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When it comes to a galactic weapon of ultimate death and destruction, both Death Stars from the Star Wars franchise have most other competitors beat. That advantage comes with cost though, and it's pretty damned hefty if you've ever wondered how much a pair of fully armed and operational space stations would cost. All of this could be yours for the price of $419 quintillion!
We have engineering professor Zachary Feinstein to thank for running up the total bill on Emperor Palpatine's crowning achievement. The Washington University professor from St. Louis crafted the aptly titled, "It's A Trap: Emperor Palpatine's Poison Pill," a study that shows the economic fallout of the events of the original trilogy. As Entertainment Weekly pointed out, Feinstein's study does so by crunching the numbers of the Galactic Empire's spending versus what it took in as its gross galactic product.
Get ready for some bleak accounting, because the second Death Star's destruction was such a crippling blow to the galactic economy that a massive bailout would be required to make sure the markets don't completely collapse. You see, once the second Death Star was trashed, the market already took a 20% dip – with roughly that much money required in order to stabilize galactic currency. Meaning that out of the $4.6 sextillion gross galactic product, $920 quintillion is needed in order to stabilize the Empire's financials after Return Of The Jedi's daring raid turned into an explosive success. So if you're one of the investors who had just bought stock in Jar Jar's Sith Robe Emporium, before the market turned into Bantha poodoo, our apologies.
Professor Feinstein's Star Wars study is pretty comprehensive from what we've seen, and it actually reminds us of another long standing debate about the construction of the two Death Stars. If you remember, Kevin Smith asked some big questions involving the personal politics and inherent risk all of the contractors building both stations in his 1994 debut, Clerks. However, what most people probably don't know is that George Lucas actually gave some context into this allegation in the commentary for Star Wars: Episode II – Attack Of The Clones. You can watch both pieces of the puzzle put together in the video below:
One would hope that the cost of the Death Stars was significantly lowered by using robotic and Geonosian labor, though that probably raises so many questions about the ethical treatment and payment of such workers. Still, with all of these questions swirling around the Death Star construction project that could have put the universe into the Galactic Empire's total stranglehold, you have to wonder how much money and effort is going into the First Order's Starkiller Base. Hollowing out an ice planet can't be cheap, you know.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens on December 18th, which will be creating some financials of its own once the opening weekend numbers are recorded.