The Eclipse was the first Eclipse-class dreadnought ever constructed and the lead ship and prototype of its class. It was built as a flagship for Emperor Palpatine, who used it after being reborn into one of his clone bodies. Both a powerful technological tool and a potent psychological weapon, the Eclipse boasted a planet's worth of weaponry and was almost unstoppable.
The Eclipse was equipped with a bevy of weapons and other technologies, including gravity well projectors, but chief among its weapons was an axial superlaser, capable of cracking a planet's crust or destroying a capital ship in a single blow.
For much of its existence, the Eclipse was under construction around the planet Kuat. Crime lord Tyber Zann captured the vessel from Imperial forces in 4 ABY to retrieve data from its memory banks, and abandoned it shortly thereafter, realizing that it would present far too big of a target to both Imperial and Rebel forces. The ship was later moved to Byss, where the reborn Emperor Palpatine took control of it as his personal battlestation and flagship. The Eclipse led an assault on the New Republic stronghold of Da Soocha V in 10 ABY, and in the battle was destroyed by one of Palpatine's Force storms.
- "I've never seen such an ambitious design…apart from the Death Star."
- ―Tyber Zann
The Eclipse was the lead ship of the 17.5 kilometer Eclipse-class dreadnought, the prototype of that class, and one of only two ships of the class to ever be built. Encased in a jet-black durasteel and quadranium alloyed hull, the immense ship was said to be the deadliest capital ship in the galaxy. By volume, the Eclipse was one of the largest warships ever built and the largest Star Destroyer ever, though in length it was somewhat shorter than the 19 kilometer Executor-class Star Dreadnoughts and Vengeance-class dreadnoughts. The ship's hull was also designed to resemble naval warships of eras long past.
The interior of the Eclipse was similar to that of a Star Destroyer, though it was also outfitted with repair facilities and docking bays reminiscent of those found on space stations. The vessel had several war rooms suitable for high-level meetings of Imperial Navy staff. Troop quarters were located near the bow, at the aft end of the keel-like structure. The fore launch bay and hangar sat approximately midships, and about 2.5 kilometers behind them lay the aft launch bay. The vessel had other, smaller hangars throughout the ship as well, suited for shuttles and the like. The large hangars on the Eclipse were big enough to hold a Victory-class Star Destroyer. In practice, they were occupied by 600 TIE Interceptors, organized into fifty squadrons, and 96 TIE bombers, comprising eight squadrons. The Eclipse's fighter escort alone could take on almost any New Republic fleet.
In offensive weaponry, the Eclipse was outfitted with 550 heavy laser cannons, 500 turbolasers, 75 ion cannons, and a superlaser mounted along the spine of the ship, the equivalent of a planet's worth of weaponry. The Eclipse was one of the most heavily-armed starships ever built, and was in fact capable of holding off an entire New Republic fleet by itself. Its fighting ability was unmatched, and were it not for the unconventional means by which it was destroyed it is likely that it would have been a formidable power for the Empire even without accompanying starships. Other combat-oriented technologies included ten gravity well projectors, able to prevent enemy ships from entering hyperspace, 100 tractor beams, and an enhanced shield system. The shield systems, combined with the design of the hull were also powerful enough to be capable, without hesitation, of ramming enemy vessels and not suffer any major damage to the hull.
Though the Eclipse was primarily designed for space combat, the vessel was geared for ground assaults as well. Every trooper stationed aboard the Eclipse, 150,000 in total, was specially selected. The soldiers on the vessel included a CompForce Assault Battalion, a newly created legion of Royal Guards, and a group of Imperial Sovereign Protectors as Palpatine's personal guard. Five prefabricated garrison bases and 100 All Terrain Armored Transports rounded out the Eclipse's ground assault forces. 708,470 crew were assigned to the vessel as well, including 4,175 gunners, though the ship could run with as few as 88,500 crew members. The Eclipse had a tonnage of 600,000 metric tons, consumables capable of lasting 10 years, and was entirely self-sufficient.
