The massive, triangular Imperial starships that appear in the original Star Wars trilogy (Han calls them "the big Corellian ships") are well known to be "Star Destroyers." Since these vessels are clearly not capable of destroying any stars, the name seems to indicate that they are spacegoing equivalents of naval destroyers. As anyone who had played Battleship knows, destroyers (originally short for "torpedo boat destroyers") are the smallest class of heavy sea-going warships.

Cruisers are larger warships, although still smaller than battleships. However, as the Millennium Falcon is escaping from Tatooine, Han Solo identifies the first ship he sees chasing them as an "imperial cruiser." Is there an explanation in some secondary source of why he makes this apparent error?


2 Answers 2


Han (and other characters) may have called the Star Destroyers "cruisers" since the Venator-class Star Destroyer used by the Republic during the Clone Wars (and a predecessor design to the Imperial Star Destroyer) was sometimes called the "Republic Attack Cruiser".

The use of the name "cruiser" in Star Wars refers to ships of a wide range of sizes, varying from a small "consular" cruiser like the one used at the beginning of Episode I (which could only carry dozens of passengers at most) to capital ships like the Mon Calamari cruisers. In Star Wars, cruisers are not strictly larger than destroyers.


Ship's burrow from Naval terminology. IN the pre-disney expanded Universe, the republic Navy adopted a length/tonnage classification system for naval hierarchy for it's warships.

  • Corvette: 100-200 meters (Example: CR90, Raider)
  • Frigate (Light cruiser): 200-400 meters (EF76 Nebulon)
  • Cruiser: 400-600 meters
  • Heavy Cruiser: 600-1000 meters
  • Star Destroyer: 1000-2000 meters (with some coming under)
  • Battlecruiser: 2000-5000 meters (variances depending on the Navy)
  • Dreadnought: Larger than 5000 meters

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.