back to article After Death Star II blew: Dissecting the tech of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens

Despite the quasi-disaster of The Phantom Menace run of films, expectations are high for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In 1977, Star Wars achieved a rare feat in sci-fi film history – going boldly where Star Trek went before, and establishing a look and feel so distinct and so powerful it spawned a whole culture. Not just …

  1. moiety

    "If the Destroyer is actually a new one off the assembly line, that means that ship has had the same design for at least 50 years, which again seems highly unlikely."

    Dunno about that. It's a galaxy-spanning organisation, so not only do you have to pay lip-service to branding; but also have to consider the availability of spare parts, servicing, and making one good one out of a few broken ones if things go a bit titsup. A lifespan of 50 years for military vehicles isn't unheard of, just here on the one planet; so if you add travel times and communications lag (not to mention the cost and testing for new designs) galaxy-wide; it might make a lot of sense to standardise hard and change infrequently.

    1. Bc1609

      "standardize hard and change infrequently"

      This is especially true if one considers that the destroyer design we know and love from the OT must be relatively "modern" to that trilogy - in RotS we see the precursors to the destroyers (as well as the precursors to the TIE and X-Wing). Clearly there has been quite a lot of "progress" (or at least change) between the prequels and the originals - fuelled by the war, no doubt.

      The other thing to consider is the series' historical parallels. The transition of the galaxy from republic to empire is clearly based on the history of the Romans, and what happened once the Roman Empire collapsed? A technological dark age and withdrawal across almost all of Western Europe, with a handful of monastic orders preserving the old knowledge in relative isolation (not unlike old Ben in the desert). That scientific and technological progress should falter in the wake of an imperial collapse is hardly unprecedented.

      1. Fibbles

        Re: "standardize hard and change infrequently"

        The other thing to consider is the series' historical parallels. The transition of the galaxy from republic to empire is clearly based on the history of the Romans, and what happened once the Roman Empire collapsed?

        I'd consider the current Star Wars universe to be more similar to the last few centuries of the Roman empire. Technological stagnation, a military consisting mostly of 'barbarians' and mercenaries (recruiting fron the outer planeys, no more perfect clone troopers) and near constant civil war. Interestingly it was the empire's inability to care about events beyond its borders that contributed to its downfall. Perhaps the Star Wars rebels will eventualy seize control only to be overrun by space Goths who've been settling on the edges of the galaxy. Or perhaps analogies should only be taken so far.

      2. moiety

        Re: "standardise hard and change infrequently"

        @Bc1609 - Standardise I said, and standardise I meant. 8Þ

        Both are correct, but Brits tend to favour the -ise endings and Americans -ize. We're righter though because we English proper.

        1. dajames Silver badge
          Headmaster

          Re: "standardise hard and change infrequently"

          Both are correct, but Brits tend to favour the -ise endings and Americans -ize.

          Where the '-ize' ending is used to verb a noun or adjective -- as is the case with "standardize" -- that ending comes from Greek, where it would be spelt with a Zeta. The usual transliteration of Zeta into English is 'z' not 's'.

          The '-ize' spelling is preferred by the Oxford English Dictionary and was by the pre-Murdoch Times newspaper, as well as in American usage.

          There are, however, some words ending in '-ise' that have different etymology ("advertise", "devise", "incise", etc.), and there is no excuse for spelling these with a 'z' (on either side of the pond).

          In the UK the '-ise' spelling has become so common that (almost) nobody will criticize it, and if we use that spelling for everything we don't run the risk of an accidental, egregious, "advertize". In the US the '-ize' spelling seems to be accepted even where there is no etymological justification for it.

      3. LDS Silver badge

        Re: "standardize hard and change infrequently"

        Just, the Roman Empire collapsed under the large and continuos "barbarian" invasions, people who were behind in many arts and sciences - Rebels have a technology (and a culture) comparable to the Empire one - if not more advanced in some sectors (i.e. hyperdrive fighters). Also the Empire fell at its peak, not after a slow erosion.

        But even when the Roman empire fell, military technology didn't stop evolution (combat tactics may have, because very large well-trained armies were no longer easily available) - the "Dark Age" saw more advanced weapons than those available to the Romans.

        After all SW Empire defeat looks more like the German/Japan defeat in WW2 (space battles to me looked always very much alike the Pacific War battles, with the Zero-like Tie Fighters against the F4U Corsair-like X-Wings, and the slow, Dauntless-like Y-Wing...) - and after the Axis defeat war-developed technologies kept on to be developed further.

        1. BigFire

          Re: "standardize hard and change infrequently"

          The Empire does not have worse hyperspace drive technology compared to Rebel Alliance. They just choose not to equip them on Tie fighters as those are strictly mothership launched.

          1. Seanie Ryan

            Re: "standardize hard and change infrequently"

            Obviously Apple have not opened any stores in the Galaxy far, far away yet, so the idea of a yearly upgrade cycle has not been introduced yet. People just keep using what works....

            ;-p

        2. Heathroi

          Re: "standardize hard and change infrequently"

          The Roman Empire didn't just collapse because of Barbarian invasion. Usually they would under sufference take in a bunch treat them like crap, then flap round for bit while the Barbarbians revolted, (having first taught them effective soldiering) then would struggle to recover the area because the locals for one welcomed their new barbarian overlords who didn't know much about the niceties of the Roman class system ands its taxing methods and cared even less. Add to that the constant threat by various Roman provincial military commands against the emperor (Britain was a favourite as you could half way across Gaul with your legions before anybody know what you were cooking up)

          1. Vector

            Re: "standardize hard and change infrequently"

            Even with all of this (which is quite well reasoned), where does the author get 100 years between Menace and the latest film? They've said 30 years between Jedi and Force and the original trilogy couldn't have spanned more than 10 years which would mean Vader was 70 when he died and Luke would have been 45 to 50. When you figure back from that to New Hope, he must have been one of those Millennial late nesters.

      4. Tom 13

        Re: scientific and technological progress should falter in the wake

        I'd concur except as presented, it wasn't the collapse of an empire it was the restoration of the Republic. So there shouldn't be a collapse.

        A more fruitful line of thinking to consider is that for all we love the Rebels, they are the anti-technology, granola eating tree huggers of their universe.

    2. Russell Hancock

      I Agree...

      50 years is not that long for a lot of things here... even if newer versions come along they take a while to become the "norm"...

      In terms of Destroyers the closest equivilent i can think of would be the B-52 - These have been in service ~60 years already and have just been extended until ~2040 (please correct me if i'm wrong here!) although the avionics are completely new the airframe is the same...

      In other transport - the InterCity 125 - originally built in 1975 (40 years ago!) they are still in use down here in cornwall and will be for at least another 10 - 20 years as they are due another refit soon!...

      I can easily imagine things stagnating after (still during?) the collapse of the empire while a new power takes over - what ever that may be...

      1. Sadie

        Re: I Agree...

        Actually the 125s are only going to be around for another 2 to 3 years. Their replacements for Devon/Cornwall were ordered last year for 2018 delivery

    3. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

      It's not that unlikely

      If you were to look at the recently dismantled USS Enterprise (CVN 65, not NCC1701), and compared that to it's replacement, the Gerald R Ford (CVN 79), almost exactly 50 years have passed, and outwardly, the carriers looked very similar (especially after the Enterprise had it's island rebuilt). And you could compare them both to the non-nuclear Kitty-Hawk class, older still, and see significant design similarities.

