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Would Narkina Five Work in REAL Life?

Would Narkina Five Work in REAL Life?

Season 1 of Andor was innovative for many reasons, including the prison it featured. Lead character Cassian Andor is arrested on false premises and sent to the Narkina 5, a work prison with high-security measures.

The concept is based on designs from the real world, but would this Star Wars prison work in real life?

Narkina 5 would probably falter in real life, but one aspect of the prison has dark potential. 

How Does Narkina 5 Work?

As shown in Episode 8 of Andor, Cassian Andor was sent to a prison on the water moon called Narkina 5.

This prison complex, or Narkina 5 detention facility, was an isolated labor prison consisting of 7 facilities placed in the middle of a lake.

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Each cylinder or facility can hold up to 5,000 inmates who are divided into 98 work teams to assemble mechanical parts for an unknown project.

With less than 100 guards, Narkina 5 works by establishing “strictly enforced sections” that include a central command section, work ring, and dormitory outer ring.

This inside look of the episode shows a quick aerial view of the prison and the work section. Beyond the structure of the prison, the electrified tunqstoid steel floors are crucial to how the prison controls the prisoners. 

Andor | Inside Look at Narkina 5 | Disney+

The prison in Andor is innovative because its “control mechanism is built directly into the architecture,” meaning the floor of the prison units.

These steel floors can send jolts of electricity through the bare-foot prisoners’ bodies, which could kill them. The prison command center could electrify the prisoners or a shock could be sent by hand-held remote controls. 

As one assessment of Narkina 5 indicates, this prison is an “ingenious” Imperial creation because of the punishment and reward system and the seemingly omnipotent power.

Prisoners are rewarded with tasty food for good work while the most underperforming group gets electrified. In addition, prisoners hear “an incorporeal voice from somewhere in the control center of the complex” but do not see the person behind it. 

Hence, the prison is designed so the prisoners believe they are constantly being monitored, even if they are not.

The psychological element of control bolsters the facility’s measures to keep prisoners contained and compliant. It could be the feature that makes it work in real life. 

Would Narkina Five Work in Real Life?

The Most Disturbing Prison In The Universe

The above video argues that the Narkina Five prison could work in real life because of its ability to control prisoners.

The “architecture itself” becomes the means to control, monitor, and keep prisoners away from society.

The video explains the concept of a panopticon, or central watchtower, that goes back to the 18th century where the guards can always see and check on the prisoners, but not vice versa. 

The ability to “create the illusion” that prisoners are constantly watched and monitored could combine with the technology shown in Andor to enable Narkina Five to work in real life.

The panopticon approach is aimed at making the prisoners control their own behavior, lessening the number of guards needed. Add in the jolt of electricity as a backup measure and this prison could be effective.

Of course, the prison break and escape in Andor demonstrated that the system is not fullproof. 

For one, the tunqstoid floors could short out from water flooding on them, as in the episode.

The prison inmates start a fight | Star Wars Andor Series Episode 10 “One Way Out” (HD)

Two, working in small groups allowed the prisoners to foster an alliance and stage a mock fight to distract the guards.

Three, hiding weapons to attack and overpower greatly outnumbered guards. Four, the prisoners could combine and storm the control room.

Riots and widespread violence erupted and “crippled the prison facility,” which could happen with real prisoners in this system. 

Star Wars fans have commented on this topic, and many think that it would not work.

As one post states, real-world prisons probably would not want “prisoners doing precision work even if they had the technical background.”

This would pose practical and obedience issues, along with quality of work considerations.

Others point out “the really foolish part of the design is to put windows in the bridges so that prisoners can find a way to communicate.”

So, the design itself has issues that create problems in the real world. 

What Else to Consider About Narkina 5?

As another post from above suggests, the real world does not have this technology yet. Also, if this world did, the electricity would probably not run through humans so readily.

These considerations raise further doubts about Narkina 5 in real life.

However, the psychological elements could be effective.

Ethical considerations aside, the game of an omnipotent bodiless power in charge of prisoners results in a constant fear and means to control prison populations.

As another article describes, “the prison itself was beautifully designed in stark white and black” but contrasts with “the bleak mental environment.”

This intentionally despairing mental environment could serve to keep prisoners in line in this world. 

This article on also stresses the “sterile, white, soulless environment” of the prison that will “slowly destroy any remaining individuality.”

While the technical and technological features may not work in the real world, it seems like the draining mental elements would. 

Narkina 5 in Real Life

As an innovative aspect of Andor, Narkina 5 shows (dark) promise and pitfalls for working in real life. The aspects of control could be debilitating or lead to a revolt. Yet, the psychological element seems to bring the most traction, and concern, for feasibility in our world. 

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