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Could the Empire Really Afford to Build the Death Star?

The Death Star was a controversial concept for a number of reasons.

To begin with, it was designed to be a weapon of absolute destruction; one that wasn’t exactly helping the Imperial Empire’s image as a galactic dictatorship. The construction of the machine itself was also rocky — filled with turmoil, betrayals and uncertainty. But where the controversy will have really have hit everyone in the Star Wars universe is in their wallets. A construction of this scale, of this magnitude, does not come cheap. The Death Star was 160 kilometres in diameter, about the same distance as London to Bristol. That’s a lot of structure, which requires a lot of materials to build.

A price of 852 quadrillion credits, to be exact, was put on the materials needed to build the Death Star; a price tag which handily works out to be the same in USD, as if the universe itself was designed by an American.

Now, $852 quadrillion sounds like a lot, considering the total amount of money on Earth is considered to be about $90 trillion, or about 0.01% of the total cost of the Death Star. But, to a galactic government like the Imperial Empire, was this a big number? Was the Death Star actually financially viable, or was the idea simply another bit of fantasy?

And if it was affordable, who paid for it?

The eggheads over at Russell Smith Chartered Accountants have put their Jedi-level financial knowledge to work and delved deep into Star Wars lore. They’ve discovered exactly how the Imperial Empire was able to afford the ultimate weapon in the universe — and you can see all the details for yourself here:

How the Imperial Empire Paid for the Death Star

So, there’s a surprise.

How did a large, public body afford to build a large structure? They used taxation to harvest money from the people — and other beings. This infographic demonstrates that the Death Star was indeed financially possible to build and that it was done so through aggressive financial manoeuvres akin to real-world scenarios, such as the cost of wars.

While it is a fantasy weapon — and one the most iconic in history — that doesn’t mean it was an unrealistic feat within the confines of its own reality. The team at RSCA have proved that, in the Star Wars universe established through movies, TV and books, the Death Star was not only a formidable weapon against the rebellion, but also a megastructure that the Imperial Empire was capable of building. Unfortunately, though, despite petitions from the US public, the Death Star is not a purchase that we, the people of Earth, can make. Yet…

For now, you’ll only be seeing the Death Star, or its cousins Death Star II, Starkiller Base and probably Starkiller Base II (eventually) on the big screen.


If you enjoyed this article please consider checking out more of our movie content.

James Speyer
James Speyer
James is THG’s technophobic TV nut, movie addict and theorist crackpot. He’ll be bringing you features, insights and incoherent ramblings on all your favourite and least favourite shows and movies.

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