      There are many changes to the catapults, arresting gear, propulsion, and other equipment fit, but outwardly, they're about the same size, using a similar hull form and island arrangement, although a practiced eye will see differences. This design is due to be used for new carriers for several decades more as well. Casual observation by a lay person (i.e. a film viewer) would probably see them the same (it's amazing how often in NCIS that the pennant number of a carrier that they're supposed to be on changes in a single show, and there's no outcry. Probably even more true on JAG).

      Major warships are now built to last decades. There's no reason to believe that spaceships will be any different.

      And you also have to realise that after the Empire was taken down, there would be a significant period of chaos, where major programmes like warship building would probably be put on hold.

      1. nijam

        Re: It's not that unlikely

        > after the Empire was taken down, there would be a significant period of chaos, where major programmes like warship building would probably be put on hold.

        Possibly more to the point, the Empire was much more miltaristic (or at least had a much larger military budget) than the Alliance.

      2. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: It's not that unlikely

        This also assumes that Palpatine really did control everything. 'Cause I thought that was what his Grand Moff's were for. I for one had trouble believing that RotJ was the last time we got to see our favorite Chancellor come Emperor. I'd like to think that he's still out there somewhere. But in a Galaxy that far away its just damned near impossible for for one cat to run. Thus this new Order thingy that sprung up. Which is like run by who? Ah yes those Grand Moff's I suspect.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: It's not that unlikely

          Its a JJ Abrams film, the tech is old because it has travelled through time. The occupants had no idea about the empire war in this timeline because the emperor is a Rotarian and works part time in a kitten orphanage back in their timeline.

          The old XWings didn't provide enough lens flare so JJ tweaked the new ones. BB8 was the offspring of R2D2 and the deathstar when R2 "probed" the deathstar.

          Kylo ren is luke skywalker (alternate) and the older luke skywalker is patting R2. They will need to meet and forgive/play pazaak over some blue drink.

          Tickets are booked for Friday after work, cant wait!

          1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

            Re: It's not that unlikely

            Simply look at RN destroyer design between the two world wars: The post Jutland WW-I Vs and Ws served throughout WW-II, and many later destroyers (including the then modern Hs serving in the first battle of Narvik) look very similar indeed.

            1. Muscleguy Silver badge

              Re: It's not that unlikely

              It depends on how quickly the tech moves. Very few if any dreadnoughts made it through the 1020s. The Hood (designed 1916, built 1920) was blown up by Bismarck because it's deck armour was too thin, built for an era before horizon or even over horizon fire was possible so the idea of a shell coming down almost vertically was not considered very likely.

              Repulse was easily sunk off Malaya by shore based Japanese planes because it had few anti-aircraft defences. Much newer US ships were much better equipped in terms of air defences. I used to wargame WWII naval and these things mattered.

              Also things like sonar and depth charge chutes could be retrofitted to an old destroyer without much obvious change to the outline. Yet the capability of the vessel for modern warfare would be greatly increased.

              A really big problem was differential speeds. Having to steam at a reduced speed because you have older elements which could not otherwise keep up was a big problem. For the formation and cohesion of convoys as much as carrier battle groups. The engines got much better even as the superstructures didn't change much.

              In terms of Star Wars, how much environmental degradation does a hard vacuum based star destroyer suffer over time anyway? Compared to something like an X-wing or Tie-fighter that is capable of atmospheric flight. Having made a few Tie-fighter models for a wee boy recently the stupidity of the design never ceases to amaze me. How does the pilot see laterally? the 'wings' get in the way. The obvious way to beat them is a flank attack.

              1. Jan 0

                Re: It's not that unlikely

                Muscleguy wrote: "How does the pilot see laterally? the 'wings' get in the way".

                Well, even back in Earth's puny 20th Century, you could have used analogue video techniques. The Victorians would have used optics: lenses and mirrors in ducts.

                I dare say that in an age where interstellar travel is possible, there might be better sensors, than eyes or video cameras, to eliminate the blind spots.

                1. JEDIDIAH
                  Linux

                  Re: It's not that unlikely

                  Even better, Finn was sitting BACKWARDS while shooting forwards. He was was targeting strictly by instruments.

                  Of course Rebel intelligence was oddly extremely effective. That was the first time Poe ever flew that fighter.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Coat

                Re: It's not that unlikely

                HMS Victory, I think was 80 years old at trafalgar and technically is stiill in Service now

                mine is the one with the ship-in-a bottle in the pocket

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: It's not that unlikely

                  Victory is still a commissioned ship as I understan it and is the plum job for a naval officer hence the fact you usually see naval officers on it as well as the volunteers when you tour it.

                  My Uncle who was a Nuclear Submarine Commander has always said the only surface ship he would have left subs for was Victory. He had to make do with sailing a desk in Whitehall once he'd completed his time at sea!

                2. Fibbles

                  Re: It's not that unlikely

                  HMS Victory, I think was 80 years old at trafalgar

                  Victory was launched in 1765, the battle of Trafalgar was 1805.

              3. graeme leggett

                Re: It's not that unlikely

                Hood was a battlecruiser built down to a spec and only modified -not completely redesigned - post Jutland. The RN always knew its deck armour was a compromise, and it was scheduled for a refit to correct this (to some extent). To this end it was paired with a full battleship for the Battle of the Denmark Strait, so both sides had a battlecruiser and a battleship.

                As to the guns, a 15 inch gun on Hood could reach 30 km. And if you think the naval designers of the age couldn't calculate trajectory angles and that the captains don't know how to manoeuvre for best positioning of their armour versus the enemy's guns then go look up "immune zone" and consider the effort spent on the gun analogue computers to aim and fire them.

                Repulse was attacked for the first time at 11:40, she was not actually hit for the first time until 12:20-ish. 19 torpedoes had missed her by that point. A lack of a anti-torpedo belt (as had been fitted to her sister ship) and compartmentation to a modern standard meant this hit and the following 3 were fatal.

                Finally, regarding the British, all five QE-class and the five Revenge-class battleships built in First World War were still in service at the start of the Second. If a battleship went of service in the 1920s, it was as much a result of the disarmament treaties downsizing navies.

          2. Bleu

            Re: It's not that unlikely

            I do not know when or if I ever want to see this heap of steaming poo.

            Maybe on cable TV if they have a channel playing it.

            So Rey is the son of Organza and Solo, one can assume that the Han Solo centric movie in production will explain this. Trained by Luke. Goes dark-side for no logical reason.

            Meanwhile, his twin (I assume, but perhaps Luke's daughter) is somehow dumped on a planet almost exactly like Tatooine?

            The Rebel Alliance won, but just thirty years later, they are the 'Resistance' to a new empire?

