Few properties in the pop culture zeitgeist have a fan base that can rival Star Wars. For nearly 40 years, moviegoers have been infatuated with the galaxy far, far away, and now a whole new generation of viewers have an easy gateway into the franchise via the feature films that Lucasfilm is releasing under the Disney banner. For many people, their love of Star Wars goes well beyond the big screen, and they frequently look for ways to continuously celebrate the galaxy far, far away all year round. This of course can come in a multitude of ways, such as collecting official merchandise or following the non-film canon materials.
Some extremely dedicated fans like to spend parts of their free time trying to unravel the unsolved Star Wars mysteries. A quick Internet search will find no shortage of theories regarding Rey’s parentage or the identity of Supreme Leader Snoke, but that only scratches the surface of what viewers can hypothesize over. The book How Star Wars Conquered the Universe detailed friends and their quest to figure out what it would take to build a real-life Death Star (including the cost). Now, another one of the Empire’s best known weapons has received a similar treatment: the AT-AT.
AT-ATs attacking the rebel base on Hoth, in Star Wars Episode V The Empire Strikes Back.
The website Best Casino has posted an infographic (see it below) that breaks down how a real-world AT-AT would come together. As one would expect, the materials don’t come cheap and the construction would be $226.5 million. That figure does not include the annual salary for the crew (collectively $192,000), which would amount to one pilot, one gunner, one commander and up to 40 stormtroopers.
According to the research, the main armor would be the most expensive element of the vehicle at $146 million, or more than half of the total cost. This isn’t surprising, given that the AT-AT is very large, weighing at an estimated 1,020 tonnes and requiring 19.1 MW of power to operate. The lasers on the head also make up a large percentage of the sum. Finding real-world equivalents, the team is using $22 million for LaWS lasers (which are on the USS Ponce) and prototypes of the ATHENA lasers, which run for $50 million. Besides the crew, the leg joints and motor are the most cost-effective, setting Best Casino back by only $8.5 million.
All in all, this is a fun little experiment that if anything shows just how well-funded the Imperials were during the Galactic Civil War. It takes a considerable amount of resources to build just a single AT-AT, and there were several of them present during the Battle of Hoth. Studies such as this make the Rebellion winning the war even more of an impressive achievement, since they were clearly a ragtag bunch that had no business emerging victoriously. As for how much it takes to produce one of Rogue One‘s AT-ACTs, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Some of the new AT-ACTs we will see in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on December 16, 2016, followed by Star Wars: Episode VIII on December 15, 2017, the Han Solo Star Wars Anthology film on May 25, 2018, Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019, and the third Star Wars Anthology film in 2020.