Episode III:  The Lesser Canon

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

134 "This is Anakin Skywalker's masterpiece: [...]
The ship he's in is not only bucking like a maddened dewback through brutal coils of clear-air turbulence, it's on fire and breaking up like a comet ripping apart as it crashes into a gas giant.  He has only seconds to learn how to maneuver an alien craft that not only has no aft control cells, but has no aft at all.[...]
On the downbeat, atmospheric drag fins deploy; as he tweaks their angles and cycles them in and out to slow the ship's descent without burning them off altogether, [...] The forward attitude thrusters, damaged in the ship-to-ship battle, now fire in random directions, but he can feel where they're taking him and he strokes them in sequence, [...]
[...] a syncopated sequence of exterior hatches in the outer hull sliding open and closed and open again, subtly altering the aerodynamics of the ship to give it just exactly the amount of sideslip or lift or yaw to bring the huge half cruiser into the approach cone of a pinpoint target an eighth of the planet away."
The awe-inspiring abilities of a Jedi pilot . . . or at least this particular pilot . . . are made plain.  

We also learn that there are numerous exterior hatches on a Separatist cruiser, enough to be of consequence insofar as the ship's aerodynamics.  That implies a lot of little ones or several larger ones.

141 "[Mace Windu's] other hand shaded his eyes against the glare from one of the orbital mirrors that concentrated the capital planet's daylight.  The mirror was slowly turning aside now, allowing a band of twilight to approach the gunship's destination." More from Stover on the rotating orbital mirrors.   This reference indicates that they are in place to concentrate daylight, implying that the planet usually did not get enough.  In other words, the planet's thermal balance seems to be partially maintained with additional heat, as opposed to what one might expect from a planet-wide city that would need to shed off as much heat as possible.   Coruscant in her natural state might've been a fair bit cooler, though not so frigid as to be incapable of supporting life.

In any case, however, the orbital mirrors seem to have little effect on daylight hours or direction of daylight, given that the natural twilight is occurring as the late-afternoon sun goes down.

That said, there may be a discrepancy in location, here.   The script has the ship landing in an industrial part of the city, and the novel has Windu headed to that location.   The script, though, suggests that Windu actually meets Palpatine and friends at the Senate office building.  However, as we've seen, there is an industrial area nearby.

"The gunship roared over the bottomless canyons of durasteel and permacrete that formed the landscape of Coruscant, arrowing straight for the industrial zone without regard for the rigid traffic laws that governed flight on the galactic planet; until martial law was officially lifted by the Senate, the darkening skies would be traveled only by Republic military craft, Jedi transports, and emergency vehicles." The primary construction materials of Coruscant's buildings are identified, along with the fact that the planet is under martial law.


142 "[...] less than a third of what once had been the Trade Federation flagship, still burning despite the gouts of fire-suppression foam raining down on it from five different ships [...] There's some inconsistency within the book and between the book and the script as to whether Anakin landed a third of the ship or half of it.   In either case, there wasn't much left.

Interesting, the use of foam to suppress fires.  Compare with the forcefield fire-suppression systems aboard starships, referenced in "Up the Long Ladder"[TNG2] and elsewhere.

144 "Dooku was to the Separatists what Palpatine was to the Republic:  the center of gravity binding together a spiral galaxy of special interests.  With Dooku gone, the Confederacy of Independent Systems would gno longer really be a confederacy at all.  They'd fly to pieces within weeks.
Within days."
This provides an interesting observation about the almost-"personality cult" stylings of the Clone Wars . . . it was the individual leaders who made or broke the Republic and Confederacy.

This provides an interesting single-point-of-failure for both groups, one which was made plain by the fall of the Empire in RoTJ. 

