Star Destroyer

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Star Destroyer
A pair of Imperial II-class Star Destroyers and a squadron of TIE fighters pursue the Millennium Falcon.
First appearance A New Hope
Launched Clone Wars
References Encyclopedia[1]
General characteristics
Class Star Destroyer:
  • Venator class
  • Victory class
  • Imperial class
  • Executor class
  • Resurgent class
Fighters Galactic Republic: Galactic Empire:
Auxiliary craft Galactic Republic: Galactic Empire:
  • Taim & Bak XX-9 heavy turbolaser batteries
  • Ion cannon emplacements
  • Point-defense flak turrets
  • Anti-starfighter missile emplacements
  • Tractor beam projectors
Defenses Deflector shield
Length Between 1,600 to 2,915 meters
Population volume Galactic Republic:
Galactic Empire:

Star Destroyers are capital ships in the fictional Star Wars universe. The Imperial Star Destroyer, which first appears in the first seconds of Star Wars (1977), is "the signature vessel of the Imperial fleet".[2] The term "Star Destroyer" also refers to other vessels in the franchise.

Numerous Star Destroyer models and toys have been released, and the iconic scene featuring the vessel's first appearance has been called "a milestone in special effects history".

Concept and design[edit]

In draft scripts for the film that would become Star Wars, the term "Stardestroyer" refers to two-man fighters flown by what would become the Galactic Empire.[2] The film's second draft features four Star Destroyers chasing a single Rebel ship,[3] but the tremendous costs incurred by Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) when production began helped lead Lucas to use a single "terrifyingly large" Star Destroyer instead of four.[4] ILM built a 91-centimeter (36 in) shooting model that was about half the size of the model for the Tantive IV the Star Destroyer was chasing.[2] Lucas asked ILM to build a larger Star Destroyer model to match the Tantive IV's scale, but ILM convinced him that the Dykstraflex camera invented for the film made this unnecessary.[5] Nevertheless, they added additional hull details to the Star Destroyer model.[5] The 13-second opening shot was the first special effects piece ILM completed,[5] and its success was an essential test for the Dykstraflex.[5]

ILM built a 259-centimeter (102 in) Star Destroyer, equipped with internal lighting to provide a better sense of scale, for The Empire Strikes Back (1980).[2] During production, Lucas decided that every Star Wars film would open in space with a shot of a Star Destroyer.[6] The Empire Strikes Back also introduces the "Super Star Destroyer", also referred to as a "Star Dreadnought".[7] The shooting model for the Super Star Destroyer Executor in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi was 282 centimeters (111 in) long.[8]

The design of the Venator-class Star Destroyers appearing in Revenge of the Sith (2005) are meant to bridge the appearance of the Acclamator-class transports in Attack of the Clones (2002) and the Imperial class in the original trilogy.[9]


Films and television[edit]

The iconic Star Destroyer first appears in the opening scene of Star Wars, as Darth Vader's flagship, the Devastator, chases the Tantive IV above Tatooine. This appearance shows the Imperial ship's massive size in comparison to the Tantive IV.

Imperial-class Star Destroyers appear not only throughout the original trilogy, but also in Star Wars Rebels and Rogue One (2016). Rey scavenges material from one such Star Destroyer, the Inflictor, in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015). Rey lives in a small encampment near the Inflictor crash site, and takes what little parts she finds inside to the nearby Niima Outpost to be sold.

The original trilogy also features a massive Super Star Destroyer that serves as Darth Vader's flagship in The Empire Strikes Back. The same Super Star Destroyer, still commanded by Admiral Piett, again appears as the Imperial command ship at the climax of Return of the Jedi.[8] In the sequel trilogy movie, The Force Awakens, Rey pilots the Millennium Falcon through the wreckage of the crashed Super Star Destroyer, Ravager, during a chase scene.

Other Star Destroyer varieties appear in the Star Wars prequel and sequel films. Star Wars creator George Lucas calls the cigar-shaped Separatist cruisers visible at the beginning of Revenge of the Sith "Star Destroyers" in the movie's DVD commentary track.[10] Venator-class Star Destroyers are introduced in Revenge of the Sith and later appear throughout Star Wars: The Clone Wars.[9] The Venator-class ships initially appear with a red and grey Republic color scheme. However towards the end of Revenge of the Sith the Venators are gray and white, signifying the Empire's rise to power.[9]

The Force Awakens introduces the Resurgent class of battlecruisers, belonging to the First Order and designed to resemble Star Destroyers. One of them, the Finalizer, is commanded by Kylo Ren.[11]

The Last Jedi introduces the Mega-class Star Destroyer, the Supremacy, which is commanded by Supreme Leader Snoke himself and acts as the headquarters of the First Order.

Novels and other media[edit]

In addition to the main Films and TV series, much of the other Star Wars media post-2014 is also considered canon. These materials feature additional details and storylines involving Imperial Star Destroyers; also introducing other varieties.

It is revealed that the Empire had a dozen Super Star Destroyers in service during the time of the Battle of Endor,[12] in addition to Darth Vader's Executor command ship (as the sole ship depicted in the films).[13] The final surviving Super Star Destroyer, the Ravager, is the vessel whose wreckage appears in The Force Awakens. The Ravager's crash onto Jakku is depicted in the game Star Wars Battlefront (2015).

Star Wars Legends[edit]

In April 2014, most of the licensed Star Wars novels, games, and comics produced since 1977 (and prior to 2014), were rebranded by Lucasfilm as Star Wars Legends; and therefore declared non-canon to the franchise.[14][15] However, Star Destroyers feature in numerous Legends publications, with a considerable amount of additional notable information.

