Although the most common large capital ship used by the Empire in the original Star Wars films is either the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer or the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer, both sharing the distinctive triangular-wedge design that has become synonymous with the term ‘Star Destroyer’ for many fans of the series, there are in fact many other capital ships, both Imperial and non-Imperial, that share the classification of ‘Star Destroyer’. This blog post will explore some other variations of Star Destroyer, and to make things interesting that means that this list will not feature either of the previously mentioned Star Destroyers in the Imperial-class line. We will also not be featuring any Super Star Destroyers either. To begin, we will discuss what is arguably the second most well-known Star Destroyer to fans:
#5 – The Venator-class Star Destroyer
This ship is an iconic Republic carrier from the Clone Wars era, and despite being forced into the role of a battleship despite its specialisation for fighter-carrying, this class of ship proved its worth during the Republic’s conflict with the CIS. As seen primarily in the animated series Star Wars: The Clone Wars, fleets of Venator-class Star Destroyers were able to defeat CIS fleets that vastly outnumbered them, due largely in part to their Jedi commanders but also due to the robustness of the ship class itself. Even when critically damaged, Venator-class Star Destroyers were still capable of performing incredibly well, and considering each individual ship is capable of carrying dozens of fighters and transports, even one Venator has the potential to do serious damage to a fleet.
#4 – The Interdictor-class cruiser
The inclusion of this warship is somewhat of a stretch – this ship is most likely a distant technological ancestor of the Star Destroyer, though the ship is not named as such. Nonetheless, from both a practical and a narrative perspective, the ship fulfils the role of a Star Destroyer – the Interdictor-class cruiser is capable of carrying fighters, troops and other equipment, and apparently possesses firepower great enough to level entire ecumenopolises. This ship was in operation thousands of years before the events of the movies, in roughly 3956 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin) during the events of the Knights of the Old Republic series. These ships, although ancient compared to the other ships on this list, were extremely effective warships in their day, and featured a gravity well projector that prevents enemy vessels from jumping into hyperspace.
#3 – The Pellaeon-class Star Destroyer
From one extreme of the Star Wars timeline to the other, this Star Destroyer is featured in the Legacy era comics, set well after 120 ABY. Though this ship is arguably the most powerful on this list, it is included lower down as it is technically a Super Star Destroyer of its era, as capital ships later in the Star Wars timeline tend to get smaller. However, despite being smaller than the standard Imperial Star Destroyers, it possesses far more firepower. The Pellaeon-class Star Destroyer also makes use of its vertical incline, with guns placed in optimal firing positions on the front of the ship so that they can direct fire at all sides. According to Star Wars lore, this ship possesses a huge number of weapons – 50 heavy turbolasers, 40 ion cannons and 50 proton torpedo launchers, among other things – it is also capable of creating an interdiction field. This ship can also function as a carrier, and due to the more modernised starfighters in the Legacy era, the Pellaeon-class possess far more capable starfighters than the standard Imperial Star Destroyers seen in the movies.
#2 – The Secutor-class Star Destroyer
This ship serves as somewhat of a hybrid between the Venator-class and Imperial-class Star Destroyers at first glance, although its design history is more vague – it was apparently designed towards the end of the Republic era to either succeed or become a complementary starship to the Venator, although the Imperial takeover meant that the doctrine of the now-Imperial navy switched to more firepower-focused capital ships and less carriers, meaning the Secutor-class was pushed to the sidelines. However, it is known that at least some were made, and were possibly used as late as Emperor Palpatine’s return to power in 10 ABY. This ship has the carrying capacity for multiple squadrons of starfighters, in keeping with its role as a carrier like the Venator, but it also possesses significant armament of its own
Honourable Mention – The Allegiance-class battlecruiser
Although it is large enough that it could be argued that it is in fact a design of Super Star Destroyer, the Allegiance-class battlecruiser has an honourable mention on this list because it is a powerhouse. Although completely doing away with the idea of a hangar altogether, and therefore relying on support ships to be fully adaptable in combat, the Allegiance-class responds to any threat it faces with a ridiculous amount of firepower. It features a whopping 12 octuple turbolaser batteries, 3 axial gun-batteries and 6 trench gun-batteries, meaning it not only has a huge array of armament but it also has certain weapons positioned for different situations – the axial guns, for example, serve as effective broadside weapons. Although the lack of a hangar is a critical downside to this ship, the sheer amount of turbolaser fire it can dish out almost makes up for it.
#1 – The Nebula-class Star Destroyer
This ship hails from the era of the New Republic, and it essentially corrects the majority of the issues plagued by the traditional Imperial Star Destroyer. Despite their status as an Imperial ship, the New Republic made extensive use of captured Imperial Star Destroyers in their fight against the various Imperial splinter factions, but eventually a replacement ship had to be created. The Nebula-class Star Destroyer removes the exposed bridge that was a critical weakness of previous Star Destroyer designs, and due to its heavily modernised weapons, armour and technology, the ship is smaller than an Imperial Star Destroyer and yet far more powerful. Capable of carrying several New Republic starfighters into battle, the Nebula-class Star Destroyer is supported somewhat by its counterpart ship in the New Republic fleet, the Endurance-class fleet carrier, which was capable of carrying more starfighters yet also featured several of the downsides present in previous Star Destroyer models, such as the exposed bridge. As such, the Nebula-class Star Destroyer is undoubtedly the best Star Destroyer in the New Republic fleet and was one of the best types of Star Destroyer ever created.