Episode III:  The Lesser Canon

Quick Links:  Part One (1-75), Part Two (75 - 133), Part Three (134 - 243)

80 (Dooku's outfit is called "armorweave".  It's composed of "Corellian nanosilk".) I'm not sure what it was an armor against, since it does nothing to lightsabers and he was worried it would catch fire on a lightsaber-melted door.  Then again, it is interesting to see nanofibers in use.
68 "GENERAL GRIEVOUS: Prepare for attack.
PILOT: All batteries fire! Fire![...]
Clone gunners fire on the Trade Federation cruiser and take fire in return. Gun emplacements are destroyed. Clone troopers go flying."
Judging by the preparation, Grievous's vessel might not've been participating much in the combat.   However, it certainly does at this point.

Note that these anti-ship weapons are decidedly sub-kiloton in effect, though they do apparently have to pass through a shield of some sort in order to hit the guns.   Whether this is bleedthrough damage or whether the shields are eliminated first is unclear.

89 "[...] Home Fleet Strike Group Five:  three Carrack-class light cruisers -- Integrity, Indomitable, and Perseverance -- in support of the Dreadnaught Mas Ramdar.
Strike Group Five had deployed in a triangle around Mas Ramdar, maintaining a higher orbit to pin Invisible Hand deep in Coruscant's gravity well.   Turbolasers blasted against Invisible Hand's faltering shields [...]"
The EU's name for a ship type gets canonized in the "Carrack-class", though I doubt the EU ship type will appear in the film.

More importantly, we have the statement that these ships were attacking the faltering shields of the Invisible Hand.  This is after the ship has had its docking bay depressurized by Jedi fighter weapons blasting out the  bay's atmosphere containment shield . . . meaning that the fighters shot and flew right through any defensive shielding.   And, of course, that had been quite few minutes back, chronologically.

This does, however, possibly imply a possible shield resistance of several hours worth of combat, though as noted the Hand has not been engaged the entire time.  While that sounds good, the fact that defensive shielding does little to nothing against fighters is not good.

90 "As its shields finally failed, Invisible Hand began to roll [...] The rolling picked up speed, breaking the targeting locks of the ship's Republic adversaries.  Unable to pound the same point again and again, their turbolasers weren't powerful enough to breach the Hand's heavy armor directly; their tracking points became rings that circled the ship, chewing gradually into the hull in tightening garrotes of fire.
On the Hand's bridge, overheated Neimoidians were strapped into their battle stations in full crash webbing."
Like the fighter weapons, the Republic warships' anti-ship weapons couldn't blast all the way through enemy capital ship "heavy armor" in one hit.

Further, the ship's gravity generators were shifting wildly, throwing the down-angle every which way.  This was happening before the ship even lost her sheilds.  To my knowledge, no such failure has ever occurred in Trek, where the one instance of gravity failure was via direct hits by torpedoes.  One button-press later and all was restored.

On the good side, the SW crew was prepared for this kind of difficulty by having seat belts.

Windows are blown out, droids and equipment are sucked into space."

As the ship rolls, spacecraft and equipment CRASH from one side of the ship to the other. 
Several objects break through the metal blast doors, causing objects to be sucked into space.
Presumably after shield failure on the flagship, more than one bridge window gets blasted out, and the ship begins to roll.

(Lucas evidently wrote this with the idea of naval combat in mind . . .  a listing ship seeming sideways in 1g.  Stover re-interprets it as gravity system failures.  One could also say that it was simply a failure of inertial dampening, though Stover's re-interpretation works better.)

Noteworthy is that objects will be breaking through the blast doors in the hangar.  Assuming a 1g acceleration on these objects, one would hope that they'd be very large, dense items to just go blasting through a blast door like that.   In short, the film should prove interesting insofar as our ability to see what it takes to blow through a blast door on the exterior hull.

91 "But -- the forward towers are already overloading, sir [...] They'll be at critical failure in less than a minute --" SW capital ship weapons will fail after minutes of renewed firing during a battle that has raged for hours.   That's not too terribly bad.
92 "This is General Grievous:
Durasteel.  Ceramic armorplast-plated duranium. [...] The ceramic armorplast plates protecting limbs and torso and face can stop a burst from a starfighter's laser cannon."
One might be tempted to think this duranium is the same substance referred to on Trek since TOS.  However, one would be wrong to make that presumption.

Interesting that a ceramic material is considered sufficient to stop a starfighter weapon . . . not some ultradense armor or advanced nano-material.   Then again, given the starfighter weapons we've seen (for instance, on Naboo in TPM), this isn't necessarily a surprise.  It certainly stands in stark contrast to the one kiloton weapons claimed by Saxton and friends.

