In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda tells Luke that "Life creates [the Force], makes it grow". If that's the case, then wouldn't building Death Stars, whose sole purpose was to annihilate whole worlds (billions upon trillions of life forms killed per blast!) be counterproductive to the Emperor's own interests - potentially seriously curtailing the power of the Force, and thus the Emperor's own Force abilities?

(Or was he just planning to use the cloning facilities to churn out several billion life forms in compensation?! ;))

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  • Not a dup, but the answer to scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/18932/… is enlightening. – Major Stackings Aug 16 '15 at 15:59
  • Not in any significant way. According to the answers on this question, there are between 100 quadrillion and 400 quadrillion sentient beings in the galaxy. The number of non-sentient beings must be almost infinite. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Aug 17 '15 at 9:22
  • Fair enough if it's just one or two planets here and there that get destroyed; but once you've let the Death Star technological genie out of the lamp, what's stopping the technology from proliferating and leading to lots of Death Stars (or Sun Destroyers) blowing up planets willy-nilly over the next generation(s)? The thing about superweapons is, when you have a hammer, every problem starts looking like a nail. Eventually it could start having a noticeable toll in numbers... – Meir Illumination Aug 17 '15 at 9:28
  • When things die in the SW universe they become one with the Force. So when people/animals die the Force isn't diminished. – kylie.a Aug 17 '15 at 15:36
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    @Meir Illumunation Proliferating to who? At that point there were not many independent powers in the galaxy. The Rebellion certainly was not going to do it. The Hutt Cartel is the only other group I can think of that might have the resources and ability, but it seems like they would have considered that to be wasteful levels of destruction. – suchiuomizu Oct 25 '15 at 4:31

Effect on the Force

There are some hints that local concentration of life forms is important for the Force. When Luke approaches Dagobah in Episode V, he comments on the "massive life readings". Yoda has chosen to be on a world with a huge concentration of life, which might help amplify his (and Luke's) Force powers. Presumably, the life forms on Dagobah are less helpful to a Force user halfway across the galaxy.

That said, life and death do have non-local effects on the Force. When Alderaan is destroyed, Obi-Wan is shaken by the disturbance in the Force, even though he is far away in hyperspace at the time.

On the other hand, we know there are thousands of inhabited planets in the Star Wars universe -- eg. from the opening crawl to Episode II, in which "several thousand" star systems join the separatists. Even if a few are destroyed, the overall effect on the power of Force users may be negligible.

Characteristics of the Death Star

The Death Star is meant as a deterrent to rebellion. As Tarkin says: "Fear will keep the systems in line. Fear of this battle station." He deliberately destroys the peaceful, heavily populated planet of Alderaan as an example of the Empire's power and ruthlessness. So long as the Death Star is out there, it is intended serve a similar function to nuclear weapons in our own world -- it will seldom (if ever) be used again, because everyone knows how destructive the consequences would be.

In comments, it is asked what would happen if the planet-destroying technology proliferates. Episode IV plays up the huge size of the Death Star, and Episode VI emphasizes the difficulty of constructing it. It is implied that it represents a huge investment of resources, even for the Galactic Empire. Constructing multiple Death Stars would be extremely difficult, at best.

The Emperor's Personality

As Luke tells the Emperor, "your overconfidence is your weakness." Even if all of the above concerns are valid, the Emperor might have decided to build the Death Star anyway, trusting in his own wisdom, ruthlessness, and strength in the Force to keep himself in power.

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  • Name some of these 'hints'. The stuff people do in space/dogfights, far away from large concentrations of life, with the force, is still remarkable... possibly even more impressive than stuff done on planets or on ships. – Race Bannon Aug 17 '15 at 16:22

Alderaan while large is only but a speck on the grand scheme of the galaxy (I'm not sure if the Force ever extended beyond), it would be a blip, enough to sense as Obi-wan can but not enough to disrupt any major ability.

However more importantly, the Death Star is the equivalent of the Atomic Bomb, it’s a deterrence to rebels. Its effectiveness comes from the fear it generates, the threat of annihilation, and not from its actual use. Its actual use would be a negative (reduction of tax, trade, manufacturing etc). So look at it from the late 40s/early 50s USA POV (before the Soviets too had the bomb). It is designed to keep the Soviet Union contained, to stop its spread to various countries. Like the Death Star, it is merely a threat to contain the rebels, to prevent their spread.

It should be remembered that Force use is discouraged in this time period. That's not to say the Emperor has abandoned his ways, but his current 'power' derives from the strength of the Empire and his iron fist rule. He would have the weigh up the options: do I sacrifice a very small amount of power to destroy the rebels' hope and secure the Empire or personally remain as powerful but further at risk of rebel incursion?

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Okay, suppose Alderaan had trillions of lifeforms on it. How many planets are there in the Star Wars Galaxy? How many of those have life on it? A single planet probably had next to no effect on the power of the Force... assuming that the amount of life in the universe has anything to do with it.

I always thought that Yoda meant there that it takes living organisms to manipulate the Force, and that living organisms channel and harness the energy. Basically, you have to be alive to use it and make it more powerful for yourself.

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  • The answers on this question suggest that the number of sentient beings in the galaxy is between 100 quadrillion and 400 quadrillion. The number of non-sentient beings must be ridiculously high. – Wad Cheber stands with Monica Aug 17 '15 at 9:24

There are books(legends now) that mention death and destruction as being fuel for the Dark Side. It was never mentioned in the movies-Vader and Emperor never say/show they gain strength when those people die. But, taking in everything the Dark Side represents, it would be hard not to say that blowing up Alderan didn't weaken Dark Side users, but enhanced them.

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