From the first Star Wars movie, we became captivated by the Death Star. The ability to blast planets away with the push of a button helped define the power of the Empire.
Then with the sequel movies, we came to know the Starkiller Base and its even greater destructive capabilities. If we compare both mobile battle stations, which would be better–the Death Star or Starkiller Base?
For a proper comparison, we really need to review the first and second Death Stars alongside the Starkiller Base. From this comparison, we may conclude that the Starkiller Base is indeed more powerful, but the Death Stars still may hold our interest more.
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The Empire designed the original Death Star as a mobile battle station with the capability of destroying an entire planet. It was the size of a moon and contained a superlaser that blew up the planet Alderaan in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.
This capability and actual destruction mark the first advantage of the first Death Star.
The second Death Star was designed to be bigger than the first one and more technologically advanced. Its superlaser was powered by an improved reactor core and firing capabilities.
The second Death Star could not only take out planets, but it also had firing options to destroy Rebel ships. Hence, from Death Star 1 to 2, we see powerful yet versatile destructive mobile battle stations emerge.
As one review of Star Wars weaponry concludes, the mobility of the Death Star could make it a superior weapon compared to the Starkiller Base. The first Death Star, and the second if it had been completed, could go into hyperspace and launch a surprise attack on a planet.
Moreover, the Death Star did not need an external source of power. The Starkiller Base needed a nearby star to power it. If the Rebels had not destroyed both Death Stars, the Empire would have dominated the Star Wars galaxy.
After the collapse of the Empire, we saw the rise of the First Order in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Supreme Leader Snoke desired an even more powerful weapon than the Death Stars. The result was the Starkiller Base.
The Starkiller Base was built inside the planet Ilum, located far out in the Unknown Regions. This base literally used the planet’s core to operate and drew upon a neighboring star to power the weapon.
This planet-sized base was able to fire an incredibly powerful laser beam that could travel through hyperspace. The Starkiller base had the ability to wipe out an entire star system, not just one planet.
In an event known as the Hosnian Cataclysm, the Starkiller Base destroyed five planets with one shot. In comparison, Death Star 1 destroyed two planets separately–Alderaan and Despayre.
In terms of destructive power then, the Starkiller Base appears to be superior to the Death Star. Other factors give the Starkiller Base an advantage too.
The same Screen Rant article from above not only emphasizes the ability to hit multiple targets at once but also that fewer materials were used to build the Starkiller Base and the latter drew on a much stronger energy source.
Since the base was constructed in a dug-out core of a planet, there was no need to transport as many building materials to complete the Starkiller Base.
Drawing on the energy of a star also enabled the Starkiller Base to fire devastating blasts over extreme distances and take out multiple planets.
In addition, the Starkiller Base did not need to move close to its targets. It could blast its energy beam clear across the galaxy.
The First Order could have dominated the galaxy if the Resistance had not destroyed the Starkiller Base.
Death Star 2 vs. Starkiller Base
If we compare the Death Star 2 and the Starkiller Base, we may be able to make a final determination.
The second Death Star was large and designed as an improvement upon Death Star 1. Yet, the Starkiller Base was enormous–about three times the length, width, and height.
The Starkiller Base also required fewer crew members: 750,000 personnel compared with 1.3 million troops and additional staff for the Death Star 2.
Hence, the Starkiller Base is larger, more powerful, and needs fewer people to operate it. This base is efficiently destructive.
Star Wars fan discussions also confirm the destructive power of the Starkiller Base makes it more powerful than the Death Star 2. However, in a contest against one another, some speculate that Death Star 2 might prevail.
As one post indicates, the Death Star 2’s maneuverability is key. It could move out of the way of a Starkiller blast. The second Death Star’s superlaser also had a faster recharging time of about three minutes.
Then again, the Death Star 2 did need to move relatively close to its targets to fire its superlaser and could be tracked by Rebel forces. The Starkiller Base did not have such limitations.
The Starkiller Base used the same hyperspace tunneling technology that ships relied on, but used it instead to destroy targets from distant space. We may be most familiar with this technology from visuals of the Millenium Falcon flying through hyperspace.
Collectively, the Starkiller Base seems to win out.
Starkiller Base and Death Stars
Since the Starkiller Base could strike multiple targets from out of nowhere, it was not only more destructive but awesomely terrifying.
However, we might remember how impressive the Death Stars were when first introduced.
In terms of awe-inspiring capabilities, the Death Stars may still win out. The first Death Star captivated audiences with its planet-blasting ability. Death Star 2 also frightened and excited us with its improved destruction, even when it was not complete.
Although the Starkiller Base wins out in terms of power and technology, audience members and fans may give the nod to the Death Stars.
Todd Wahlstrom is a creative and analytical freelance writer and life-long Star Wars fan. He has covered such topics as Darth Vader, the Jedi, Boba Fett, and AT-AT Walkers. Todd has published a non-fiction book, holds a Ph.D. in history, and enjoys hiking, running, and reading about science.