97 "[...] I am Lieutenant Commander Lorth Needa of RSS Integrity." Assuming this is the same Needa, he gets some promotions over the next few years.

Also, we get something interesting . . . RSS.   Presumably, "Republic starship".   Thus, presumably, Imperial vessels are properly referred to as "Imperial starship", or ISS.

In any case, there's a brief reprieve for the Hand.

105 "The gravity generators have desyncronized -- they'll tear the ship apart!" Apparently this 1g-variable gravity shear helps to weaken the Hand's structure enough so that it breaks up during re-entry.  Not to mention the turbolaser fire that punched out segments of the hull.
107 "[...] on Naboo, high-functioning droids were respected as thinking beings [...]" C-3PO was treated like a sentient creature on Naboo, after Anakin left him in Amidala's possession as the only wedding gift he could give.  Similarly, Amidala had given R2 to Anakin's care a couple of years later, when he became a Jedi Knight. Apparently they were respected as sentient (R2 was decorated for his various actions), but still treated as property.
"[...] the conning spire, ripped from the ship and cast out of orbit by centripetal force, as it made the long burning fall toward the planetary city's surface." The Hand lost pieces due to her spinning, and the ship's debris was going to rain on Coruscant.
"The TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER heads straight down toward the planet.[...]
GENERAL GRIEVOUS: Fire the emergency booster engines.
PILOT: Leveling out, sir.[...]
It is extremely windy as bits and pieces are continually sucked into space. The hangar bay doors are closed, but great stresses are being exerted as the ship twists, re-entering the atmosphere of Coruscant."
The exterior shot of the flagship dropping toward the planet appears in the trailers.   Apparently, though, the ship manages to level her descent via emergency booster engines.

Note that re-entry is placing great stresses on the ship, and that she is twisting herself apart.

At the hangar, the Jedi and Palpatine discover that there's no flight-worthy vehicle in the bay, meaning they'd all been damaged beyond flight from the depressurization and/or the rolling around.

82 "PALPATINE loses his grip as a pipe breaks, causing a rush of steam, but ANAKIN manages to maintain his grasp on the pipe as the CHANCELLOR dangles on the other end of the utility cable. They are surrounded by SPARKS and EXPLOSIONS as the ship twists and tries to break apart. ANAKIN moves out of the steam and struggles to pull PALPATINE back to safety. ANAKIN is almost pulled loose in the buffeting winds.
The ceiling behind them buckles, causing pipes to break, creating geysers of steam.
The ship continues to twist apart during re-entry, producing more broken pipes and bulkhead failures.   

These pipes carry steam, and may be related to the turbolaser systems (given the mentions of steam in relation to them in the ANH novelization).

110 "[Grievous's escape vessel ...] would then make a series of randomized microjumps to prevent being tracked before entering the final jump to the secret base on Utapau." Here we see how Star Wars vessels evade tracking.   This helps serve to explain Han's line in ANH about losing the Imperials . . . he'd probably made a number of hyperjumps.
110 "This operation had cost the Confederacy dearly in ships and personnel [...]" A ship count would prove interesting.
111 "Order all combat droids to terminate their search algorithms and converge on the bridge.  Wait, strike that:  leave the battle droids.  Useless things [...] A greater danger to us than to Jedi.  Super battle droids and droidekas only, do you understand?  We will take no chances." Grievous apparently watched TPM and AoTC.  ;-)

Suffice it to say that his opinion of base-model battle droids is not high.

112 "A sheet of shimmering energy suddenly flared in front of them [...] "Careful, sir," he said, low.  "Better not touch it till we know what it is." [... touches with lightsaber ...] "Ray shield," he said [...] "The oldest trap in the book, and we walked right into it."" At last, corridor forcefields used in Star Wars.    Interesting that it's referred to as the oldest trap in the book, though, given that they can't identify it and have no way out of it.

In any case, the ray shield doesn't seem to be a physical barrier, though one gets the impression that touching the shield would be uncomfortable.

115 "[...] their gait easy and straightforward, almost as smooth as a human's [...]" In ANH, 3PO had identified the stormtroopers as humanoid and not mechanical because of their smooth, fluid motion.  Nice continuity, there.
"The BODYGUARD carries an electrified staff about five feet long. When the laser sword hits it, electrical bolts fly everywhere and surround the laser sword. OBI-WAN is unable to cut the staff." Electrified objects are apparently impervious to lightsabers, and lightsabers seem to have some electrical properties, too.
There's no clear clue as to how much electric energy is required to produce this lightsaber-shielding, though the objects do put off a purplish glow with arcings in the previews.   In other words, I doubt a modern electric fence would hold a lightsaber-wielding Jedi for any length of time, but something along those lines might do.
126 "Then the ship bucked, sharper than it ever had, and the view wall panels whited out as radiation-scatter sleeted through the bridge.  Alarm klaxons blared.  The nav console flared sparks into the face of a Neimoidian pilot, setting his uniform on fire and adding his screams to the din, and another console exploded, ripping the newly promoted senior gunnery officer into a pile of shredded meat." (Needa re-opened fire on the Hand.)

