In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, we see that the First Order has constructed a massive superweapon called the Starkiller, very similar to the two previous Death Stars, though much more powerful, and much, MUCH larger, as observed when the members of the Resistance are comparing it in size to the original Death Star.

In addition, the Starkiller is built into the planet it's on!!!

The first question that comes to mind is how the First Order even accomplished this amazing feat. But the real question is:

How did the First Order build Starkiller base so quickly?

Since The Force Awakens happens just about 30 years after The Return of the Jedi, when there is no hint of the Starkiller even existing, and considering that the original, much smaller Death Star took over twenty years to construct, how is this even possible?

  • 1
    Man, can you imagine how long it would take IRL to build something that big...
    – xdhmoore
    Jan 4, 2016 at 3:08
  • 2
    They used more cowbell
    – Peter
    Apr 7, 2016 at 21:59
  • @xdhmoore - With limitless supplies, droid workers and gravity control? Probably a lot less time than you'd think.
    – Valorum
    Dec 26, 2016 at 1:01

2 Answers 2


They only had to build the super weapon part of star-killer base, all of the superstructure was already there in the form of the planet. This would have significantly reduced the time required to build it.

Secondly the knowledge of building 2 previous super weapons would have made the creation of a third quicker and easier.

Yes it took 20 years from concept to creation of the first death star (though only a portion of this would be actual building time) but the second death star took a fraction of the time (assuming it started construction after the destruction of the first)

  • 4
    And there is also a massive benefit in having an inhabitable planet to work on rather than trying to move stuff around in space. Even though repulsorlifts, sublights, and hyperdrives exist and are 'normal', they all cost fuel. Building something into the planet would mean there is LESS to construct, not having to worry about things like engines and foundations, because they're part of the planet already.
    – Vogie
    Dec 31, 2015 at 16:05
  • 2
    But it was a completely different technology where it drew energy from the nearby sun. The size is a massive 5x's that of the Death Star. Hollowing out a massive planet such as this would take a centuries if not a millennia at best to complete.
    – user64400
    Apr 7, 2016 at 21:09
  • 2
    @user64400 Yes, I think people are ignoring the fact that the planet was hallowed out and all this equipment was built around and into it. By the square cube law, starkiller base easily was a much more massive project than either Death Star. Not to mention that the First Order has no where near the resources or manpower that the Empire at its height had. I think there comes a time where it must be admitted that Starkiller base makes no sense whatsoever. But hey, it's Star Wars.
    – DBPriGuy
    Dec 26, 2016 at 1:18
  • I assure you, there was nothing hallowed about that planet. That said, what makes you think it was hollow?
    – T.J.L.
    Dec 30, 2016 at 1:20
  • @T.J.L. No one said anything about it being hollow Dec 30, 2016 at 3:00

We learn in Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know, Updated and Expanded that the planet was already home to significant Empire mining operations before the First Order took over, dating back to 20BBY

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Presumably the Starkiller Base was an extension of existing facilities that were already in place (for 50+ years), rather than something started from scratch by the First Order.

  • 3
    So essentially "We already have a huge mineshaft, it's the perfect place to mount our megalaser". Makes more sense than building a Death Moon from scratch tbh. May 14, 2018 at 0:33
  • This was later depicted visually in Jedi: Fallen Order: starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Ilum#Under_the_Empire
    – Milo P
    Nov 1, 2023 at 16:01

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