Eight(y) is Enough: The Galactic Span Percentage of the Republic

I.  Introduction

The AotC script features the scene where Kenobi tries to have analysis droids look at the Kamino saberdart.  This was actually a fully realized scene that was cut from the film for some reason.

From the text of the script I was looking at, I could presume the scene was cut because, like the Jocasta Nu scene, it's just arrogance in place of research, so it's a bit repetitive.   However, all the arrogance was removed as filmed, so I don't actually know why it was cut.

II.  The Import of Good Sources

A.  The Galactic Republic = Canada

Something else doesn't show up in the real scene, either, but is preserved in the script:
From high above, light streams down from the lofty ceilings. OBI-WAN crosses the floor of the great hallway, heaading for the Analysis Rooms.
OBI-WAN walks past several glass cubicles where work is going on. He comes to an empty one and sits down in front of a console. A PK-4 ANALYSIS DROID comes to life. A tray slides out of the console.
Place the subject for analysis on the sensot tray, please.
OBI-WAN puts the dart onto the traym which retracts into the console. The DROID activates the system, and a screen lights up in from of OBI-WAN.
It's a toxic dart. I need to know where it came from and who made it.
One moment, please.
Diagrams and .... appear on the screem, scrolling past at great speed. OBI-WAN watches as the screen goes blank. They tray slides out.
As you can see on your screen, subject weapon does not exist in any known culture. Markings cannot be identified. Probablt self-made by a warrior not associated with any known society.
Excuse me? Could you try again please?
Master Jedi, our records are very thorough. they cover eight percent of the galaxy. If I can't tell you where it came from, nobody can.
OBI-WAN picks up the dart and looks at it, then looks to the DROID.
Thanks for your assistance! You may not be able to figure this out, but I think I know someone who might.
That line about thorough records almost made me spew my beverage, because it has PK-4 arguing that eight percent of the galaxy constitutes thoroughness.   "Jocasta Nu, call your office," indeed.

Certainly this would represent a devastating blow to Star Wars inflationism and the EU more generally, because having such a limited knowledge of the galaxy at large would seemingly contradict the views that the Empire covered the entire galaxy . . . or in the case of some more recent inflationist claims, that it covered the central galaxy plus two other satellite galaxies.

Don't get me wrong . . . having records about doodads from known cultures and societies like that even across eight percent of the galaxy is impressive.  Just imagine having a massive scanning apparatus of the kind seen at the Jedi Temple Analysis Rooms and the database that had to identify all the random pieces of crap created just on Earth in the past few years.   It isn't like we've seen any UPC codes on anything, and even if we consider that a guide, not everything has them (nor do they commonly stay on after departing the retail location).   Individual chips and circuits, or in this case something more like individual arrows for a bow, et cetera . . . there's a lot involved there.  Even as impressive as something like eBay can be when you're trying to figure out what something is, it doesn't have every little knick-knack that has ever existed (just most every piece of crap of the last 75 years or so).

That said, though, if the Jedi's cultural knowledge spanned a mere eight percent of the galaxy, I would think this would have rather severe implications for the size of the Republic.   After all, the possibilities would be:

1.  That the Archive had information on artifacts and products from every world in the Republic.
2.  That the Archive had information on artifacts and products from every world in the Republic plus worlds outside it.
3.  That the Archive did not have complete information even from every world in the Republic.

Certainly the arrogance of Jocasta Nu and PK-4 would suggest that #3 is not correct, leaving our options as #1 or #2.   #1 would imply that either the Republic constituted eight percent of the galaxy, or #2 would imply that it constituted a smaller amount of the galaxy but that eight percent was known well enough to have extensive cataloging of artifacts and products.

#1 actually worked out the best.  After all, the later Empire constituted a million systems per the ANH novelization and when displayed represented a "tiny fraction of this section of one modest-sized galaxy."  Per my explorations of such points, I had concluded that the Empire's extent was probably somewhere in the 10-12,000 light-year range . . . which was already stretching the boundaries of "tiny fraction" a bit, but allowed for a properly modest-sized galaxy.   After all, even discounting galaxies below 10,000 light-years, the average after that is about 36,500.   In such a galaxy, and assuming uniform thickness (thus allowing us to use simple circular area), a 10,000 light-year wide Empire would constitute 7.5% of the total, with a 12,000 light-year galaxy making up 10.8%.