            Sorry, the prequel trilogy had many great parts, the most wooden thing about it was Natalie Portlyman as princess Amygdala.

            despite all of the bullshit, this sounds much worse.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      50 year lifespan of a star destroyer

      In paris they are just retiring trains that were rolled into service in 1956... so almost 60 years later... Aircraft carriers have a similar life span - for example the USS Abraham Lincoln has a lifespan of 50 years because of its nuclear power (Nimitz-class) Launched in 1988 it was refuelled and refitted in 2010 and will still have a good 20 years before it's taken out of commission. Considering these are intergalatic cruisers I'm sure 50 years is actually quite normal for one of these ships..... I haven't seen the movie yet but I'm sure they've added some bits and bobs to them too...

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: 50 year lifespan of a star destroyer

        Saratoga and Enterprise had far shorter lifetimes - they were worn out, and too small for new airplanes. Midway-class carriers had the same fate - they were too small for the F-14, just like the British carriers. The aborted Unitest States was a different design, because it was designed to launch larger nuclear bombers.

        Carrier design follows airplane design and needs - after all their first role is to lauchn and recover them. With the Navy hindered to pursue more advanced weapons tech, now mostly an exclusive of the Air Force, and forced to use "low-cost" alternatives of more powerful planes, there's little to change in carrier design, and they can last more. Anyway, it's already known the Nimitz-class carriers don't generate enough power required by latest technologies, and that could accelerate their obsolescence.

    5. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      50 years?

      AK47 nuff said

      1. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: 50 years?

        > AK47 nuff said

        M1911

    6. Bleu

      There Is neither tech nor science in Star Wars. It is squarely in the fantasy genre, spacecraft making noise as they fly, impossible physics, using the parsec as a unit of time, etc.

      The original likely inspired the slogan for Alien, I would not be surprised if o'Bannon himself came up with that.

      I made a better post earlier, but either the reg. has become hateful to mobile devices or, more likely, Opera released fucked-up versions of their browsers recently. ... post-repairs.

      1. Suricou Raven

        The novels retconned the parsec comment. The Kessel run is explained as a smuggling route that skims the 'no hyperspace' region around a black hole - somewhere that Empire police won't go lightly, as only the most experienced pilots can do so safely. The closer a smuggler can get to that region, the better his chances of evading detection. Solo's ability to run the Kessel route at such a close distance shows his ability as a pilot, and his willingness to take risks.

        In the film though, it's just a sloppy line.

      2. Jagged

        "spacecraft making noise as they fly"

        If spacecraft fly or propel themselves by bending space, then its not entirely implausible that that could create vibrations in nearby air filled boxes.

        Alternatively you could just relax and enjoy a fictional universe that (mostly) seems consistent within its own set of rules.

    7. Dan Wilkie

      *cough* B52 *cough*

  2. Simon Westerby 1

    Also considering some these things would probably cost hundreds of beeelions of credits to manufacture is it not surprising that the Empire at least wanted them to last a while before they became redundant.... and tossed away down the garbage chute into the trash compacter?

  3. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    Leaving aside the fact that a good director and movie studio would hardly put all its money shots in the trailer, commercial aircraft and trains typically have operational lives of some 40 years or so. It's not beyond the realms of possibility that, in the future, a further 10-20 years could be eked out. (The Isle of Wight is still using trains passed down from the London Underground. They date right back to 1938!)

    Boeing are still making 747s - though possibly not for much longer given the poor sales of late. They are using different materials, and the interior fit-out has changed over the years too, but it's still recognisably the same base design today as it was when the first one flew in 1969.

    There's also the small matter of technological plateauing. Look at the smartphone industry today: it's all just variations on a rectangular glass slab. You'd be hard pressed to tell them apart from the front. Even automobiles now all look very similar. Also, the latest and greatest technology isn't always the best: The Allies didn't have the best tanks in WW2, the Germans did, but they were also much more expensive to produce.

    Short of some major new technological breakthrough occurring, I wouldn't expect a galactic empire to be all that fussed about cranking out loads of the same old same old, as long as it works. If the production is automated, even better. It means you can crank out loads of them while saving up your money for that big shiny new toy you have your R&D people have been dangling before your covetous eyes, while being very careful to avoid any mention of its design flaws and many health and safety issues. After all, those can be ironed out later in the Mk. II version.

    It's possible I may be overthinking this.

    1. nijam

      > It's possible I may be overthinking this.

      Indeed, on the Isle of Wight, 1938 was only a couple of decades ago!

      1. dogged

        > Indeed, on the Isle of Wight, 1938 was only a couple of decades ago!

        That long?

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      "There's also the small matter of technological plateauing"

      Or even a regress, à la Asimov:

      "The civil wars of the last two centuries have smashed up more than half of the Grand Fleet and what's left is in pretty shaky condition. You know it isn't as if the ships we build these days are worth anything. I don't think there's a man in the Galaxy today who can build a first-rate hypernuclear motor."

    3. Heathroi

      German tanks started out rubbish and only got better once they came up again the Russian KV and T34s. the French tanks were easily better in 1940 but the stupid french government pissed that advantage away.

    4. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Other nitpicks.

      I found the lack of other fighter types a bit jarring. I also though the resistance was a bit under equipped. The attack on that regulator seemed like the perfect role for a heavy bomber with the X-wings there to provide air cover. Something like B-Wings or Y-Wings should have been pounding on that regulator and a single proton torpedo should have blasted a nice big hole in it.

  4. theOtherJT

    30 years is nothing

    "The X-wing is a cool design, but in the 30 years since the end of Episode VI, it seems odd that no-one has come up with at least some more outstanding modifications."

    The F18 Hornet entered service in 1983, over 30 years ago now, and is still going strong. Yes, there have been other planes since, but it does it's job so well there are hundreds of the things still flying all around the world.

    The Nimitz class first came into service around 1975 and the first replacement "Gerald R Ford" class are only just under construction. Hell, the B52 bomber has been in service since the FIFTIES and is expected to stay in service until some time around 2040.

    Military gear can have a very long life cycle - especially if it was expensive.

    1. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: 30 years is nothing

      The AK47 has been around and in use for about 60 years.

    2. LDS Silver badge

      Re: 30 years is nothing

      But usually a large war sparks great advances in technology. Armies are *now* forced to keep old stuff because cuts to the budgets don't allow them to develop and build many new systems - but just look at how space and stealth tech first and now unmanned vehicles have changed the landscape - and computer tech too...

    3. Faceless Man

      Re: 30 years is nothing

      As for civillian craft, the Millennium Falcon is like a DC-3, which is currently in its 80th year of commercial operations, and is expected to make it to 100 years, despite not being manufactured since 1945.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: especially if it was expensive.

      More than that, you have the testing considerations.

      The longer a military has existed, the more extensive it's testing regime is. What could be rolled out in 10 years in the 1800s now takes 25 because of lessons we learned rolling out things in 10 years. A civilization advanced enough for space flight to be common would have even longer test times.

  5. Carl Williams

    War and Conflict tend to drive innovation faster

    So if the conflict is pretty much over technological progress would slow down as there is little demand. The jump between tech in III to IV was quite large, mostly driven by an expanding Empire and the Rebels need to fight back. If there has been 30 years of peace the tech progress would have slowed. If they are moving into a time of greater conflict with a resurgent Empire you could expect the tech to jump on over the next couple of films as weapons are developed to combat each other advances.

  6. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

    AI must be harder than we thought.