The ship's communications tower sat atop the bridge, its main communications array jutted from the tower's side, and the long-range communications system extended downward from the prow. The communications systems on the Eclipse were powerful enough to broadcast over all frequencies and drown out other signals, as Emperor Palpatine did during his invasion of the Cyax system in 10 ABY. Palpatine had a private command console on the vessel that could be used to access his personal records. The bridge tower of the Eclipse was asymmetric, with the main sensor array on the other side of the bridge from the communications array, and the deflector shield command perched on top of the bridge tower.
An array of six drive engines on the Eclipse's stern gave it a sublight acceleration of 940G, and the ship's hyperdrive was rated at 2x—the backup hyperdrive, 6x. Both sublight and hyperdrive were enhanced to give the Eclipse maximum reaction speed.
The most important development in the design of the Eclipse was its main weapon, a concealed superlaser running along the spine of the ship. Based on the technology of the Death Star, the Eclipse's single superlaser could fire at two-thirds the power of one of the Death Star's superlaser components, a feat made possible by advances in superlaser focusing and generator technology. The weapon was capable of destroying even the most powerful planetary shields and entire continents in an instant. It could also crack the crust of planets and rip enemy capital ships apart with a single shot, although early in the Eclipse's construction, the laser was prone to breakdowns. The superlaser was difficult to aim, as the entire vessel needed to be aligned with the target for it to do so. According to Admiral Motti in the field manual Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide, the superlaser's primary purpose was to penetrate planetary shields as well as destroy cities in a single blast.
The Eclipse was equipped with the firepower of an entire planet, making it a powerful foe in standard ship-to-ship combat. But the vessel's heavy hull plating and strong shields also made it possible to use the ship as a ramming device against virtually anything, destroying enemies through sheer impact force. According to Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, the Eclipse, alongside that of its class as well as its sister ship class Sovereign, were intended in early development to be next-generation Star Dreadnoughts for the purpose of solidifying Imperial rule within the next century.
Though the Eclipse was a powerful warship in its own right, it was also designed as a psychological weapon. Its enormous size and black hull made for a powerful effect against enemies, and in battle it handily demoralized the opposing forces. The vessel's resemblance to ancient naval ships further enhanced its fearsome image. In addition to its use as a warship, the Eclipse also served for some time as an orbital space station above the Imperial capital of Byss. As well as being a constant symbol of Imperial dominance to the people of Byss, it was used as a meeting ground for officials in the Imperial Navy.
- "You wanted to capture the Emperor's new toy? Fine. Let's see how long you can keep her."
- ―Han Solo to Tyber Zann
Intended to serve as a symbol of Imperial power, the Eclipse, alongside the Eclipse II, were commissioned directly by Palpatine, designed to meet his exact specifications. The first of a new line of Super Star Destroyers and the most recent of the Empire's plethora of superweapons, the Empire began construction on the Eclipse around the time of the Battle of Yavin, above Kuat. Although it was not the only prototype of the Eclipse-class dreadnought, with another having been converted into the mobile superlaser platform known as the Tarkin, it was the first of the class to be completed. During the early phases of construction, Palpatine visited the vessel several times. However, the Eclipse was later delayed in completion thanks to Palpatine's demise and the ensuing power vaccuum.
Crime lord Tyber Zann, leader of the Zann Consortium, first became aware of the Eclipse shortly after Yavin, while following up rumors of secret vaults of treasure belonging to Palpatine. Amidst the wreckage of the Death Star, Zann's crew retrieved data pods with details and construction schedules of the Eclipse, and believing that the records he sought were on the warship, Zann vowed to capture it. By a few months after Yavin, Zann had already begun sending out agents to investigate the Eclipse, an act that did not go unnoticed by the Empire.