Man, with all those exploding consoles around you'd think they were on the bridge of a Federation starship.   Of course, Trek consoles seldom set people on fire or shred them, so perhaps SW exploding consoles are worse.

BTW, what is "radiation-scatter"?  Isn't that "radiation"?   Or am I being redundant and saying the same thing?

126 "General, that shot destroyed the last of the aft control cells!  The ship is deorbiting!  We're going to burn!" Neimoidian pilots know that their ships cannot withstand uncontrolled re-entry.

Of course, by this point the vessel was already in atmosphere to some extent, judging by the earlier script comment about the forces it was experiencing during re-entry.

"ALARMS SOUND as the giant spacecraft begins to list and fall out of orbit.[...]
PILOT: The ship is breaking up!"
128 "Though the droideka, also known as the destroyer droid, was the most powerful infantry combat droid in general production, it had one major design flaw.  The energy shield that was so effective in stopping blasters, slugs, shrapnel, and even lightsabers was precisely tuned to englobe the droid in a standing position; if the droid was no longer standing -- say, if it was knocked down, or thrown into a wall -- the shield generator could not distinguish a floor or a wall from a weapon, and would keep ramping up power to disintegrate this perceived threat until the generator shorted itself out." Droidekas are top-of-the-line in general circulation, despite this design flaw.

Interesting, the reference to slugs.  In another quote, rifled slugthrowers are mentioned.  In other words, bullets are still in use in the SW galaxy with some frequency.

Note the use of "energy shield".   Is this the same thing as a ray shield?   Is a particle shield just armor?  Again, more research is needed.

129 "He pointed at the transparisteel view wall [...] Grievous hurled the overloading electrostaff -- but not at the Jedi.
He threw it at a window.
One of the transparisteel panels of the view wall had cracked under a glancing hit from a starfighter's cannon; when the sparking electrostaff hit it squarely and exploded like a proton grenade, the whole panel blew out into space."
The bridge "view wall" is merely a window made of transparisteel . . . somewhat different than the computerized view wall mentioned earlier.   A glancing hit from a fighter was all that was required to crack it . . . one wonders what a direct hit might've done, or even an proton grenade.

In the script, though, we get no indication that the window is cracked, though several bridge windows had previously been blasted out, presumably by the fighter.

Little wonder that most SW ships have so few windows, given how weak they seem to be.  When the Enterprise-D crashed into a planet, plowing through hills, most of her windows were intact . . . even the ones that had smashed through knolls and trees.

92 "GENERAL GRIEVOUS turns and throws his electrified staff at the window. It breaks, causing chaos as everything that is not nailed down is sucked into space.[...]
"A blast shield closes around where the window used to be."
130 "[Grievous's] command pod to make the run to his escape ship." Grievous had an escape pod primed and ready to take him to a hidden vessel.
"On the bridge, a blast shield had closed over the destroyed transparisteel window [...] The bucking of the ship had become continuous.  White-hot sparks outside streamed backward past the view wall windows.  Those sparks, according to the three different kinds of alarms that were all screaming through the bridge at once, were what was left of the ablative shielding on the nose of the disabled cruiser. [...]
Anakin grimaced at the scraps of burning hull flashing past the view wall."
The Invisible Hand is going down, and burning up.

The ship's ablative skin was burned off quickly, and she started to lose her hull.

Her re-entry speed and vector might be decipherable from the film.  The screenplay suggests an eighteen-degree vector and, after a significant rise in speed, a velocity of above "eight plus six-" hundred.   A direct unit and a number are not given.

A ballistic re-entry from standard orbital velocities (i.e. somewhere in the 25,000km/hr range or less) usually produces temperatures in the 3000ºC range.  FIRE test launches in the mid-60's for the lunar program, which featured rocket-accelerated re-entry, showed that even at 40,000km/hr (11.1km/sec) temperatures wouldn't reach past about 11,000ºC.  It may be possible that larger, ill-shapen vehicles might find themselves experiencing significantly higher temperatures in certain areas, however, at certain trajectories.   On the other hand, the flagship was already part-way into the atmosphere.

