For Art’s Sake: Death Star-Destroyer? That’s no moon …

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What do you get when you cross a Death Star and a reallllly big Star Destroyer? The Hegemon-class Star Dreadnought, according to freelance concept artist Romain d’Escrienne.

Star Destroyer with Death Star
Romain d’Escrienne, freelance concept artist

As you can see, it’s so big that it berths traditional Imperial-class Star Destroyers!

That’s the “Tarkin Doctrine” of rule by fear at work, all right.

The way the impractically huge wedge-shaped outer craft (itself reminiscent of the Clone Wars-era Jedi Knights’ Eta-2 Actis-class Interceptor starfighters writ large) cradles the moon-sized planet killer is reminiscent of the way the ring-shaped cruisers of the craven Trade Federation embraced their spherical control vessels, which we often saw detached for planetary landing in the Star Wars prequels. To readers of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels of old, it also may evoke another “dreadnought,” the Eye of Palpatine (although that superweapon-ship was concealed in a natural asteroid facade). And the Dark Empire comics’ Eclipse-class Super Star Destroyer, although it didn’t come with its own Death Star accessory, certainly lived up to its name and dwarfed the rank-and-file ships of the Imperial Starfleet.

D’Escrienne’s imposing Imperial illustration is an entry in the Star Wars ILM Art Department 2016 Challenge — specifically for “The Ride,” a call to design two vehicles in the aesthetic of the original Star Wars trilogy, comprising Episodes IV-VI. His second submission in that challenge was a Mandalorian bounty hunter ship very different from the elephantine Slave I favored by Boba Fett, and yet still fitting for the law-and-order side of Star Wars scum and villainy.

But the super-ship is what’s so striking — while it’s just one man’s inspiration, it does make you wonder if the Emperor had more than one Death Star deployment in mind (especially considering it only took a few years to get another, bigger one up and running after the Rebels blew up his first one). It’s not completely unreasonable to imagine these battlestations as the centerpiece of a new kind of colossal galactic navy, the way the Trade Federation battleships worked.

The artist also has imagined Darth Vader visiting Luke on Dagobah at the time of Yoda’s passing, before the Jedi Master could fade away into the Force (although I don’t know why Commander Skywalker would crash his X-Wing into the swamp again the way he did upon his first visit there), and some devastating consequences for Cloud City’s defiance of the Empire … although we know from the ending celebration scenes of Return of the Jedi Special Edition that there was no lasting, large-scale harm. But isn’t it fun to explore alternate pathways for Star Wars characters and locales? Go and check out d’Escrienne’s visions.

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