The planet of Ilum may hold the key to Starkiller Base and its power.
Recently an official map was released of the Star Wars galaxy. It made its print debut with Empire Magazine, and was shared online by Pablo Hidalgo, a member of the Lucasfilm story group. The map caused quite a stir among avid Star Wars fans, because it displayed the canonical location for many Star Wars worlds we know, but also new worlds we will see in The Force Awakens, including Jakku, Takodana, Hosnian Prime, D’Qar, and Starkiller Base.
The map resembles other official maps we’ve seen in the past, but those maps are all part of the non-canon storyline known as Star Wars Legends. When Lucasfilm limited the Star Wars canon, they essentially eliminated most of the planets on those maps. However, the planets that remain in the canon are still at their original locations, so not much has changed. If a planet that was in Legends was adopted into the canon (such as Dathomir), its location remains the same on this map. That will be important later.
When this new map was released, some fans quickly noticed something interesting about Starkiller Base, the superweapon built into a planet that we see in The Force Awakens covered in snow. If the map is telling us anything, it’s that Starkiller Base may have been built into a planet we’re already familiar with. And that brings us to the Starkiller base Ilum theory.
What/Where is Starkiller Base?
Starkiller Base is a massive superweapon that is actually built into the side of the planet. We know that it’s more powerful than the Death Star, and that it can probably move. On this new map, there is a star located in the Unknown Regions labeled as the “Starkiller Base Origin Point,” implying that perhaps the planet is mobile. But at least we know where it originated. Starkiller Base is not the name of the planet, so we still don’t know what planet the First Order chose for their base.
I’ve already mentioned that the old map and the new one line up fairly well. What planets remain on the canonical map match the planets on the Legends map. So perhaps, if you overlay one on top of the other, we might see the old name of the planet that eventually becomes Starkiller Base. The image above uses Ord Mantell, Rakata Prime, and Coruscant as references to overlay the Legends map on top of the canon map. As you can see, Starkiller Base hovers almost exactly over the planet of Ilum.
What is Ilum?
Ilum is a planet we’ve seen before in The Clone Wars. Like Starkiller Base, it is a snow-covered planet, but it is also a planet of great importance to the Jedi. Before the rise of the Empire, the Jedi harvested kyber crystals from Ilum to be used in their lightsabers. Most kyber crystals come from Ilum, and they typically come in shades of blue or green, which is why most Jedi lightsabers also come in those colors.
Ilum is a Force-sensitive planet. When Jedi younglings come to retrieve their crystals, their experience results in a rite of passage, unique to the individual. The Force itself uses the planet to guide each Jedi youngling to the right crystal. It’s kind of a “wand chooses the wizard” experience.
We don’t yet know what happened to Ilum after the Emperor wiped out the Jedi and established the Empire. He likely continued to harvest crystals there, or warped the Force power found at Ilum to his own twisted purposes. But the truth is, we currently don’t know.
How do Superweapons Work in Star Wars?
We’ve seen superweapons before, with both of the Death Stars, but how does that superlaser work? Many assumed it was just some giant power battery, but it turns out there’s more to it than that.
In some unfinished episodes of The Clone Wars (that are still canon), it was revealed that giant kyber crystals exist. Small kyber crystals would focus the power of a lightsaber, so imagine what a giant kyber crystal would do. Several of these kyber crystals were used in the construction of the Death Star. Together the join to form a massive laser beam with enough force to destroy a planet.
And it just so happens that Ilum is full of kyber crystals.
If Starkiller Base is located on Ilum, it would make sense that the First Order would want a world full of kyber crystals to make their superweapon. Perhaps the core of the planet is one massive crystal that the First Order harvests to create an exponentially powerful weapon. If a few giant kyber crystals could create the Death Star, just imagine was a planet-sized version would do.
So to sum up, the Starkiller Base Ilum Theory assumes that Starkiller Base was in fact built, by the First Order, into the planet of Ilum. This is based on the following evidence:
- The planets line up with previous maps, which labels Ilum as the only nearby candidate for Starkiller Base’s origin point.
- Ilum is snow-covered, just like Starkiller Base.
- The First Order would want to take advantage of the planet’s innate Force power.
- The planet is embedded with kyber crystals, crystals that can be used to make superweapons.
- If Starkiller Base was not on Ilum, we would expect Ilum to be somewhere else on the map. It’s not.
Side Note: Rakata Prime
Though not related to Ilum or Starkiller Base, the map did produce one other extremely interesting detail. The only other planet listed in the Unknown Regions is called Rakata Prime, and that planet has a history.
Of all the planets on this map, Rakata Prime is the only one that hasn’t already been included in the canon yet. All other planets have been included in the Star Wars films or the television shows. Rakata Prime, however, does not appear in the canon. The planet was created for the Knights of the Old Republic video game, released back in 2003. That game is now part of Legends.
Rakata Prime belonged to an ancient race that ruled the galaxy some 25,000 years before the films. They built a lot of technology that harnessed the Dark Side of the Force, including a superweapon called the Star Forge that could feed off of nearby stars and use that energy to produce unlimited ships and battle droids. They eventually fell and were rediscovered by Revan millennia later. Of course, that story is not canon, but many pieces of it could be used in the future. At the very least, the planet’s inclusion in this map makes its existence canon. Perhaps this is a planet in The Force Awakens that hasn’t yet been revealed. Time will tell.