In any case, the Jedi report that the ship's temperature briefly reaches "thirteen thousand" after a piece breaks off and the ship accelerates.  Prior to that event, the temperature was steady and the hull was glowing.   Again, no unit is offered.  If it were degrees Celsius, the nature of re-entry ought to imply that this was the maximum temperature on the hull, as opposed to the average.  

The greatest-known re-entry temperature was sustained by an atmospheric probe dropped off at Jupiter by the Galileo spaceprobe.  Entering the dense Jovian atmosphere at over 170,000 km/hr, the probe briefly withstood temperatures of 14,000ºC.   Unless Coruscant is supposed to have a Jovian atmosphere, I find it unlikely that the Separatist flagship would've experienced above 10,000ºC.

(For comparison, the Enterprise-D hull withstood 12,000ºC in "Descent, Pt. II"[TNG7], and of course the saucer section hull survived an uncontrolled re-entry and semi-controlled crash into the surface in Generations.  The hull of Voyager withstood some unknown temperature above 9,000ºC in "Scientific Method"[VOY4], and her emergency forcefields protected four breached decks from those temperatures.  Whatever the final temperature, her leading edges, including bridge exterior, began to glow red-hot.   A Jem'Hadar warship's hull survived an uncontrolled, high-velocity re-entry and crash in "The Ship"[DSN5].  Similarly, a stolen Jem'Hadar warship survived an uncontrolled re-entry in "Rocks and Shoals"[DSN6], though when next we saw her she was on fire and sinking in an alien sea.   Voyager, in an alternate timeline, survived an uncontrolled re-entry in "Timeless"[VOY5], though the crew did not survive the crash.  TOS shuttlecraft were incapable of surviving uncontrolled re-entry, per "The Galileo Seven"[TOS1].)

In any case, the ship breaks apart in re-entry, its uncontrolled rear disintegrating.

94 "SPARKS begin to fly outside the windows.
PALPATINE: The hull is burning up!"
133 "Needa glanced down at the boil of hull plating that was burning off the falling cruiser, and even as he looked, the ship broke in half at the hangar deck; the rear half tumbled, exploding in sections [...] the front half wobbled and slewed but somehow righted itself using nothing but a bank of thrusters and its atmospheric drag fins."
96 "ANAKIN sits in the pilot’s chair and sees on a screen the back half of the ship break away. There is a great jolt, and the ship tilts forward."
"ANAKIN struggles with the controls of the ship. The ship starts to glow, and pieces break off. ARTOO moves in on Palpatine’s controls and assists in flying the cruiser.
OBI-WAN: Steady . . . Attitude . . . eighteen degrees.[...]
ANAKIN: Pressure rising. We’ve got to slow this wreck down. Open all hatches, extend all flaps, and drag fins.
OBI-WAN: Temp steady. Hatches open, flaps extended, drag fins . . .
A large part of the ship breaks away.
ANAKIN: We lost something.
OBI-WAN: Not to worry, we’re still flying half the ship.
ANAKIN: Now we’re really picking up speed . . . I’m going to shift a few degrees and see if I can slow us down.
OBI-WAN: Careful . . . we’re heating up— twelve thousand . . . thirteen thousand . . .
ANAKIN: What’s our speed?
OBI-WAN: Eight plus sixty-forty. Eight plus sixty-twenty. Eight plus sixty. Temp ten thousand, nine thousand . . . we’re in the atmosphere . . . [...]
ANAKIN: [...] Hang on, this may get a little rough. We lost our heat shields.
OBI-WAN: Five thousand. Three thousand . . . two thousand. Fireships on the left and the right."

"The smoking ship approaches as five Fireships spray it with foam."


132 "The dayside surface of the capital planet was shrouded in smoke from a million fires touched off by meteorite impacts of ship fragments; far too many had fallen to be tracked and destroyed by the planet's surface-defense umbrella.  The nightside's sheet of artificial lights faded behind the red-white glow from craters of burning steel; each impact left a caldera of unimaginable death.  [...] 
Now one last fragmentary ship screamed into the atmosphere, coming in too fast, too steep, pieces breaking off to spread apart and stream their own contrails of superheated vapor; banks of turbolasers on the surface-defense towers isolated their signature, and starfighters whipped onto interception courses to thin out whatever fragments the SD towers might miss [...] "You have to stand down the surface-defense system, sir!  It's General Kenobi!" Needa insisted."

Here again we see that there is no such thing as planetary shielding in Star Wars.   The planet was devastated by battle debris, far too much for the "surface defense umbrella" to protect against.

For Coruscant, the surface-defense system . . . Coruscant's protective umbrella . . .  is precisely that which I have previously stated it should be:  surface guns and ships.

I trust this demonstration is as impressive as it is thorough.


Quick Links:  Part One (1-75), Part Two (75 - 133), Part Three (134 - 243)