If we reversed the order and took 10,000 and 12,000 as being eight percent (with the intent of finding out the 'true' size of the galaxy), then:  a 10,000 light-year Empire would have an area of  78.5 million square light-years, and the figure is 113 million for a 12,000 light-year Empire.   Thus, the total size of the galaxy would have to be between 982 and 1,414 million square light-years, translating to diameters of 35,400 and 42,400 light-years, respectively.

However, apparently the reality of the situation is more in line with option #2.

B.  Oh Wait

You'll notice in the script snippet above that there are a few spelling oddities, such as "sensot tray" for "sensor tray", "screem" for "screen", and "Probablt" for "Probably".   I presume these are the result of an optical character recognition system that wasn't quite at 100% accuracy.

Given these facts, I went ahead and googled for "eighty percent of the galaxy", cross-checking against the novelization as well, and found that this seems to be the preferred figure.   For instance, this site has the AotC script with no obvious spelling issues, and uses "eighty", and the novelization concurs with this value.

Therefore, the Jedi Archive has cultural artifact and product references for eighty percent of the galaxy.

Glad I didn't waste any beverage (or monitor) due to someone's bad OCR job!

III.  Doing it Right This Time

Just for reference, eighty percent of an average size galaxy of uniform thickness would represent an area with a diameter of 32,650 light-years.

We are thus left with a few choices, which (to avoid confusion with the other set of choices) I shall label with letters.

A.  The member systems of the Republic span about 10% of the galaxy, give or take a few points by comparison to the later Empire, but known galactic civilization as a whole is far larger, and the archives are thorough in regards to both Republic worlds and many other areas outside the Republic (e.g. Hutt-controlled space, other galactic nations, non-aligned planets or factions such as Kamino (were it not deleted), et cetera).
B.  The Republic spans some percentage of the galaxy between 10 and 30%, but known galactic civilization as a whole is far larger, and the archives are thorough regarding both Republic worlds and the many other areas outside the Republic (e.g. Hutt-controlled space, other galactic nations, non-aligned planets or factions such as Kamino (were it not deleted), et cetera).
C.  The Republic spans some percentage of the galaxy between 30 and 60%, but known galactic civilization as a whole is rather larger, and the archives are thorough regarding both Republic worlds and the several other areas outside the Republic (e.g. Hutt-controlled space, other galactic nations, non-aligned planets or factions such as Kamino (were it not deleted), et cetera).
D.  The Republic spans some percentage of the galaxy between 60 and 80%, but known galactic civilization as a whole is somewhat larger, and the archives are thorough regarding both Republic worlds and the few other areas outside the Republic (e.g. Hutt-controlled space, other galactic nations, non-aligned planets or factions such as Kamino (were it not deleted), et cetera).
E.  The Republic spans about 80% of the galaxy, but known galactic civilization is a bit larger, and the archives are thorough regarding both Republic worlds and the handful of areas outside the Republic.
F.  The Republic member systems span the entire galaxy, with the artifacts and products of certain lowly inhabited worlds (Endor, for example) not recorded in the archives, hence the 20% listed as missing.

Just to clarify, the "other areas outside the Republic" would not include Separatist worlds, since almost all of those would be expected to be part of the Republic prior to separating, and of course this is before the outbreak of hostilities when several hundred had declared an intent to leave.

IV.  Making Sense of Things

Now, given that the Empire represented a "tiny fraction of this section of one modest-sized galaxy", several of the options above represent contradiction.  For instance, a Republic spanning 80% of the galaxy doesn't constitute a tiny fraction of anything, much less a tiny fraction of a "section".

Indeed, relative population also supports this view.   In the AotC novelization we hear of the trillions of common folk in the Republic, and in the RotS novelization we hear of Palpatine pondering possibly quadrillions in the galaxy at large.  If there are trillions of common folk but the galaxy at large has quadrillions, then obviously the Republic is some factor of times smaller than the galaxy as a whole.

However, we must also accept that the Disney-era canon is going to be chock-full of old EU-era misunderstandings.  For instance, at times the EU version of the Star Wars galaxy was said to be even larger than our rather stout galaxy, and while at times there were "unknown regions" and "wild space" and whatnot, many old inflationary claims argued that the EU had a completely galaxy-spanning Empire, and newer claims suggest more still.)