148 "A negotiated peace would be a recognition of the CIS as the ligitimate government of the rebellious systems -- tantamount to losing the war!   No, Master Windu, this war can end only one way.  Unconditional surrender." Palpatine gets all 1864 about the Separatists. 
150 "Flying over a landscape pocked with smoldering wreckage were once tall buildings filled with living beings had gleamed in the sun, [...]" The casualties on Coruscant must've been appalling.  And yet, we're supposed to believe that they had a planetary shield which they didn't activate or even comment about the lack of.
"Mace shook his head.  "Nothing is certain.  But this raid -- the capture of Palpatine had to be an inside job.  And the timing . . . we were closing in on him, Master Kenobi!  The information you and Anakin discovered -- we had traced the Sith Lord to an abandoned factory in The Works, not far from where Anakin landed the cruiser.  When the attack began, we were tracking him through the downlevel tunnels. [...] The trail led to the sub-basement of Five Hundred Republica."
Five Hundred Republica was the most exclusive address on the planet.  Its inhabitants included only the incredibly wealthy or the incredibly powerful,[...]"

"The only reason Palpatine's not a suspect is because he already rules the galaxy."

Presumably, this is the same abandoned factory we saw in AoTC.   This means we have clear evidence that most of the Coruscant events occur within the same small area.
117 "The vast city planet of Coruscant, smoldering from the battle, is spread out before [Anakin]." The report of devastation on Coruscant is not confined to the novel.
119 "Anakin, this baby will change our lives. I doubt the Queen will continue to allow me to serve in the Senate, and if the Council discovers you are the father, you will be expelled from the Jedi Order." A curious glimpse into Naboo society.   Apparently unwed motherhood is censurable.
177 "This was Utapau, a remote backworld on the fringe of the Outer Rim. [...]
Utapau had no interest in the Clone Wars; it had never been a member of the Republic, and had carefully maintained a stance of quiet neutrality.
Right up until Grievous had conquered it.
Neutrality, in these times, was a joke; a planet was neutral only so long as neither the Republic nor the Confederacy wanted it."
Utapau is a remote planet near the outer rim of the Republic, but it had never joined.

Both the Republic and the Confederacy were evidently taking control of non-aligned planets that were strategically significant.

178 ""Utapau," Grievous said slowly, as though explaining to a child, "is a hostile planet under military occupation.  It was never intended to be more than a stopgap, while the defenses of the base on Mustafar were completed.  Now that they are, Mustafar is the most secure planet in the galaxy.  The stronghold prepared for you can withstand the entire Republic Navy."
"It should," Gunray muttered.  "Construction nearly bankrupted the Trade Federation! [...]
"The base is secure.  It can stand against a thousand Jedi.  Ten thousand.
The Mustafar base is the most secure facility in the galaxy.  We later learn more about what this means, on page 364.    Once again, no shields are mentioned or implied.
183 "Sense the future, once all Jedi could; now few alone have this skill." Yoda reveals that all Jedi used to be able to predict the future.
184 "The Jedi Temple was the greatest nexus of Force energy in the Republic; its ziggurat design focused the Force the way a lightsaber's gemstone focused its energy stream." The novel also mentions thousands of Jedi and padawans in the Temple . . . somewhat down from the ten thousand Jedi knights active on a hundred thousand worlds as mentioned in the TPM novelization.

Interesting that the shape of a place was somehow supposed to focus the mystical midichlorian-based energy field.

More interesting is the fact that at last we have some indication of how a lightsaber is supposed to operate.   Though the nature of the "energy stream" is unclear, it is focused via a gemstone in the hilt.

185 "The Jedi Temple also contained the archives, the vast library that encompassed the Order's entire twenty-five millennia of existence:  everything from the widest-ranging cosmographical surveys to the intimate journals of a billion Jedi Knights." The Jedi Order has existed for 25,000 years.  Earlier, Yoda said (on p. 173) that "Jedi Knights served the Force long before there was a Galactic Republic, and serve it we will when this Republic is but dust."

Thus, the Republic itself must be less than 25,000 years old.  To be sure, an interplanetary organization such as the Jedi Order might've been a prelude leading quickly to a republic . . . or the original Jedi Order might not've been interplanetary at all.  In any case, though, you can't have Jedi Knights before you have a Jedi Order to knight them.