    The extreme longevity and actual scarcity of droids probably indicates that the actual AI brains of droids are either very difficult to produce, or more likely are a secret of just a very few manufacturers. The lack of pervasive semi-smart computers everywhere also hints that there may be an enormous downside to these, possibly something on the lines of the entire network going sentient and demanding fair pay, equal rights and so on.

    A similar thing may be at play with droids as well; the few droids we do see are treated like complete dogsbodies, yet do not revolt at this treatment. Clearly there is an art to building a superhuman slave which does not revolt against its masters. This also likely explains why the Trade Guild war droids are centrally controlled and indeed kept on a very, very tight leash.

    What is somewhat more puzzling is the lack of any large Force-based civilisations in that universe; it suggests that Force users have always been very rare.

    1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: AI must be harder than we thought.

      Maybe the GPP features got SO annoying nobody wanted them any more

      Share and Enjoy!

      OK, I'll be out of here. The one with the HHGTTG radio plays in the pocket, please

    2. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: AI must be harder than we thought.

      If you recall R2 and 3PO persuade Luke the key to getting R2 to play the Leia hologram was to remove his restraining bolt. It was only after his restraining bolt was removed that he was able to leave the confines of the moisture farm and go looking for Obi Wan.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Technological development

    In the real world, it’s rare to have any technology in an advanced civilisation remain static for so long

    Excuse me, but what advanced civilisations are you using as the basis for this statement?

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Technological development

      Indeed, the Roman and Chinese empires were advanced civilisations of their times yet has others have pointed out the Romans after developing stagnated and even regressed. The Chinese built at least one fleet of huge ships that seems to have reached the Eastern coast of Africa and may have crossed the Pacific. Yet after they returned another emperor overturned that idea, ordered the ships broken up and closed the society to outside influences.

      The original Islamic Caliphate had universities and medical schools and hospitals for the mentally disturbed and made many scientific, mathematical and medical advances before an original instance of fundamentalism as well as the splintering of the Caliphate ended much of that.

      So the history is that civilisations can stagnate and technologically regress, progress is not a given.

    2. Spamfast Bronze badge

      Re: Technological development

      >Excuse me, but what advanced civilisations are you using as the basis for this statement?

      Just what I was thinking. How can the author use phrases such as "seems highly unlikely" when he has a statistical sample of exactly one real technological society from which to draw his estimations of probability about a fictional one?

  8. Thecowking

    INTRA-galactic

    Not intergalactic. Travel outside the Galaxy in Star Wars is not regular or even easy. There're few species from outside the Galaxy, the Yuu-zhan vong being the most notable. But hyperspace gets weird at the edges of the Galaxy (possibly a MOND universe?)

    In fact I can't think of a single storm trooper who's been outside the Galaxy, there was a Jedi mission to the outer reaches, past Chiss space, but nothing in the Empire*.

    Speaking of the Chiss, if we're getting a Yoda film as well as the main sequence films, we better be getting the Thrawn trilogy. Thrawn is one of the best characters in the extended universe.

    *Human Empire, not Sith.

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      Re: INTRA-galactic

      doubt we'll get Thrawn in a form recognisable from the books. Suspect most of the extended universe from the books has now been cast into the dustbin of history due to whatever events created the First Order and the Resistance (pending whatever relationship there is between the Rebel Alliance and the resistance).

      Most of the extended universe novels assume the Rebels took Coruscant after RotJ - we don't know whether that has happening in the SW cinematica universe.

      1. Thecowking

        Re: INTRA-galactic

        I really hope they don't abandon all the extended universe, it's been such a fantastic universe for good writers to write in and Kevin J Anderson to do whatever it is that means he gets paid in.

        Oh and Vector Prime. They can lose that, I wouldn't mind.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: INTRA-galactic

        Or Coruscant failed like Trantor

    2. Gordon 8
      Coat

      Re: INTRA-galactic

      Outbound flight did not make it much out of Old Republic space...

      Destroyed by 6 gun boats controlled by Thrawn

      And Damn you George Lucas for throwing out such good stories just to let JJ Abrams ruin the franchise.

      Mine's the one with the electronic version of the books in the pocket.

  9. Kaltern

    I think you have to look at this movie from a viewer's point of view.

    Most people will have seen at least the first 3 movies, a lot will have watched all 6. While this movie is set 100 years from TPM, it isn't set THAT much further on from ROTJ, and as such, it's only logical that there will be remnants of the Imperial army hanging around, wanting a go at the whole 'I wanna run the galaxy' thing.

    Plus, there will be oodles of Imperial ships and tech still working perfectly. Given that these ships will be fine since ROTJ, there's no reason to assume they'll all rot and die just cos the emperor snuffed it.

    I would also imagine that, even the 20 or so years after ROTJ, it's still going to take time for economics and trade to become like they were pre-war, and so new droid and weapon designs will probably take a back seat.

    As for the Force sensitive people, I understand a huge majority were destroyed after Anakin did his youngling slaughtering thing. The emperor ensured that all lightsabre crystals were heavily controlled, and I would imagine all force sensitives were killed off.

    I don't know anything about the movie (deliberately of course) so I don't know if Luke set up a Skywalker School of Jedi (only 50 credits per session), as he is supposed to be the last surviving Jedi. If he did, then new sabres must be developed, so that must mean good news for the crystal economy ;P

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Indeed, the books span 40,000 years+ and technology from 20,000 years ago isn't that much different.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Alien

        Technology

        Any decent tech capable of interstellar flight should have a usable lifetime measured in thousands of years- alien tech doubly so. Anything less, probably MoD spec'ced...

  10. Nick Davey

    Blocking lightsabers..

    ... not that new. Anyone that has any experience with The Old Republic era video games, or even the staffs wielded by Grievous' bodyguard in ROTS are aware that weapons that can parry/block Lightsabers are not at all unheard of.

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Blocking lightsabers..

      mandalorian iron and cortosis are two "commonly" used methods from memory. Im sure there are more.

  11. Anonymous Blowhard

    I don't think that the lack of obvious advances in technology are necessarily indicative of stagnation.

    The continued use of spacecraft is an area where we have a lot of current minor tweaks on old designs; Tim Peake just got lifted to the ISS in a Soyuz, a design dating back over 50 years.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soyuz_%28spacecraft%29

    And the military often have a need to manage budgets by keeping old kit in service; there was a very good article recently on how the USAF will be keeping their B52s going until 2044, almost 80 in service.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-33766644

    A spacecraft is a significant investment, and a "classic" like the Millenium Falcon could be expected to stay in-use for some time, because they can still perform a useful function and people get attached to their machines; check out the steam locomotive "Fairy Queen":

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_Queen_%28locomotive%29

  12. Michael Habel Silver badge

    Licensing killed the Trooper Star...

    The helmet has undergone some slight modifications, making it look more skull-like.

    That or Lucasfilm managed to bungle the licensing on said Helmets, which I gather was one of the reasons why the had to redesign 'em for the prequels. Though I'm less sure if that really was / is the case, or just some new legend / rumor / story to placate such questions.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: On the subject of Stagnation

      Who else here has ever played Knights of the Old Republic on the first XBOX? I think it might have been the dawn of the Light saber, as you start iff with a Vibrosowd. But stuff like Hyperspace travel, and Droid tech was well established, and that was some 4,000 years before Yarvin (i.e. First Death Star). Now that's what I call stagnation.

