Once again, the forces of the Sith have arranged themselves behind immense power. The Starkiller Base – contained within an entire unnamed planet – was the pinnacle of destructive technology, able to obliterate entire star systems. The destruction of this weapon was the goal of the Resistance in The Force Awakens, and they succeeded after paying a terrible price. Want to know how it works?
Using a method of cutting off sunlight from the surface of the planet, a star’s energy would be drained into the core of Starkiller base, and then move on to another using thrusters built into the planet’s crust. The energy within is referred to as “quintessence,” a form of dark energy present throughout the galaxy. The energy would be held in place both by the planet’s magnetic field, as well as an artificial containment field the First Order had installed. A thermal oscillator (which was the target of the sabotage by Finn, Han, and Chewie) worked to contain the quintessence using much less than a stable field would.
A vast cylinder, large enough to draw the eye when viewing the planet from orbit, sank to where the energy was stored in order to direct the energy toward a target. The cylinder also absorbed the shock of the weapon’s firing. It is in this way the weapon was most vulnerable right before firing – should the thermal oscillator be destroyed, the energy would quickly destroy the planet, as we saw in Episode VII.
When firing, a small breach would be made in the containment field, leading to the cylinder. The quintessence transformed into “phantom energy,” able to travel through sub-hyperspace. This made travel to Starkiller Base’s target near instantaneous until it reach a large enough solid mass. When struck, the phantom energy produced enough heat to detonate the planet’s core. The space-time distortion the phantom energy traveling at such speeds made it possible to see the destruction simultaneously thousands of light-years away.
Starkiller Base was protected by shields able to stop bombardment and enemy infiltrators, but critical gaps in the shield’s refresh allowed the Millennium Falcon to land during the third act of Episode VII.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of another destructive force in the galaxy! Come back next week for more fun fan information.