An armada of Imperial ships was assigned to guard the Eclipse at Kuat, and despite Zann's efforts to find a weakness in the Empire's blockade, it would be four years until he made his move. The crime lord discovered that the pass key to Palpatine's command console on the Eclipse was kept in a vault in the Imperial Archives on Coruscant, and even as Palpatine and Darth Vader went to the Death Star II in preparation for the Battle of Endor, Zann launched his raid on the archives. He was successful, and it was not long before he seized his chance to take the Eclipse in the chaos that followed the Imperial loss at Endor. The ships that would normally be guarding the warship had to regroup upon their return from Endor, and so Zann took his forces to Kuat.
The Rebel Alliance sent a force to the system as well. Zann claimed he wanted to destroy the Eclipse, and while the Alliance engaged the forces of the Empire, his fleet made their move towards the vessel. As a heated battle broke out between the Rebels and Empire, Zann's crew meanwhile took a boarding shuttle onto the Eclipse, wrested control of the warship, and brought the superlaser online. The Consortium turned the superlaser on the amassed fleets, and with their motives revealed, the Rebels turned on them.
As the conflict progressed, an Imperial fleet commanded by the Executor-class Star Dreadnought Annihilator entered from hyperspace to aid the thinning Imperial forces, after the Rebel Alliance navy had retreated. Unfortunately for the Consortium, the superlaser failed at this moment. However, Zann's boarding party aboard the Eclipse was soon able to reactivate the superlaser and destroy much of the Imperial fleet, after which the Consortium fleet mopped up the rest. Although Zann now had full control of the most powerful ship in the galaxy, after retrieving the pertinent data from Palpatine's records he abandoned the Eclipse for the Empire to retake. Zann knew the ship was too big of a target for the leading factions to ignore, and so left it to the Empire to complete its construction.
The Eclipse was seen by many as emblematic of the problems with Palpatine's military policy. The Imperial naval planners did not approve of lavish spending on a single behemoth over several smaller ships of the line, seeing it as a self-aggrandizing waste, and after Palpatine's apparent death in the Battle of Endor it was felt that this kind of purchasing could no longer be justified. Some even suggested scrapping it and using the freed resources to build more Star Destroyers. But Palpatine was not actually dead. While the galaxy believed him to have been killed at Endor, the Emperor had escaped to a clone body on Byss, and under his orders construction on the Eclipse continued.
Still, to many it seemed as if construction on the vessel would never end. The Eclipse was said to have taken as long to construct as either of the Empire's Death Stars. Over the course of the Eclipse's lengthy construction the builders incorporated decades' worth of the latest achievements in technology, including the gravity well projectors, enhanced ion cannons, and improvements to the sublight engines and hyperdrive.
In 8.5 ABY, the half-completed Eclipse left Kuat for the Deep Core, used by the Kuat Drive Yards staff to evacuate as the planet fell to the New Republic. It became a permanent fixture in orbit around the world of Byss, where construction resumed, aided by slave labor, and was eventually completed. In this time it served as an orbital battlestation, where Grand Admirals and other high-ranking members of the Imperial navy met to plan Imperial strategy. From its deck, Palpatine commanded his fleets in their campaign against the New Republic.
In 10 ABY, Palpatine at last decided to make his move against the New Republic, and determined that the world of Mon Calamari would be the first of the major Republic worlds to die. After an initial assault on the planet with his World Devastators, Palpatine planned to personally lead the final attack on Mon Calamari from the Eclipse. He would not get this chance though, as his commander, the defected Rebel Luke Skywalker, sabotaged the Devastators, giving victory of the battle to the New Republic.
But the Emperor was determined to destroy those who opposed him. The Eclipse was deployed into other battles, often scattering enemy fleets through sheer fear without a single shot being fired. When Palpatine made it his personal flagship, the terrible reputation it already held was increased even further.
After the loss at Mon Calamari, Palpatine soon found a new target, the Republic headquarters on Da Soocha V. Accompanied by several Star Destroyer escorts, including two Allegiance-class battlecruisers, the Eclipse leapt into the Cyax system, almost destroying a Corellian gunship as it plowed by the much smaller vessel. The New Republic instantly identified the massive vessel as Palpatine's flagship.
