This Never Would Have Happened If Emperor Palpatine Were Still Alive
Warning: spoilers for Star Wars: The Force Awakens ahead. If you haven’t seen it yet, bookmark it and come back later.
The Empire and its successor, the First Order, can’t innovate anymore. Emperor Palpatine would have hated The First Order’s newly launched Starkiller Base weapon. It definitely had some “ho-hum” incremental improvements over the original Death Star. For instance, using a nearby star for a power source is pretty neat, but this is an evolutionary feature not a revolutionary feature.
It’s clear that since the death of the charismatic but mercurial Palpatine, the Empire/First Order is just putting out rewarmed leftovers. They seem unable to think outside the “large spherical celestial body-destroying” box in their weapons development group!
If the Emperor were still alive and one of his weapons people showed him a model of Starkiller Base his wrinkled countenance would have twisted with rage. He would have Force choked them to death. The First Order’s marketing division was laying it on thick by referring to Starkiller Base as “The Best Space Weapon Ever.” Since Palpatine’s death, the Empire/First Order is still stuck at the tired intersection of doomsday machinery and Storm Troopers.
And let’s not forget about the “thermal oscillator gate” scandal in which yet another single weak point allowed a mega weapon to be destroyed while the more nimble competition literally swooped in and decimated them. In the past the Empire invented massive Star Destroyers that “just worked” but clearly those days are long gone. I guess having massive factories with droids working around the clock in poor conditions isn’t a recipe for consistent quality.
Emperor Palpatine, while not without flaws, was always a hands-on leader. He inspired his subordinates to believe in their mission with his masterful use of the Force, sometimes called his “reality distortion field.” He always brought a blaster-like focus to products and famously said “no” to a thousand features in order to create an incredible Force-like user experience.
Sure, he could be a micro-manager who was not fun to work for, but he was effective. He even got deeply involved in making the unseen parts of his super weapons, right down to the trash compactors. With his death, the system he put in place is unable to fill the void he left behind.
The First Order is doomed without Palpatine. Snoke’s First Order needs to stop trying to do what they think the Emperor would do and find its own identity. While also remaining completely true to what Emperor Palpatine would have done if he were still alive. One thing is certain: if the First Order’s launch of their next generation doomsday orb isn’t available in Rose Gold then they blew it.