In less than a week, Star Wars: The Force Awakens has already made more than $690 million dollars. It’s in the process of taking over the world in a big, big way, but the seventh of the Episode films is also altering the landscape of the Star Wars universe. There are new threats, new players, and a whole host of other changes for fans to acclimate to. The new baddies, the nefarious First Order, have made their own alterations, including one to the ominous Star Destroyers that could have big ramifications moving forward.
SPOILERS for Star Wars: The Force Awakens await beyond this point. Tread cautiously.
The official Star Wars website has their databank, which serves as an online encyclopedia for all things relating to that far, far away galaxy. As it has been getting regular updates, new information continues to come out. A recent additions to the entry for the Star Destroyer Finalizer, which is one of the first things you see in The Force Awakens—it’s the ship that initially blocks our view of Jakku, where Kylo Ren and General Hux can often be found hanging out, and is nearly twice the size of its predecessors—talks about one of the new weapons systems: turbolasers powered by kyber crystals.
That may seem like a minor detail on the surface, but it’s one with wide reaching implications. Kyber crystals are a special substance uniquely in tune with the Force and they are what power each and every lightsaber. This provides a deep connection between a Jedi Knight and his or her weapon, allowing it to be an extension of themselves more than just a simple tool. (This is why Rey has such a reaction when she touches Luke’s lightsaber, she’s feeling the entire history of the artifact.) Natural kyber crystals glow green or blue, though the Dark Side traditionally uses synthetic ones, which glow red.
This adds a whole new depth to the connection between the First Order and the Force. Using kyber crystals to power the weapons on Star Destroyers is something entirely different, and it will be interesting to see how this develops. A Jedi and a lightsaber have a one-on-one relationship, so the question is who do the crystals in the turbolasers have a bond with? Is it Snoke? Or Kylo Ren? However it shakes out, there are some big implications moving forward.
Not only is this a dastardly new use for the crystals, the entry says that they were "harvested in the Unknown Regions" beyond the Outer Rim. Kyber crystals are traditionally found on only a couple of worlds, like Ilum and Lothal, but this means that they can be found somewhere else, and in great enough quantities to power the turbolasers on a craft the size of the Finalizer.
The fact that the First Order acquired these crystals in the Unknown Regions also hints at the organization’s origins. In the canon novel Aftermath, which takes place directly following Return of the Jedi, the Empire is in ruins, and various factions struggle maintain their grip on the galaxy and rise to power. At the end, it appears that a mysterious military figure, that some suspect is Supreme Leader Snoke, may lead the remnants out into the Unknown Regions in order to regroup, collect themselves, and rise to power once more.
It’s likely, perhaps even probable, that the First Order is the result of this. Made up of the remaining bits of the Empire, it would explain why, for all the changes, the new group maintains the same general aesthetic and structure as the previous regime.