frankly I’d be shocked if such a revelation upset Trump’s base.

          • Scottlowther

            > Pretty sure that cat was out of the bag with “Darth Vader” being his protege.

            Actually, Vader was essentially unknown until just a few years before Yavin. On “Rebels,” which is canon, Vader shows up and nobody knows who the hell he is. And in Episode IV, schmoes like Admiral Chokey feel free to trash talk him. It’s only afterwards that Vader gets any respect in the government heirarchy. He’s the Emperors enforcer… but he’s probably only one of many. There’s Vito, there’s Tony, there’s Babyface, there’s Brutus, there’s Vader, there’s Vinny, there’s Scarface, there’s Bugsy…

            > So perhaps only a few people has direct knowledge of the Jedi’s abilities

            Indeed so. In one of the prequels someone – Yoda or Windu – mentions that at their peak there were 10,000 Jedi keeping order in the galaxy. But the galaxy has on the order of 100 billion stars, so call it one *trillion* separate worlds and major habitats. That means one Jedi for every one hundred *million* worlds. That means that statistically *nobody* will ever see a Jedi. Hell, nobody will ever see anybody who ever saw anybody who ever saw anybody who ever saw anybody who ever saw anybody who ever saw anybody who ever saw a Jedi. There are doubtless orders of magnitude more charlatans *claiming* to be Jedi than actual Jedi.

            The Sith are a thousand years in the past. To the average galactic citizen they might be somewhat like gorgons are to us. But if a modern-day politician claimed to be a gorgon, at the very least we’d think he/she had a screw loose. Claims of being a gorgon, or an angel, or a demon, fairy, banshee, vampire or what-the-hell-ever may not (hopefully, would not) be believed, but the fact that the guy believes that he is means we’re gonna think he’s nuts and shouldn’t be running the show.

          • publiusr

            There is this short story from Borges,called “Three Versions of Judas.”

            I have this idea of the Force somehow evolving what–at first–seems like a two dimensional cackling villain. He may not even know why he exists. Sometimes, the universe needs its monsters to fight even worse things.

            My ideal cross-over would involve a Death Star being the base for heros from many other genres–in extra-galactic space.

            I had this dream once of a Death Star, looking very tiny, as one of the “heads” of the pillars of creation began to turn towards it.

  • MzUnGu

    DS,TIE fighters and laser swords are just stupid. A carefully engineered virus can easily wipe out a populated world and still keep all its resources in a world that nobody wears a environmental suit. You can even target it to those Midi-chlorian carriers. 😀

    • FelixA9

      They had those too.

  • Ben Warren

    Two thoughts:

    A shotgun loaded with buckshot might be more effective than one loaded with slugs. A Jedi can conceivably deflect a single projectile, but not a ballistic cloud of .38 caliber bullets. One or two will be intercepted, but the rest will at least wing him. Wing him enough times and that’ll add up to a fatal injury.

    Alternatively, there’s a material called Cortosis. When it’s of a certain purity, it initiates a feedback loop in lightsabers that shuts them down. So the ultimate anti-Jedi weapon might be an SMG loaded with Cortosis bullets, but only in the hands of a named character. Stormtroopers wouldn’t hit anything.

    • Scottlowther

      A full-auto12 gauge loaded with flechettes should do interesting things to a Jedi.

      If you’re really in the market for weapons to take down Jedi, talk to the weapons makers on Ix. They can hook you up with some Hunter-Seekers the size of a pencil that can be programmed to go after specific individuals. With the Holtzmann shield around it, if the Jedi swats it with his saber, it’ll explode with an Earth-shattering kaboom. I’m not sure, but I think the saber itself will also explode.

      • Ben Warren

        You had me confused there for a second. When you said “Ix”, I thought you were referring to “A boy who is not able to satisfactorily explain what a hrung is, nor why it should have chosen to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven”.

        But you got me thinking with the full-auto shotgun. Because if our budget is big enough, could we get this chambered in 12 gauge?

        Some may say it’s impractical, but I say that we are fighting against space-wizard-monks with laser swords, and we cannot allow them to be more impractical than us. We must close the impracticality gap with all deliberate speed!

  • Thalesourus