According to Star Wars roleplaying books and other texts, Imperial-class Star Destroyers are constructed by Kuat Drive Yards and hold a distinguished place in the Imperial Navy, symbolizing the Empire's military might with a peak number of more than 25,000 vessels.[16] Like the Victory- and Venator-class ships that precede it, this Star Destroyer is notable for its massive size and overwhelming firepower; a single Imperial-class ship is capable of overwhelming most starships or devastating a hostile planet, and its mere presence is often enough to deter rebellion.[16] At 1,600 meters (5,200 ft) long, Imperial-class Star Destroyers are armed with turbolasers, ion cannons and tractor beam projectors.[16] They carry 72 TIE fighters, numerous ground forces (including stormtroopers, 20 AT-ATs and 30 AT-STs), a prefabricated base for rapid deployment to planetary surfaces, and a variety of support craft.[16] After the Battle of Endor, the Rebel Alliance captured several Imperial-class ships and added them to their own fleet.[17] Although the New Republic eventually upgrades its starfleet with newer ship types, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer remains in service well into the New Jedi Order era and fights during the Yuuzhan Vong War.[18]

Kevin J. Anderson's novel Darksaber describes a Super Star Destroyer as being "worth twenty Imperial Star Destroyers".[19] Described in A Guide to the Star Wars Universe (1984) as being 8 kilometers (5.0 mi) long, Executor-class Super Star Destroyers were later described as being 19 kilometers (12 mi) long.[20] In addition to Vader's command ship, Star Wars novels introduce the prison ship Lusankya and stealth-armored Night Hammer as ships in the class.[21][19]

The labels "Star Destroyer" and "Super Star Destroyer" are applied to several other massive Star Wars warships, such as the Pellaeon-class in the Legacy comic series (2006–2010), the reborn Emperor Palpatine's flagships Eclipse and Eclipse II in the Dark Empire series (1991–1995), and the Victory class first described in the early Star Wars novella Han Solo's Revenge (1979).[22][23]


Lego has released numerous Star Destroyer kits, including a 1-metre (3 ft 3 in) 3,104-piece Imperial-class Star Destroyer[24] and a 50-inch (130 cm) 3,152-piece model of the Executor.[25]

The Super Star Destroyer has also been merchandised. Kenner wanted to use a less ominous name than Executor for the toy playset of Darth Vader's meditation chamber.[8] An advertisement agency's list of 153 alternatives included Starbase Malevolent, Black Coven, Haphaestus VII, and Cosmocurse;[8] ultimately, the toy was labeled "Darth Vader's Star Destroyer".[8] In 2006, Wizards of the Coast created an Executor miniature as part of its Star Wars Miniatures Starship Battles game.[26] An electronic Super Star Destroyer toy released by Hasbro "is the rarest among Hasbro's Collector Fleet".[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Y-wing Fighter". Star Wars Encyclopedia. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2012-03-19. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Star Wars: Databank: Imperial Star Destroyer". Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2011-12-22. 
  3. ^ Taylor, p. 115
  4. ^ Taylor, pp. 121-22
  5. ^ a b c d Taylor, p. 171-73
  6. ^ Taylor, pp. 247-48
  7. ^ Fry, Jason; Paul R. Urquhart (2012-04-01). Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Warfare. Titan Publishing Company. p. 117. ISBN 978-1781161401. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "Star Wars: Databank: Super Star Destroyer". Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  9. ^ a b c "Star Wars: Databank: Republic attack cruiser". Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-11-05. 
  10. ^ Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith DVD commentary
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Wendig, Chuck (2016). Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt. Random House. 
  13. ^ Wendig, Chuck (2015). Star Wars: Aftermath. Random House. p. 18. ISBN 9780804177665. Those who received top marks at the Academy went on to serve on the Death Star, or on Vader's command ship, the Executor 
  14. ^ McMilian, Graeme (April 25, 2014). "Lucasfilm Unveils New Plans for Star Wars Expanded Universe". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  15. ^ "The Legendary Star Wars Expanded Universe Turns a New Page". April 25, 2014. Retrieved May 26, 2016. 
  16. ^ a b c d Gorden, Greg (1993). Star Wars Imperial Sourcebook (2nd ed.). West End Games. ISBN 0-87431-210-8. 
  17. ^ Horne, Michael Allen (June 1993). Dark Empire Sourcebook. West End Games. ISBN 0-87431-194-2. 
  18. ^ Wiker, J.D.; Steve Miller. The New Jedi Order Sourcebook. Wizards of the Coast. ISBN 0-7869-2777-1. 
  19. ^ a b Anderson, Kevin J. (1996). Darksaber. Bantam Spectra. pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-553-57611-9. 
  20. ^ "Super Star Destroyer". Lucasfilm. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  21. ^ "Isard, Ysanne (Expanded Universe)". Star Wars Databank. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2007-12-15. 
  22. ^ Daley, Brian. The Han Solo Adventures. Random House. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-307-79548-9. 
  23. ^ Horne, Michael Allen (1993). Star Wars: Han Solo and the Corporate Sector Authority. West End Games. pp. 91–92. ISBN 0-87431-199-3. 
  24. ^ "Imperial Star Destroyer". Star Wars: Cargo Bay. Lucasfilm. Retrieved 2008-02-14. 
  25. ^ Terdiman, Danial (2011-06-17). "Darth Vader's personal Lego spaceship flies Sept. 1". CBS Interactive. Retrieved 2011-06-18. 
  26. ^ "Starship Battles Preview 1". Wizards of the Coast. 2006-10-19. Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  27. ^ "Star Wars: Cargo Bay – Electronic Super Star Destroyer". Retrieved 2007-07-15.  |archive-url= is malformed: timestamp (help)


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