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It is quite characteristic for fantasy worlds to have little technological progress because magic (since magic works better than technology, we don't need to develop it) and/or longevity of one of the dominant species (longevity means slow reproduction rate which leads to slow "I want to do things different than my parents" type of progress).

In SF technological stagnation is usually explained by some great catastrophe that created new Dark Ages (i.e. Canticle for Leibovitz) or we have something that actively prevents innovation (like risk of Chaos possession actively discourages too bold innovations in Wh40k universe or risk of re-creating Thinking Machines in Dune).

In the Star Wars we do see progress between episodes with the Death Star as a best example (there are other mentioned in linked question: change to space fighters, upgrade to the bionical replaced limbs - compare Anakin's and Luke's hand), but when you look back and notice that technology from the Old Republic (i.e. in the KoTOR games) is not that much different than one in the movies, yet there are separated by few thousand years. As someone that is not very knowledgeable in the SW universe outside of the basic movies, could someone tell me, why there is so little progress? Was there a regress in-between or simply people gave up after reaching some sort of peak (like it happened towards the end of the Roman Empire)?

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    It's been theorized that the Galaxy simply reached the highest possible point of technological progression and there simply isn't anything big left to discover. – Rogue Jedi Sep 9 '15 at 23:30
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    They obviously needed to work on the "cover for the exhaust port" technology some. We could send them a manhole cover as a little hint. – Oldcat Sep 10 '15 at 0:46
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    @Yasskier - My guess is that the people who made the KOTOR games knew that everyone wanted to use lightsabers and see droids like R2-D2, so they put them in the games despite the fact that it doesn't make a whole lot of sense from a historical perspective. A Star Wars game without lightsabers and astromech droids wouldn't feel like a Star Wars game at all. – Wad Cheber Sep 10 '15 at 2:20
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    @RogueJedi - Yes, the same idea applies. When most people think about Star Wars, they think of lightsabers and droids and the Millennium Falcon. The writers and artists know that, and they tend to oblige their audiences. – Wad Cheber Sep 10 '15 at 2:35
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    Inability to explain that might be the reason why Old Republic era is not canon anymore. – Deltharis Sep 10 '15 at 9:14
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I had this same question and would hold that you are absolutely correct that there's a lack of technological progress.

While there may have been some gains, if we compare the relative magnitude of technological progress on Earth over the last 1,000 years to that in the Star Wars galaxy, it's stifling.

Having said that, it makes some sense. While there are debates about the shape of the curve which best describes technological change over time, no one thinks that it's linear.

Most academics agree that it's increasing at a decreasing rate, with periodic spikes of innovation (like the Renaissance and the rise of microcomputers) which get smaller and more frequent at each occurrence.

enter image description here

Since the Star Wars galaxy both

  1. is extremely high tech and
  2. has been extremely high tech for an extremely long time

relatively modest innovation and slow, incremental technological improvements are to be expected. It would be like observing them at the beginning and end of the last segment of the trend line above.

  • As a counterargument to this, see e.g. journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/… which if anything suggests that growth should be approximately exponential – Mithrandir24601 Jul 22 '16 at 20:51
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    @Mithrandir24601 There's definitely a lot of different schools of thought. Having said that, the specific part of the article you linked to was describing the forecasts' error not the forecasts themselves and the different equations being applied in that article, while somewhat misleadingly referred to as "technological progress", were actually mostly predicting cost technology (where technology, in the economic sense, is anything aiding production) and thereby quantity, as opposed to innovation. All of the laws being fit to training data were cost functions. Slightly different. – Hack-R Jul 22 '16 at 21:11
  • I submit the conrary case: In the Old Republic era, everything's new and shiny, while in the OT era, everything's just an old revision of old tech. Yet, in all this time, no one created anything to rival the Star Forge. I believe the Star Wars galaxy is in decline. – Slacklord the Terrible Jul 22 '16 at 21:42
  • @Hack-R Yes, I'd agree there's different schools of thought. Sorry, I assumed the link was to the top of the page. From what I gathered, it was showing that costs are decreasing exponentially and (admittedly, seemingly from nowhere) production is increasing exponentially. Fair enough that they're different, but 'technological progress' would be a mixture of different things - doing the same thing in a better or smaller way might not be innovative, but it's still aiding progress in some way. e.g. They have repair droids, but (presumably) not nano-repair droids – Mithrandir24601 Jul 22 '16 at 22:16
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There is no evidence that technological progress hasn't occurred.

Would A Death Star made during TOR be the same size as the death star and would it be able to do the same amount of damage? In 4,000 years a lot of technology could have been miniaturized smaller transistors, capacitors, generators etc.

Just because we don't see new tech doesn't mean that there isn't old tech doing brand new things, as a suit of plate armor is pretty old tech but a set of titanium plate armor, well that might take some doing.

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    in any way it is not noticeable. We can see a prgress between times of Phantom Menace and New Hope (~30 years) but not between times of Mandalorian War and the Rebelion (~8000 years) without any explanation given. At least in Dune or Wh40k (other universes spanning for millenia) there are solid reasons why there is such technological stagnation (if Ebon Hawk landed next to Millenium Falcon, no one would notice), here its just handwaved "coz we do like jedi, so lets keep the universe the same for thousands of years" – Yasskier Sep 10 '15 at 9:19
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Basically speaking, it's due to the general devastation of the New Sith Wars, which were a series of conflicts stretched out over the better part of a millennium (the Draggulch period, roughly 2000-1000 years before A New Hope, though the major fighting was 1500-1100 BBY) and involved not just the Republic and Sith but a large number of other combatants, most of them opportunistically supporting both sides at various times.

As a result of the wars, the Republic was pretty well crippled - communications outside the Core were cut off, the government nearly collapsed, there were plagues, the whole nine yards. The Republic as a whole was basically totally reliant on the Jedi, and they were still losing. (Well, sort of. The Sith weren't very unified, as is their wont, so they had a lot of internecine squabbling between warlords. That didn't really help the Republic much since they tended to get caught in the middle no matter what.)

Basically - there was a lot of technology lost, not a lot developed, what was developed tended to be limited in extent rather than galaxy-wide, and afterwards there was a prolonged reconstruction period where resources were mostly going towards rebuilding what was left of the Republic.

(For the curious - most of the information on this time is established in the comics, especially the Knight Errant miniseries. The Darth Bane books also touch on it; Bane took over the Sith right at the end of this period, as the Republic began to recover after the final battles.)

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