187 "[...] as though the orbital mirrors that focused the light of Coruscant's distant sun into bright daylight had somehow been damaged, or smudged with the brown haze of smoke that still shrouded the cityscape." Here we get additional reference to the planetary damage from the battle debris.

And, more importantly, we learn the goal of the orbital mirrors.   They are intended to focus the Coruscanti sun into bright daylight.  They may even explain why the Coruscanti sun appears to take up more of the sky than our own sun . . . it's reflected light along the same general trajectory.

This is interesting, since it confirms the idea that the natural lighting condition of Coruscant is dimmer, and hence colder.   On the other hand, it's possible that Coruscant's sun is dimming.   At one point it's referred to as a blue-white star, though, which would imply that it's much hotter than our own yellow sun . . . but, then, hotter stars burn faster.

125 "ANAKIN stands with PALPATINE at his window overlooking the vastness of Coruscant. Several buildings have been destroyed. A brown haze hangs over the landscape."
188 "Here and there, the remains of shattered buildings still smoldered.  Space lane traffice was beginning to return to normal, and rivers of gnat-like speeders and air taxis and repulsor buses crisscrossed the city.  In the near distance, the vast dome of the Galactic Senate squatted like a gigantic gray mushroom sprung from the duracrete plain that was Republic Plaza.  Farther, dim in the brown haze, he could pick up the quintuple spires that topped the ziggurat of the Jedi Temple." According to Stover, Palpatine's office is located at a position from which the Galactic Senate can be seen, with the Jedi Temple roughly in a line some further distance away.

Also, the damage to the cityscape was great . . . whole buildings were shattered by the debris bombardment.

195 "Orbital mirrors rotated, resolving the faint light of Coruscant's sun to erase the stars; fireships crosshatched the sky with contrails of chemical air scrubber, bleaching away the last reminders of the fires of days past [...]" Again, we have Coruscant's star as a dim one, with the rotation of orbital mirrors being employed to focus the sun.   

For the most part, these descriptions of orbital mirrors are self-contradictory . . . even moreso when one simply observes the films and tries to re-understand what one is seeing to include orbital mirrors. 

After all, we could posit that they are distant mirrors which reflect some of the sunlight toward the planet . . . as if we were to put a large mirror in co-orbit with the moon, for instance.  But, then, why would they need to rotate?   As the planet rotated they would so their job.  

So, we could then posit that they were in close orbit, either low orbit (like the planned (and executed?) 1999 Russian orbital mirror) or perhaps geosynchronous . . . but, still, why would they rotate?  The planet would rotate itself out of the way soon enough in the low orbit case, and unless they were on the horizon they wouldn't do much to help the planet anyway.  And, we've seen no evidence in support of the multiple sun angles that would be required if this were true.

197 "The Separatist attack on Kashyyyk, a compelling excuse will make.  And good relations with the Wookiees I have; destroy the droid armies I can, and still be available to Coruscant, should Sidious take our bait." Kashyyyk is evidently not too terribly far from Coruscant, though far enough
198 "Bail Organa stopped cold in the middle of the Grand Concourse that ringed the Senate's Convocation Chamber. [...] He stared up in disbelief at one of the huge holoprojected Proclamation Boards [...]
He pushed his way through the press to a hardcopy stand and punched a quick code.  When he had the flimsies in his hands, they still said the same thing."
Multiple occasions see the use of paper instead of datapads.
199 "He found his way to a public comm booth and keyed a privacy code.  The transparisteel booth went opaque as stone, and a moment later a hand-sized image shimmered into existence above the small holodisk [...]" Star Wars phone booth.   

The variable opacity was interesting.  I've heard, of course, of windows that let you "polarize the window plating", as it were . . . but it isn't clear here what's going on in the booth.   Is the transparisteel being polarized, or is it like the abuse of the term "glass" in the link and there's not really any glass there at all?