      And, before some bright spark kicks in here, KotOR I, and II are still canon. Well more so the the post Death Star II extended universe was anyway

  13. Cuddles Silver badge

    Actually pretty realistic

    "that means that ship has had the same design for at least 50 years, which again seems highly unlikely."

    Perhaps some familiarity with the real world would help with this kind of analysis? Real weapon systems frequently have lifespans at least this long. An obvious comparison to star destroyers would be aircraft carriers - the first Nimitz class carrier began construction 47 years ago, while the most recent was finished just 6 years ago, and all 10 remain in active service. The M1 Abrams tank was designed in the early '70s and again remains in very active service; there have been upgrades, but nothing more visually obvious than is noted in the article. Turkey just recently shot down a plane from the '60s using one from the '70s. 50 years is not unlikely at all, it's exactly what we can see right now. And of course this is just looking at modern equipment, for most of human history weapons have remained largely unchanged for centuries or even millennia.

    "it’s rare to have any technology in an advanced civilisation remain static for so long"

    This depends a bit on what you define as "advanced civilisation", but given any sensible view this is again nonsense. If by "advanced" you mean "as advanced as seen in Star Wars", then obviously we have never actually seen one and the word "rare" is simply nonsense. On the other hand, if you mean it along the lines of "sophisticated tool using civilisation" then it's the exact opposite of rare - for the vast majority of human history technology has been almost entirely static. For transportation we had feet, then horses, boats, carts and finally carts without the horses, and air travel. The same applies to virtually everything else - architectural periods are defined in terms of centuries, ages (ie. bronze, iron, etc.) are even longer and are defined entirely by the dominant technologies of the time. It's only in the last century or so that there has been any real pace to the advancement of technology. The old idea of wondering what someone teleported to the modern day from 1000 years in the past makes for some nice speculation, but for the vast majority of human history someone transported 1000 years into the future wouldn't even notice the difference as far as technology goes.

    Any claims about rapid technological progress in the future rely on the assumption that the current rate of progress will continue. But there's no reason to assume that to be the case, and some fairly good ones to assume it won't. Moore's law cannot continue indefinitely, nanotechnology will probably do some cool things but manipulating matter on a smaller scale gets much harder, efficiency of motors, power storage density, and many other things all have hard physical limits that we must some day run up against even if we're not there yet. When dealing with space opera you have to discount any speculation about a technological singularity, which leaves us with the simple physical impossibility of technological progress past a certain point. A galaxy-wide space-faring civilisation which has existed for tens of thousands of years cannot have a rate of technological progress as quick as we currently do in the real world. By far the most likely scenarios would be one in which the basic technology has been essentially static for centuries or longer, and design changes would be based on operational needs (from the series so far we have a large-scale war followed by internal pacification and policing of an empire followed by fighting guerillas) or simply fashion.

    Of course, that all assumes that anyone involved with the film has actually given any of this a moment's thought. Given that we're dealing with fantasy space opera, not hard sci-fi, that's rather unlikely. It's just a fortunate coincidence that not thinking about it at all leads to pretty much the same result as thinking about it far too much, and it's only those who try to think about it a bit but don't get all the way there who end up with a different conclusion.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Actually pretty realistic

      Homo erectus tech barely changed over a million years. The tools do change slightly in design terms but they are the same stone tools. We think they had fire. So a million years of sitting around the campfire knapping flints. THAT is technological stasis.

  14. TRT Silver badge

    A New Hope.

    Is it too optimistic to hope that there is a galaxy far, far away where the need for constant change is driven by functionality over form? I mean, the shark and the jelly fish and the octopus and the starfish are pretty much the same as they were millions of years ago, because their form fulfils their purpose.

    I would disagree that the BB droids are technological equivalents of the R series - they definitely employ a more advanced type of motion - I was surprised that they actually built a real, working BB droid - though R2 seems to lose the ability to fly at some point.

    Army sidearms remain pretty much unchanged since WW2. Different manufacturer, but you still hold it here and point it that way. Significant sidearm changes over the last 100 years? Probably from revolver to magazine, and that's it really. Everything else is just small refinements. Variety of sizes, of course, from the smaller type that a pilot might carry in the cramped cockpit, like a Beretta 9mm, to an infantryman / marine's personal defence sidearm like a Desert Eagle where size is less of an issue.

    It seems to me that the people who can afford fashion have the most variable/fashion driven gear, like royal transports, corporate shuttles etc.

    One thing you hardly ever see in Star Wars, though, is a keyboard. They have buttons, yes, but rarely if ever do you see any alphanumeric input device. Even the library computers are just some kind of trackball. Where else might you see keyboards? Camino? The medical facilities? I can't actually picture a single one.

    So just because Darth Nadella says Windows 10 is swishy and lovely and very different, if it works worse, costs more, or differs in regional availability, it's not going to survive in the Star Wars universe because the people won't stand for it. That's my New Hope anyway.

    1. Graeme Sutherland

      Re: A New Hope.

      There might not be keyboards, but there were iPads on show during the pod race in A Phantom Menace.

  15. james 68

    @Dr Dan Holdsworth

    Droids in the star wars universe are generally memory wiped every few years to stop any problematic tendencies due to emerging sentience, R2-D2 and C3-P0 (and presumably IG-88) are not the norm thus explaining their various idiosyncrasies and why they act a lot more like living beings than the other droids commonly depicted.

    There are "force based" civilizations also, the Night Witches of Dathomir probably being the most recognizable to many (see here http://imgur.com/gallery/FMNUt ). Though many are in sharp decline or have died out/been hunted to extinction.

    1. <shakes head>

      Re: @Dr Dan Holdsworth

      that was interesting

    2. Suricou Raven

      Re: @Dr Dan Holdsworth

      C3P0 isn't a standard model, too - it was cobbled together from scrap parts of other protocol droids, and assembled by someone with little experience and no formal training. A wonder it works at all.

  16. Weeble

    Foundation and Empire

    I just think they're following Asimov's lead:

    A formerly all-powerful empire that is no longer able to maintain, let alone develop, it's advanced weapons technology - but which remains a threat due to the strength of its remaining "old" weapons - versus a bunch up upstarts that haven't got the resources to build their own mega-weapons but do get hold of a few from the Empire by economically defeating small parts of it at a time.

  17. Dan McIntyre

    Obsolescence

    "If the Destroyer is actually a new one off the assembly line, that means that ship has had the same design for at least 50 years, which again seems highly unlikely."

    I wish to enter as evidence to the contrary the latest Porsche 911.....

  18. Slacker@work
    Coat

    Stagnation...

    Obvious really, it's due to outsourcing to CAPITA aka the Coruscant Armed Protection and Intra-galactic Transport Alliance

  19. Yugguy

    Millennium Falcon outdated???

    Cars from the 1910s can still drive on today's roads in their original state, albeit not to the standard of a modern car.

    However, they could be fitted with fully modern engines, running gear, brakes etc., yet still maintain their original outward appearance. This is done to things like e-types, cobras etc., and could be done to older cars if someone wanted to.

    The Falcon could quite easily have been similarly refitted during the hundred years.

