The latest movie in the epic Star Wars franchise has hit the theatres. In geek-heaven preparation, in a galaxy far, far away (that describes Canberra well, doesn’t it?), the nerds at Perspective indulged in a massive binge watch of the previous six films. While there was some dispute about whether to watch in episodic or chronological sequence, the purists won and the marathon began with the 1972 film later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope. Anyone embarking on a similar exercise but preferring a more linear approach, skip straight to the 1999 Episode I: The Phantom Menace. (Confused? You must be a Trekkie.)
You may recall that in Ep IV (or as most of us know it) the ORIGINAL Star Wars flick, we were introduced to the first Death Star. Initially thought to be a small moon by Luke Skywalker, it was then unveiled as a truly spectacular battle station from which Darth Vader and his posse cruised around blasting small planets and pockets of resistance out of existence. No matter how many times you’ve viewed A New Hope (we say 10+ viewings positions you as a real fan) – that first breathtaking glimpse of the Death Star still holds up as a haunting testimony to its creators and their vision.
So whether you have the mindset of a Jedi Knight (ticking it as your religion on your Census form DOES tip you over the line from fan to obsessed weirdo), or dally on the dark side and fancy yourself as a Sith Lord harbouring the desire to vanquish the Rebel Alliance and with aspirations to expand the Empire beyond legal planet boundaries… you have to admit that the concept of a custom-built Death Star is pretty darn awesome.
So, we looked at the processes involved in building a Death Star from the perspectives of an architect, a builder and an agent – because it’s actually not dissimilar to building and selling any other type of property, right?
This is an incredible brief that will get the creative juices flowing – designing a space station the size of an asteroid, armed with a ‘viable and realistic’ budget of several trillion galactic credits. But in addition to producing a design solution, the architect will also navigate the planning process across a range of planetary obstacles, obtain competitive quotes for the work (Ewoks are surprisingly good negotiators), manage consultants such as surveyors and engineers, monitor the budget and administer the construction contract. The only downside is that it may take a generation to fully spec the Death Star project (or “the DS”, as the Wookie slave labourers have begun to refer to it).
There’s no denying this is the dream. The opportunity to work on THE major construction project of the millennium. But all the normal building issues are naturally magnified given a project of this scale. Working largely in zero gravity means complying with a multitude of challenging occupational health and safety regulations. And given that the architect’s vision is roughly 140km in diameter, that’s a LOT of steel. In fact, given the plans, it’s looking like approx. 1.08×1015 tonnes of it. So, finding a supplier with that amount of ready material and being able to deliver to an appropriate nearby planet is going to be a challenge. Not to mention that the number of subcontractors will populate a small moon! However, it’s totally achievable and can be delivered within 800% of the budget in, hmm – let’s say 20-30 years?
Marketing this property is quite a challenge, give the dearth of Death Star buyers throughout the galaxy. This is definitely one to sell via auction, although establishing a reserve price is a challenge. It’s a bit tricky to value, given that there are no comparable properties in existence. There’s also the necessity to attract a decent pool of registered bidders within 1 light year (holographic bidding is approved, by the way). There’s some excellent fly-by marketing potential given the size of the mesh signage covering the DS’s construction site. It’s easy enough to translate the marketing campaign material across a diversity of galactic languages, and it’s fair to say that there should be a keen battle which hopefully won’t end in needless planetary destruction.
So while we doubt that either Darth Vader or the Emperor Palpatine himself were involved in decisions on whether the bridge of the Death Star should be decked out in neutrals (it was totally Count Dooku that made that call) – if you’re responsible for building a Death Star most of the processes are pretty much the same as building your own Earth-moored property.
Advice, we gave. Welcome, you are.
(And may the force be with you.)