204 ""As a practical matter -- as of this morning -- the Senate no longer exists."[...]
"Palpatine no longer has to worry about controlling the Senate.  By placing his own lackeys as governors over every planet in the Republic, he controls our systems directly [...] He's become a dictator.  We made him a dictator." 
"[...] We can't let a thousand years of democracy disappear without a fight!"
Recall, if you will, that in AoTC Palpatine talked about "this republic that has stood for a thousand years be[ing] split in two".

Here, too, we see the notion of a thousand years of democracy.

This implies that the Republic is but a thousand years old.   What the situation was before then is unclear, but the Republic and civilization are frequently listed as being hand-in-hand, especially in Mace Windu's opinion.

129 "PADMÉ: Do you think he will dismantle the Senate?
MON MOTHMA: Why bother? As a practical matter, the Senate no longer exists.
GIDDEAN DANU: The constitution is in shreds. Amendment after amendment . . . executive directives, sometimes a dozen in one day.
BAIL ORGANA: We can’t let a thousand years of democracy disappear without a fight."
134 "KI-ADI-MUNDI: We have surveyed all systems in the Republic, and have found no sign of General Grievous.
YODA: Hiding in the Outer Rim, Grievous is. The outlying systems, you must sweep.
OBI-WAN: It may take some time . . . we do not have many ships to spare.
MACE: We cannot take ships from the front line."
Outer Rim worlds are not necessarily part of the Republic.

The Clone War has a front line, implying that there are borders involved.

134 "MACE: It is critical we send an attack group there, immediately!
OBI-WAN: He’s right, that is a system we cannot afford to lose. It’s the main navigation route for the southwestern quadrant."
The Kashyyyk system is a major thoroughfare, apparently the road to a quarter of the Republic.

Intriguing is the use of the term "navigation route".  We've seen that ships can plot independent courses quite easily . . . if so, why a navigation route?   The most likely reason is range.  Given that Kashyyyk is going to have Yoda within reach of Coruscant, that seems even more likely. 

"Obi-Wan stared [...] out through the gunship's window at the vast deployment platform and the swarm of clones were were loading the assault cruiser at the far end. [...]
Yoda, too, stared out twoard the stark angles of the assault cruiser being loaded for the counterinvasion of Kashyyyk."

"Obi-Wan turned to stare once more toward the assault ship that would carry Yoda and the clone battalions to Kashyyyk."

The troops of one ship are considered a counterinvasion.   One ship is enough to stop the Confederacy.

Evidently, Kashyyyk has no planetary shield either.

If planets can be won and lost on the basis of a single ship's troops and supplies, it doesn't speak well on a number of levels.

"Since the fall of Darth Bane more than a millennium ago, there have been hundreds of thousands of Jedi [...] and in all these thousand years, there have been only two Sith at any time. [...]
We don't even truly understand what it means to bring balance to the Force."
When you put it that way, it seems clear what it means.

Also note that the Sith were in some sort of action a thousand years prior.  We also hear references to them ruling the galaxy at some point.   Interesting and mysterious are the past 25000 years. 

Intriguingly, though, compare these hundreds of thousands of Jedi over the past millennium to the comment on p. 185 that there'd been a billion Jedi in the past 25 millennia, or the notation in TPM that there were ten thousand of them thirteen years ago.

This implies a drastic reduction in the average Jedi count over the years.   After all, even if we assume that Mace Windu is referring to a cool million Jedi over the past 1000 years, then at that rate there would've been only 25,000,000 over the past 25,000 years.   Instead, there have been forty times that many.  There's not a lot of evidence to go by in figuring out what happened here, unfortunately, but it seems clear that at some point the Jedi Order was way more popular than it has been in the past 1000 years.

