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"Without the weapon itself, our project is nothing more than a very costly artificial planetoid."
Mas Amedda[2]

Superlasers were laser-based superweapons. The primary weapon of the Death Star battle stations, a superlaser could destroy entire planets in one blast.


A superlaser was a laser-based superweapon.[1]


The First Galactic Empire[]

Despite developing other superweapon projects, the Galactic Empire poured a disproportional amount of resources into their Death Star superlaser projects.[3][4]

Death Stars[]

The first and second Death Star battle stations built by the Empire employed a powerful superlaser weapon fueled by massive kyber crystals.[5]

First Death Star[]
"This station is now the ultimate power in the universe!"
―Conan Antonio Motti[6]

The first superlaser, installed on the original Death Star, was designed over an extended period beginning before the Clone Wars, finally coming online due to the work of Orson Krennic and Galen Erso. Powered by eight kyber crystals, laser beams generated from these crystals were focused and combined into a single blast.[7] It was capable of destroying a planet[6] but could be fired at lower power by expending the charge of only a single one of its vast power reactors to devastate an area encompassing roughly 1/8th of a planet's surface.[8]


The Death Star firing on Jedha City

The first use of the weapon was on Jedha City, a city on the moon Jedha, as a demonstration by Krennic to Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin that the system was operational; Krennic had wanted to use the weapon at full power but was ordered to use it at the lower setting as Tarkin did not yet wish to reveal the full power of the system to the galaxy. The superlaser was again used on the high-security data bank on the planet Scarif, again on a regional scale, in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent the Death Star plans being stolen by Rogue One.[8] The superlaser was used for the final time, at full power, to destroy the planet Alderaan. Although the plan was to use it at full power on the moon Yavin 4, in order to destroy the rebellion, the station was destroyed before it could be fired again.[6]

Second Death Star[]
"That blast came from the Death Star! That thing's operational!"
―Lando Calrissian[9]

The Death Star II's superlaser firing during the Battle of Endor.

A second generation superlaser was installed aboard the second Death Star. This unit featured across-the-board improvements from the first generation unit. The targeting system was greatly improved, giving the system the ability to hit individual capital ships, and the power regulation was revamped, giving it the capability to fire with enough force to destroy any capital ship in a single hit, while recharging for another similar-strength shot in only 3 minutes. The full-power recycle was also improved, shaving the time between shots from almost a day to only 5 hours.[9]

A trap was set for the rebellion by spreading false intelligence that the superlaser was not operational, only to use the in-fact perfectly functional weapon against several rebel capital ships at the Battle of Endor. Because the Second Death Star was destroyed before completion during that battle, its superlaser was never fired at full power.[9]

Rise of the First Order[]


"It's another Death Star."
"I wish that were the case, major."
―A Resistance major and Poe Dameron[10]
Starkiller firing

The superlaser within Starkiller Base was one of the most destructive the galaxy had ever seen, responsible for destroying an entire system of planets in one fell swoop.

Approximately thirty years after the destruction of the second Death Star, the primary base of the First OrderStarkiller Base—harbored a superweapon built into the planet's crust that was capable of destroying entire star systems, as demonstrated during the Hosnian Cataclysm. The weapon was powered by drawing on the energy of a star, which eventually led to the planet's collapse during an attack by the Resistance on Starkiller's thermal oscillator.[11][10]

The siege cannon[]

"A battering ram cannon."
"A what now?"
"Miniaturized Death Star tech."
―Finn and Poe Dameron[12]

The First Order's Superlaser siege cannon firing on the Resistance Base on Crait.

In 34 ABY, the First Order used a miniaturized version to crack open a Resistance hideout on the planet Crait.[12] At only 200 meters,[13] this siege gun could be placed inside larger warship or be tugged underneath a planetary shield via AT-HHs.[12]

Return of the Sith[]

"The Emperor sent a ship from Exegol? Does that mean every ship in the fleet…"
"…has planet-killing weapons. Of course they do. All of them. This is how he finishes it."
Beaumont Kin and Poe Dameron[14]

A Xyston-class Star Destroyer firing its axial superlaser at Kijimi.

About a year later, the fallen Emperor returned to the galaxy in full force, unleashing the military of his Sith Eternal, which consisted of hundreds of Xyston-class Star Destroyers, all of which were armed with powerful axial superlasers that could destroy a planet with a single sustained burst.[14]



Notes and references[]