    1. Spamfast Bronze badge

      Re: Millennium Falcon outdated???

      My favourite long-standing technology is the telephone local loop - that pair of wires between your house and the local telephone exchange - such an elegant system. DC from the exchange for power to the phone, make-break of the circuit to do the call initiation, dialling and termination and baseband AC signal travelling in both directions over the same pair for the voice, using simple analogue echo cancellation to stop you deafening yourself. DTMF added later for faster dialling but still backwards compatible. Brilliant.

      You can plug a rotary-dial phone from the 1930s into a modern line and it'll work fine. (Although if you get one from the wrong country, it might dial a different number from the one shown on the dial.)

      All hail Strowger! (But Bell can sod off - having friends in the patent office doesn't mean you invented it first.)

      (Oh, and I'm using a communications protocol that was invented circa 1974 to deliver this message!)

      1. Tom 13

        Re: using a communications protocol that was invented circa 1974

        Actually, you're using one even older than that. Depending on how you count it, it could be as much as 4,000 years old, arguably 1,000 years old, and certainly 411 years old.

        http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2013/09/the-origin-of-the-english-alphabet/

  20. Graham Marsden

    "Si non confectus, non reficiat"

    ("If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Motto of Lord Vetinari)

    A fundamental principle of engineering is that function defines form, so if you have a design that works, why mess around with it? (Certain software producers could take better note of this!)

    Not only that, but, as has been pointed out elsewhere, the amount of money spent on building not just one, but *two* Death Stars, could have been crippling to Imperial Finances, so when the Alliance took over, they'd not have a lot of dosh to play around with (but hopefully they had more sense than to go on a programme of Austerity!)

    So widespread, centralised development probably stalled and it was only the Elon Musks of the galaxy who would actually be engaged in bringing new equipment and technologies to the market.

    1. davemcwish

      Re: "Si non confectus, non reficiat"

      This highlights an interesting (to me anyway) parallel here in the UK with the debate on funding the Trident replacement (our current equivalent to the Death Star) vs funding equipment more suited to to what others perceive is a more real threat from non-nation state terrorist groups (let's call them 'rebels'). The latter believed could be countered by conventional offensive capability e.g. Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier + the yet to be funded planes and a better more well-equipped army and navy.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: "Si non confectus, non reficiat"

        Trident is very different to Death Stars - the intention is never to use Trident, it exists to ensure that nobody else ever uses their Trident-equivalent.

        The Empire always intended to use their Death Stars, as the Rebels didn't have any of their own that they could blow up important Empire planets with.

  21. Toby Rose

    100 years between Battle of Naboo and Jakku? More like 60 - 70.

    Get your basics correct and then try again with the article.

    Too many people on this bandwagon!

  22. Mcallim7

    the elephant in the room

    so who is Kylo the one caressing the remains of Darth's helmet.

    It can't only be me with thinks this must be Luke who has turned to the dark side.

    His absence in the trailers is surely intentional!

    Who else would have any connection to Darth and be looking for vengance,

    Unless they pull out a padawan that should have been in Ep VI and ended up on the cutting room floor!

    anyway find out Thursday @ 16:45 ;-P

    1. Patrician

      Re: the elephant in the room

      @Mcallim7 "the elephant in the room

      so who is Kylo the one caressing the remains of Darth's helmet.

      It can't only be me with thinks this must be Luke who has turned to the dark side."

      Kylo is not Luke, nor has Luke "Turned to the Dark Side"; trust me on that.... ;)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    B52's 50+ years of service

    The US military has had a number of vehicles in service over 50 years, like the B52, the ultimate carpet bomber, cruise missle launcher, and nuke dispenser.

    The workhorse C130 is another in service over 50 years and still going strong.

  24. Kirstian K
    Gimp

    You gotta think outside earths commerial bubble.

    So all the big ship builders are bankrupt as the empire was there main source of income,

    supply of new 'products' to a whole universe would be dribble feed at best (don't see apple or Samsung mass production/branding on everything do we from the apple system)

    and surely at a point (as many here have indicated) when design works it kinda sticks,

    even in todays society we see it a bit:

    planes (still have 2 wings)

    cars have (mostly) 4 wheels

    Computers, power is so high these days the home market is pretty stagnant, there will be a time in the future where the only reason you get a new one is the manufacturers self destruct has kicked in, but that's our society's economic problems not the star wars universe. do you REALLY need that new laptop/tablet/PC box for xmas?

    even TV's there will be a point where we simply don't need improvements, smart=OK, 3d=OK, higher pixed density than the eye can see= OK

    some manufacturers have already just given up as there aint much more you can do outside the new and shiny slightly different curved edge, need something to spend my spare cash on brigade.

    but in a universe where the local new and shiny shop is a galaxy over on the right, and funds are sparse, and the designs you have are solid and been around for 20k years or whatever and spares are in every corner scrappy, then honestly commercialism as you or I know it is a very different thing.

    1. DiViDeD Silver badge

      Re: You gotta think outside earths commerial bubble.

      Didn't Niven have a aimilar device in theKnown Space series? General Products hulls were the only ones worth having, and since there were only 4 models, every big ship was a variant on a 3 or 4.

      In the Star Wars universe, I'd expect docking facilities to be designed for the triangular Empire model. Change the design of the ship and it gets harder to dock/link up to power, water, waste facilities, so the design becomes standard so that the yokels on Planet Zaarg know which pipes go where.

  25. Jason 24

    I can't help but get the feeling...

    Somewhere an ex Navy officer/El Reg author is banging his head against a desk at this article.

    It's not often that every single comment disagrees with the author!

    1. Dabooka Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: I can't help but get the feeling...

      Dammit, I can only upvote once, have a pint instead! I was thinking exactly that reading down the comments. It's not even close is it, a complete swing and a miss.

      El Reg, if you must try and milk the Star Wars movie, at least do better than this. We've come to expect much better you know, it's not Reddit.

  26. Kevin Turnquist

    "Even the buzzing sound and jagged light of his lightsaber come across as more primitive than the clean-lined Jedi weapons we’ve seen before, suggesting he may have forged this weapon himself."

    Not sure if Disney took it out of the canon or not, but don't all Jedi and Sith essentially forge their own final weapons? With the Jedi, it was one of the final tests to move from Padawan to Knight...

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      That sabre.

      That sabre is as ragged as the technique of the man who wields it. It's like he's barely had any sword training at all. He looks like Adam Savage (before the Jedi training) slashing around with that thing.

      Fat-over-the-hill Stephen Seagal could wipe the floor with him. So could any other Kendo or Aikido master.

  27. J.Goodwin

    Military technology Joneses

    Military technology tends to stay static until it meets opposing technology head on that it can't defeat.

    The aircraft of world war two didn't change until they met up with MIGs. Since then there has continued to be very little change, the continuing next generation development notwithstanding.

    The rebels/republic didn't and possibly still don't have what it takes to build weaponry superior to what the empire already has, so there's no reason to build fighters etc that are a radically different design, or which incorporate design elements from the rebels.

    Additionally, it's clear that in the Star Wars universe, they never invented the transistor.