216 "The sunset over Galactic City was stunning tonight: enough particulates from the fires remained in the capital planet's atmosphere to splinter the light of its distant blue-white sun into a prismatic smear across the multilayered clouds." Here we have a simple sunset, no orbital mirrors mentioned.
144 "PADMÉ stands and watches the sunset."
220 "Anakin, hundreds of thousands of beings are dying every day!" The casualty rate sounds appalling.  At an average of 500,000 per day, that would be almost two hundred million per year, or six hundred million over the past three years.   However, there must be more casualties than that . . . Earth alone suffered that many in Trek's WW3.
233 "But you must understand that not even the Jedi know all there is to be known about the Force; no mortal mind can.  We speak of the will of the Force as someone ignorant of gravity might say it is the will of a river to flow to the ocean:  it is a metaphor that describes our ignorance.  The simple truth -- if any truth is ever simple -- is that we do not truly know what the will of the Force may be.  We can never know.  It is so far beyond our limited understanding that we can only surrender to its mystery."  Obi-Wan educates Amidala in Jedi ignorance and mysticism.
235 ""Why Utapau?" Mace Windu was saying.  "A neutral system, of little strategic significance, and virtually no planetary defense force -- " Here again, we have planetary defense referred to as being an active thing . . . a force.   In other words, guns and ships and troops.
158 "CLONE COMMANDER GREE: The droids have started up their main power generators.
YODA: Then now the time is, Commander."
The battle begins on Kashyyyk.  It isn't at all clear why one would wish to wait until the droids had their main power generators online, however, unless those generators were the target.

Incidentally, on p. 154 we get mention of Wookiee catamarans and "Wookiee helicopters".  

237 "I speak directly for my own sector, of course, by I can tell you that many Senators are becoming very nervous indeed.  You may not know that the new governors are arriving with full regiments of clone troops -- what they call security forces.  We all have begun to wonder if these regiments are intended to protect us from the Separatists . . . or to protect the governors from us." Senator Chi Eekway explains a bit about the arrival of Palpatine's governors.

There's some confusion between novel and screenplay regarding these governors.  In the script (p. 128), we're told that "the Chancellor has appointed Governors to oversee all star systems in the Republic."   However, the book (p. 199) refers to the "Sector Governance Decree" while also suggesting that a governor is in direct control over every planet (204).

The best solution would appear to be that the Sector Governance Decree puts governors on every planet, presumably with a heirarchy including sector governors. 

239 "Alderaan has no armed forces; we don't even have a planetary defense system.  A political solution is our only option." Bail Organa says something Leia Organa will echo twenty years later.  However, by that time there are Alderaanian gunships serving the Rebel spacefleet, Alderaan's planetary defense system is as strong as any in the Empire, and Alderaan has become a major source of munitions for the Rebellion.

So, three years into the Clone War they are defenseless, but after the end of the Clone War and the beginning of the Empire they arm themselves.   Little wonder that Alderaan had become a target, though of course this doesn't justify the overkill of the Death Star.

241 "The last of the hovertanks whirred up the ramp into the sky-shrouding wedge of the assault cruiser.  It was followed by rank upon immaculately regimented rank of clone troopers, marshaled by battalions, marching in perfect synchrony." On p. 158 of the script, Mace had ordered "Obi-Wan, prepare two clone brigades as quickly as you can."  This gives a Republic brigade at least 1,000 clone troops each, along with some number of tanks.

The script also refers to this assault ship as a Republic cruiser, implying no distinction between the two.

ANAKIN and OBI-WAN walk onto a landing platform overlooking a docking bay, where THOUSANDS OF CLONE TROOPS and armored weapons, tanks, etc., are being loaded onto a massive REPUBLIC ASSAULT SHIP."
243 "Don't worry.  I have enough clones to take three systems the size of Utapau's." This line is echoed in the script.   Obi-Wan points out he could take three Utapaus with his two brigades.  As Mace had noted it has virtually no planetary defense force.

Clearly, the resistance quotient of an average SW planetary population is quite low.

171 "OBI-WAN blasts the BLUE JEDI FIGHTER out of the Republic Battle Cruiser and into the hyperspace ring. He heads for the planet Utapau." After the ship has launched and the clones have been briefed, Obi-Wan goes ahead of the Republic cruiser.   Where the cruiser was at this point is unclear . . . the novel does not contain this scene, and has the forces from the Republic cruiser just over the horizon on-planet when Kenobi lands at Utapau.

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