Archive for weapons

Lightsaber Colors

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , on 5 May 2011 by Megan

Do the colors of the light sabers really mean anything? I’ve heard varying answers on this for years but no one seems to be able to get a decisive answer for me. It’s all “this is what I read here” or “this is what someone told me” but no solid authoritative answer to my question. — Michelle

Episode I lightsaber poster

Um, Christmas colors?

The lightsaber is a symbolic weapon, meant to demonstrate the Jedi’s dedication to defensive, not aggressive combat and their philosophical concern for finely tuned mind and body skills. Jedi are only warriors as a last resort, and their lightsabers are demonstrative of this.

As far as construction is concerned, lightsabers do follow a common design, and therefore all appear similar at first glance. However, close inspection reveals the originality of various elements of the design, including blade power, length modulation, and other features. Lightsabers are all hand-built and must be constructed with the Force. Often, learners modeled their own sabers after their masters’, as a sign of respect. If the slightest calibration is wrong, the weapon will detonate upon activation.

The pure energy blade has no mass, but its electromagnetically generated arc wave creates a strong gyroscopic effect, making the lightsaber challenging to handle. It operates on the complex principle of tightly controlled arc-energy, requiring focusing elements made from crystals. These crystals, either synthetic or natural, determine the length of the blade; a saber with a single crystal has a single length, but multiple crystals can create variable blade lengths.

Crosssection of Anakin’s lightsaber

The crystals are arguably the most important part of the lightsaber’s construction, and it is from these crystals that the colors are produced. Synthetic crystals, which cause the blade to turn crimson, are traditionally associated with the Sith and the Dark Side. Natural crystals, typically from the Adega system, bear green or blue colored blades; blue is traditional. The synthetic crystals are stronger, though natural crystals produce a more maneuverable blade.

As far as significance of colors goes, there isn’t really any. Synthetic crystals are associated with Sith but not exclusive to them. (For example, Luke Skywalker makes a red-bladed saber for Leia in the Correllian trilogy.) Personally I believe that Jedi prefer the natural crystals because they are natural and therefore have a stronger connection with the Force. Sith naturally prefer what is more powerful. The only reason Jedi might prefer a synthetic crystal is that Adegan crystals are increasingly rare, and in any situation where a lightsaber is needed and natural crystals are not readily available, synthetic is the obvious and only alternative. As for the choice between green and blue, it is simply a matter of preference.

Many colors

You may be aware that the expanded universe supplies a rainbow of colors for lightsaber blades. You also might know that the role-playing games also supplied a wide array of colors and powers associated with the crystals, and you might have noticed that Mace Windu has a purple lightsaber in Episodes II and III. This is some behind the scenes stuff that has an effect on the in-universe realities. The original lightsabers in the film were just white; later red and blue were added just to differentiate the good guys from the bad guys. (Luke’s saber was made green in ROTJ in order to stand out better against the blue sky in the Tatooine fight sequence.) When the toys first came out, therefore, they came out with lightsabers in all kinds of colors, including a yellow saber for Luke. This probably inspired the writers to similarly populate their writings with dozens of lightsaber colors (particularly attractive in color comics). It makes for a big question about what is “canon” or “right” in this instance, and the ultimate source of canon is of course Lucas himself.

George Lucas stated in an interview roughly about the time Episode II came out that lightsabers only come in three colors, a fact that the movies bear out. This is where Mace Windu’s saber comes in, the only Lucas-approved exception to the rule. Samuel L. Jackson is obsessed with purple, frequently requests that his characters have some association with purple, and also asked that he have a purple saber in the film in order to “stand out” more among the other Jedi (because I’m sure he would’ve been invisible without it). This, along with the writers supplying yellow, white, and purple sabers willy-nilly, creates an interesting challenge for someone like myself to justify.

Therefore, there are a couple of exceptions to the “green-blue-red” rule. Mace Windu’s saber is purple due to additional circuitry added to alter the color of the blade, likely to provide greater strength and maneuverability in his preferred method of fighting, Form VII. Yellow and white are also justifiable saber colors; Corran Horn describes how he uses a diamond to create a white saber based on his grandfather’s design. Volcanic lava crystals, particularly when paired with synthetic crystals, can also be used to create a yellow or orange blade as Callista or Jon Rey have.

White, orange, blue, green, red

I can’t find a source for this, but basically these are the “acceptable” colors.

So that’s about the best I can do. More information can be read in the Star Wars databank (here). My sources were The Complete Visual Dictionary and various readings and interviews I read or saw between 1999 and 2002, which don’t exist online any longer. I hope that answers your question! MTFBWY.

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Death Star

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , , on 5 April 2011 by Megan

hey, I thought you may be able to help cause I can’t seem to find the answer anywhere, what is the propulsion system on the death star? any other relevent specs would also be awesome. — Eric

The Death Star I

The Death Star I

The Death Star (Make: MK1 deep-space mobile battle station) has a diameter of 99.4 miles and 84 levels of 4,684 ft. each. Levels are divided into 357 sublevels of 13.1 ft. high. It houses about a million individuals and thousands of armed vessels. This includes a crew of 342,953 (285,675 operational craft, 57,278 gunmen, and 843,342 passengers, which I think includes officers, Stormtroopers, and admiralty).

It was built around a hypermatter reactor. “A fusion reactor of incredible proportions, fed by stellar fuel bottles lining its periphery, produced the raw energy demanded by the Death Star’s superlaser and propulsion systems. Much of the station’s interior volume was filled by the machinery necessary to sustain such a fusion core, with sublight propulsion systems and defense field generators lining the outer equatorial regions. Realspace propulsion was handled by an external array of powerful ion engines, which converted the raw fusion energy of the station’s core into thrust and pressed the stations great mass into any motion dictated by the Death Star’s huge navicomputer banks. . . . The Death Star’s hyperspace motivator units were comprised of linked banks of field generators such as those found aboard Imperial Star Destroyers. One hundred twenty-three individual hyperspace generators, tied into a single navigational matrix, were necessary to carry the Death Star beyond the speed of light. The intense power generated within the battle station, combined with its great mass, gave it both magnetic and artificial gravitational fields equal to those of a natural body many times its size.”

Its actual specs are this–it has a Class 4 hyperdrive. Engines: SFS-CR27200 hyperdrive reactor powering 123 Isu-Sim SSPO6 hyperdrive generators. 2 Sepma 30-5 sublight engines. Armaments: 1 superlaser (range: 29,241,719 mi); 5,000 Taim and Bak D6 turbolaser batteries; 2,500 Borstel MS-1 ion cannons; 768 Phylon tractor-beam emplacements; 11,000 combat vehicles (probably including AT-ATs, AT-STs, and TIEs of a variety of makes). Its maximum speed is 1.2c.*, and its fuel is compressed stellar hydrogen.

Its manufacturer was the Imperial Department of Military Research and Sienar Fleet Systems. The designers were varied–the concept came from Rath Sienar but was stolen by Grand Moff Tarkin. Further development took place by Geonosian Hive Engineers, and it was finalized by Bevel Lemelesk. It was built in three different locations–Geonosis, the black hole cluster called Maw Installation, and was completed with slave labor in orbit around the penal colony Despayre (which then became the first planet the space station destroyed).

So, there you have it! My sources were The Complete Cross-Sections, The Complete Locations, and The Technical Journal. MTFBWY!

* Johnson does not define the unit “c” anywhere in The Technical Journal, and it is not referenced anywhere in any other material.