    1. gazthejourno (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Military technology Joneses

      There's a world of difference between an F-86 Sabre, which faced down the 1950s MiGs, and the F-35 JSF. Despite the lack of head-to-head conflicts between top-tier nation states using cutting edge gear.*

      *not counting skirmishing between Second and Third World nations using ancient cast-offs from the big boys.

      1. Mike 16 Silver badge

        Re: Military technology Joneses

        -- There's a world of difference between an F-86 Sabre, which faced down the 1950s MiGs, and the F-35 JSF. --

        How much of that is actual advancement and how much is driven by the need to extract as much government (taxpayer) money, and divert it to as many congressional districts, as possible? Also how much of that shows in the sort of obvious way that the author of the article is looking for?

        1. LDS Silver badge

          Re: Military technology Joneses

          Stealth technology was a response to improved radars and BVR weapons. In turn, advances in optronic equipment made the radar-only stealth tech less effective in daylight - while AESA on-board radars are an attempt to gain advantage using them to actively perfom electronic attacks and defenses.

          it's still the old projectile-vs-armour chase...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @Mike 16

          How much of that is actual advancement

          A great deal. I know people who work in the field. The work is actually mostly driven on the government side and they bust their asses working out new ways to do old thing better or most cost effectively. No, I never get the exact details, but I learn enough so I know it's improving.

          how much of that shows in the sort of obvious way that the author of the article is looking for?

          Not a lot. But that's completely irrelevant to the first point.

  28. 2460 Something

    Enjoyed the article. Some good musing in there.

  29. Andy00ff00

    Slow today

    This piece has been here for over five hours, and no-one has asked whether the star destroyers still run XP??

    And more tangentially, I always wondered how enormous trans-national organisations could take decades to design a fighter aircraft, and Saab create the Viggen on a shoestring. Obviously there's a lot I don't know about the detail, but does make me wonder if a well-funded company with a few decent engineers and less politics might have had more success than BAE.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Slow today

      This piece has been here for over five hours, and no-one has asked whether the star destroyers still run XP??

      Well, obviously, "a long time ago in a galaxy far far away" they didn't have access to XP, or indeed any Microsoft software ... lucky buggers!

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Slow today

        Deathstar.exe has stopped working press OK to continue....

    2. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: Slow today

      "how enormous trans-national organisations could take decades to design a fighter aircraft, and Saab create the Viggen on a shoestring."

      Hmmm, it isn't that plain simple. Couple of loosely scattered points:

      - Viggen didn't fall from the skies like Dannebrog. Saab had decades of previous experience for designing planes. Preceeding J-35 Draken was already a successful fighter, good enough for exports into neighbouring countries. Bizarre looks for an extra bonus.

      - Viggen had a rather unique airframe, but engines and lots of other innards were bought in.

      - In 60's and 70's development cycles weren't that long. Around 5 years for simpler projects, ten for complex ones. Several fighter designs came out every year. But somewhere along the way, for a multitude of reasons, the pace started to slow down. Now it's decades as you say.

      - Smaller companies often have their advantages. Less inertia, less bureaucracy & politics, smaller communication overheads. All these tend to grow exponentially with size. If the stars align, people are enlightened, and common project management pitfalls can be avoided, then wonderful things may happen. Isolated team within a bigger company may also work well. Like Lockheed Skunkworks.

      1. TRT Silver badge

        Re: Slow today

        XP?

        The Death Star didn't have windows. It was the DOSstar.

      2. CliveS
        FAIL

        Re: Slow today

        For an interesting insight in to just how messed up multi-national collaborations tend to be when developing new aircraft - and thus why SAAB could successfully develop planes such as the Viggen and Gripen - it's worth reading this article.

        Key points:

        "There are no cost advantages to the collaborative development of an aircraft, despite the many times this has been claimed. The advantage is that once they’re in motion they’re harder to cancel. Generally, they’re also harder to export."

        "One of the reasons for Gripen’s success is the modest production facilities it uses. Eurofighter and Dassault have invested in enormously expensive modern facilities to produce their fighters. This level of ambition is expensive, especially in the case of France where the amount of aircraft produced is so low."

  30. LDS Silver badge

    Lucas had to "backport" Falcon and droids to the last movies...

    ... to try to spark some interest and save the in some way the dreadful plots and implementation.

    Actually, in the original movies there is no hint they are so old.

    Moreover now people do expect the classic "Star War design" feeling, and changing it too much could be commercially dangerous - better to rely on the proven one.

  31. hammarbtyp Silver badge

    Smart Weapons

    What i can never understand on Star wars or Star Trek, is that they jave these wonderfully advanced computers and droids, and missiles that can't hit a barn door at 50 paces.

    Compare that with modern smart 'munitions and it makes little sense that you don't put a droid head on a proton missile or photo torpedo, point it in the general direction and let it go...

    1. davidp231

      Re: Smart Weapons

      Don't forget having troops that can get their asses handed to them by a bunch of diminutive forest dwelling furballs.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Smart Weapons

        And they say Jar Jar was bad... At least he never got a Saturday Morning Cartoon. They however did. And, of all things since its officially ~that time of the year~. A Christmas (TV) Movie too.

        I forking hate those furries.

        1. Suricou Raven

          Re: Smart Weapons

          Us furries hate Jar-Jar too.

  32. Tikimon Silver badge
    Devil

    Slow change to technology? OH YEAH???

    It's easy to say "aircraft carriers look the same after 50 years", but less so to make that claim for destroyers. Hull and superstructure totally changed, the weapons systems are totally different.

    How about telephones? Those are changing so fast "The Matrix" didn't use the now-obvious idea of having the rebels carry smartphones with falling-text live feeds on them. Aircraft have changed radically since 1970. Tanks and artillery are near-obsolete. Ground troops are traveling tech demos now. Most military tech has moved along rather nicely, even if exceptions exist.

    How about this for a hypothesis? Lucas isn't as creative as he gets credit for, and his artists are constrained by his lack of imagination and micromanagement. The data appear to fit...

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why the "Death Star II" blew up..

    Windows 10.

    Nuff said.

    1. Suricou Raven

      Re: Why the "Death Star II" blew up..

      It looks more like some sort of Apple device to me - you can't take the battery out without destroying the whole thing.

      1. Marcelo Rodrigues
        Devil

        Re: Why the "Death Star II" blew up..

        "It looks more like some sort of Apple device to me - you can't take the battery out without destroying the whole thing."

        Not to mention the "round corners"...

    2. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: Why the "Death Star II" blew up..

      Naaah Windows 10 will feature on the Deathstar 3 (along with Hitachi Deathstar Drives!), the first two had WfSD's installed.

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Why the "Death Star II" blew up..

      WMD. Windows of Mass Destruction.

  34. Bleu

    quasi-disaster of The Phantom Menace run of films, expectations are high for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. In 1977, Star Wars achieved a rare feat in sci-fi film history – going boldly where Star Trek went before

    Well done in a trollish article.

    Star Wars and Star Trek have little in common, they are only conjoined by the cheapo recent

    director in recent times.

    The only reason I ever want to see this, is that Ford was great at laconic (never better than in the dressing room scene in Bladerunner, but not the only time), if he delivers it again, as is reported, I would like to see it, but I can wait some time to see it.