As the Rebels began broadcasting emergency commands, the Eclipse's communications systems cut across all frequencies, transmitting a message from Emperor Palpatine to Leia Organa Solo that demanded she board his shuttle and be taken to the Eclipse. Leia was brought to a small hangar near the bow of the vessel, and was escorted off the shuttle to meet the Emperor himself. Through the Force, Leia felt only oppression and the dark side emanating from the ship.
Leia met with Palpatine and her brother Luke Skywalker in a room much further aft, close to the bridge. Leia, despite Palpatine's efforts, was able to convince Luke to turn against the Emperor. In response, Palpatine summoned a Force storm, an enormous conflagration of dark side energy, and turned it on the massed New Republic fleet. Using their own powers of the Force, Luke and Leia created a wave of light side energy that stunned Palpatine and disrupted his control of the storm. The Force storm, its energies no longer directed by Palpatine, began consuming the Eclipse. As the pair of Jedi escaped the doomed flagship, the storm destroyed the last of it.
After Palpatine's return from his second death, he utilized a replacement vessel of the same class as the original, christened the "Eclipse II," until it was destroyed by R2-D2 sending it on a collision course with the Galaxy Gun.
Behind the scenesEdit
Dark Empire describes the Eclipse as "ten miles long from stem to stern"; the Dark Empire Sourcebook and subsequent sources have clarified its length as 17.5 kilometers, or slightly less than eleven miles.
The total design and construction time of the Eclipse is uncertain. Most sources, such as the Dark Empire Sourcebook, indicated that it had been under construction ever since the Battle of Hoth. However, Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption, and Underworld: A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy, which references the game, show the Eclipse as already being under construction since the Battle of Yavin. Additionally, Dark Empire Sourcebook states that the ship was in construction as long as either Death Star; since the publication of that and other sources that repeat the same information, the Death Star I was revealed to have been under construction for at least 19 years. However, the 2007 edition of Starships of the Galaxy explicitly states that the Eclipse began construction around the time of the Battle of Yavin.
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- Dark Empire 6: The Fate of a Galaxy (First appearance)
- Dark Empire audio drama
- Tyrant's Test (Indirect mention only)
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- Star Wars Galaxy Series 2 (Card: As Luke Fights) (Picture only)
- The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- Star Wars Vehicles trading card game (Card: Eclipse Star Destroyer)
- "Communiqués"—Star Wars Galaxy Magazine 13
- The Essential Guide to Planets and Moons
- The Essential Chronology
- Handbook 3: Dark Empire
- The Official Star Wars Fact File 125 (ECL1-2, Eclipse-Class Super Star Destroyer)
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- The New Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: The Comics Companion
- "Underworld: A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy"—Star Wars Insider 89
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption: Prima Official Game Guide
- Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- Star Wars Galaxy Series 4 (Card: Rebel Heroes Under Attack) (Picture only)
- The Essential Atlas
- The Essential Guide to Warfare
- "Of Light and Darkness: The Making of Dark Empire – Part II"—Star Wars Insider 158
- "Death to the Dark Side!: The Making of Dark Empire – Part III"—Star Wars Insider 159 (Picture only)
Notes and referencesEdit
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 1.33 1.34 1.35 1.36 1.37 1.38 1.39 1.40 1.41 1.42 1.43 1.44 Dark Empire Sourcebook
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Starships of the Galaxy, Saga Edition
- ↑ 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 The New Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 The Essential Guide to Warfare
- ↑ 5.00 5.01 5.02 5.03 5.04 5.05 5.06 5.07 5.08 5.09 5.10 5.11 5.12 5.13 Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- ↑ 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 Dark Empire 6: The Fate of a Galaxy
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 The Essential Chronology
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 The Official Star Wars Fact File 125
- ↑ Star Wars Empire at War: Forces of Corruption trailer on StarWars.com
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3
- ↑ 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 Star Wars: Imperial Handbook: A Commander's Guide
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 The Essential Atlas
- ↑ "Underworld: A Galaxy of Scum and Villainy"—Star Wars Insider 89
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Dark Empire audio drama
- ↑ Empire's End