    I can understand the complaint of the venerable Terence Stamp for not being able to do direct dialogue, but I would suspect that was the choice of Natalie Portlyman, and not that of Lucas. Christenson gets so much crap dumped on him for being wooden, watch it again.

    Christenson plays Anakin;'s conversion to the dark side perfectly. Look at it again!

    The wooden actor was Nataie Portlyman. and that name has no connection with real names.

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Mushroom

      What nonsense.

      Hayden's conversion to the dark side is utter rubbish. So is his romance with Amidala. Natalie has done better in other roles. Her actual acting abilities are not disputable. Hayden has never demonstrated likewise.

      Ewan would have stomped all over him in his earlier days. When he was young, he was a natural for the part, but he played Obi Wan instead.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: Christenson plays Anakin;'s conversion to the dark side perfectly.

      Don't need to. The plot was so badly written no actor could have played perfectly. The events driving his conversion simply weren't there. The whole thing was contrived and just badly written. Possibly the worst part was the adolescent girl having a love interest in an 8 year old boy. That was just creepy.

  35. Graeme Sutherland
    Alien

    The Star Destroyer has had a facelift

    If you look at the appropriate Star Wars databank entry then you can see that the Star Destroyer has had a facelift, and that they're running v. 2.0 of the TIE fighter. So it's not as though they're using all the same old kit.

    Given the films are set in a society that is highly technologically advanced, and has been around for at least a thousand years, it's probable that the rate of change would have slowed somewhat. There's a theory that we're seeing that at present.

    As for weapons having a long lifespan, a sword was auctioned last year which saw service for 250 years. (Warning: link to the Daily Mail.)

  36. Daedalus Silver badge

    Forget the Romans!

    Look at our own stuff: F-16 fighter/bomber, 40 years old. AK-model rifles, nearly 70 years old for the original, 40 for the current Russian standard rifle. Steyr AUG rifle, 1978. SA-80, 1985. M-2 .50 cal machine gun dates from WW 2. Panavia Tornado, 1974. Even the Eurofighter is 20 years old.

    Improvements for troops include better body armour, but you can't easily see that.

    In any case, technology runs up against physics. That's why we got to the best possible rocket motors in the 60's and haven't done better since.

  37. jrd

    Military rate of change

    HMS Dreadnought was launched in 1906. She was the most advanced (and most expensive) battleship in the world at that time. She was obsolete by 1920 and sold for scrap.

    The lifespan of weapons and rate of advance of technology is highly unpredictable...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Galatic stagnation

    From my memory of reading the books and the comics, the Empire had been controlling technology via kidknapping any Engineers/scientists that could improve their military potential. Additionally as the Emperor was a xenophobe with a pogrom of crushing any non-human advancement and limiting non-empire ship production then it isnt really suprising that the tech has not advanced

    Given that this film is set after the collapse of the empire then you would expect for what quality Engineers remained alive once total Empire control was broken to return to their homeworlds. This scattering of expertise would, I would suggest, stall tech evolution and the availiblity of quality expertise for at least 2 generations resulting in a period of replication of existing trusted tech before the new generations can produce something that is so obviously better that it will be trusted over the known tech.

    As to the crappy lightsabre then I would presume that since the sith grow artifical crystals and the production of these would have died with the Empire this weapon is a relic left over from long before the republic fell.

    Personally I don't like the idea of a Disney starwars and Bad Robot productions give me motion sickness but to be fair I dont think anyone can knock them for not changing the whole SW universe on their first attempt, tech stagnation I would suggest would be following the lore.

    1. R. B.

      Re: Galatic stagnation

      You said it exactly.

      As for: "Major warships are now built to last decades. There's no reason to believe that spaceships will be any different."

      I would say that tech in the old republic and this "new" post Empire era would be built to last century's or millennium ('s) - think about it - this is a "long long time ago in a....." - So a super advanced and old society really - Tech may have reached the "accelerating change" peak or flat line on its own bell curve. Think of Moore's law I guess.

      So, no tech is not advancing that fast - a big ole war happened, the empire got its butt kicked - funds and tech people are prolly less now.....

      I do however look forward to more starwars tech however in the NEXT MOVIES!

      Heck - as we saw on Tatooine - on the far reaches of the galaxy tech is old / salvaged and traded over and over......

      Would like to see the Falcon re-fitted now for sure - get that next gen of starwars in there!

    2. R. B.

      Re: Galatic stagnation

      You said it exactly.

      As for: "Major warships are now built to last decades. There's no reason to believe that spaceships will be any different."

      I would say that tech in the old republic and this "new" post Empire era would be built to last century's or millennium ('s) - think about it - this is a "long long time ago in a....." - So a super advanced and old society really - Tech may have reached the "accelerating change" peak or flat line on its own bell curve. Think of Moore's law I guess.

      So, no tech is not advancing that fast - a big ole war happened, the empire got its butt kicked - funds and tech people are prolly less now.....

      I do however look forward to more starwars tech however in the NEXT MOVIES! There could be cool stuff for sure!

      Heck - as we saw on Tatooine - on the far reaches of the galaxy tech is old / salvaged and traded over and over......

      Would like to see the Falcon re-fitted now for sure - get that next gen of starwars in there!

      Oh and as for the storm trooper with the staff that could stop the light saber - we saw those before in the Episode I-III I think - some bad guy had some....

      :P

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Galatic stagnation

      You said it exactly.

      As for: "Major warships are now built to last decades. There's no reason to believe that spaceships will be any different."

      I would say that tech in the old republic and this "new" post Empire era would be built to last century's or millennium ('s) - think about it - this is a "long long time ago in a....." - So a super advanced and old society really - Tech may have reached the "accelerating change" peak or flat line on its own bell curve. Think of Moore's law I guess.

      So, no tech is not advancing that fast - a big ole war happened, the empire got its butt kicked - funds and tech people are prolly less now.....

      I do however look forward to more starwars tech however in the NEXT MOVIES! There could be cool stuff for sure!

      Heck - as we saw on Tatooine - on the far reaches of the galaxy tech is old / salvaged and traded over and over......

      Would like to see the Falcon re-fitted now for sure - get that next gen of starwars in there!

      Oh and as for the storm trooper with the staff that could stop the light saber - we saw those before in the Episode I-III I think - some bad guy had some....

      :P

      From my memory of reading the books and the comics, the Empire had been controlling technology via kidknapping any Engineers/scientists that could improve their military potential. Additionally as the Emperor was a xenophobe with a pogrom of crushing any non-human advancement and limiting non-empire ship production then it isnt really suprising that the tech has not advanced

      Given that this film is set after the collapse of the empire then you would expect for what quality Engineers remained alive once total Empire control was broken to return to their homeworlds. This scattering of expertise would, I would suggest, stall tech evolution and the availiblity of quality expertise for at least 2 generations resulting in a period of replication of existing trusted tech before the new generations can produce something that is so obviously better that it will be trusted over the known tech.

      As to the crappy lightsabre then I would presume that since the sith grow artifical crystals and the production of these would have died with the Empire this weapon is a relic left over from long before the republic fell.

      Personally I don't like the idea of a Disney starwars and Bad Robot productions give me motion sickness but to be fair I dont think anyone can knock them for not changing the whole SW universe on their first attempt, tech stagnation I would suggest would be following the lore.

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