Nevertheless, until that inevitable contradiction with the old existing canon occurs, it makes the most sense to stick with the canon facts as we now know them.  (And indeed, when that day comes, we would be wise to remember that the Lucas-era canon stories are "the immovable objects of Star Wars history, the characters and events to which all other tales must align."  I suppose one could argue that leaves the facts open to revision, but that'd make things a hot mess.)

The fact that they would have references spanning eighty percent of the galaxy represents significant upward pressure for our conclusion.   However, at the same time, the "tiny fraction" quote refers to a map which, it is suggested, ought to show a contiguous and small part of the galaxy.

Were it not for the contiguous million systems suggested by the map, we might consider the option of a Republic of complicated shape, perhaps looking more like a road system than anything else but with a lot of untamed space in-between the roads.   The Republic would be all contiguous, but rather abnormally spread out.  Such a "Gerrymandered Republic" has some precedent . . . indeed, from the TCW novelization, we have Palpatine using a holographic map:
Ch. 2: "Palpatine sat down and activated a holochart. It hovered above his desk, a complex web of lines and clusters of light representing the major points of the known galaxy. He tapped the control to remove layers of detail, and entire star systems and planets winked out of existence -- so easily done, so very easy -- to leave a few snaking threads of colored light that ended in the Outer Rim. "A hologram, as they say, is worth a thousand words." The threads were hyperspace routes. And they were all controlled by the Hutts. [...] This Hutt has control of the hyperspace access we need to move troops and materiel to the Outer Rim,"
One could argue that the web of lines and clusters of light supports a Gerrymandered Republic, with snaking threads and such.  (And note also the "known galaxy"!)

But as noted, the ANH map seems to be contiguous.

Or is it really?

We could, after all, argue that the million stars on that map, while indeed being the Empire, did not in fact represent all the stars.   That is to say, just as Palpatine hid layers on his holomap, so too might the map Vader was looking at only have contained inhabited systems, and thus was itself only showing a "tiny fraction" of the stars..   Then, all we would have to deal with would be not the "tiny fraction", but only "this section of a modest-sized galaxy".

This would allow us to move up from Option A to something at least a little bigger, like Option B . . . maaayyybe even Option C, though it doesn't really follow to allow for a "section" that is larger than half of the galaxy.

V.  Conclusion

So, let's say we have an average galaxy of 36,500 light-years . . . and let's say the Republic constituted a third of it.   That would be either 12,000 and some-odd light-years just by taking that diameter and dividing by three, or, using our flat-galaxy area technique, a circular area of a bit over 21,000 light-years in width.  (Specifically, a 36,500 light-year diameter galaxy would, at uniform thickness, represent an area of just over a billion square light-years.  A third of that falls a bit shy of 350,000,000 square light-years.)

The reality is not clear, of course, since we've never actually seen a real map.  And, even the 21,000 light-year diameter doesn't seem to sit well compared to "this section".  But, this is somewhat easily managed.  After all, the Republic and Empire need not be circular.  It could meet its area requirement by being a square 18,675 light-years on a side, or a rectangle or oval spanning almost the whole length of half the galaxy but only penetrating half-way across its width, et cetera.  The most interesting thought is that it simply represents a wedge of about a third.  This seems to best satisfy the notion of "this section", certainly.

But, it does feel proper to roll with the area figure generally, since then there would be enough additional galactic area fairly close to the borders to allow for eighty percent of the galaxy to be known well.

But, the true value could be well above or well below that figure.   After all, the Republic was a vast network of tens of thousands of systems . . . the Empire seemed somewhat bigger, numerically-speaking, though perhaps more consolidated.

In any case, none of this represents firm figures.   A galaxy of uniform thickness and perfectly average size is a shot in the dark.   There's thus currently no hard data to go on to get a real size other than "modest-sized" for the galaxy itself.   For all we know, this could actually refer to a tiny galaxy . . . the smallest spirals are currently thought to be about 15000 light-years wide, in which case the whole Republic could easily be a mere 12,000 light-years across, by our easy area maneuver.

And, there are other possibilities which I haven't followed here.   People complain about my excessive length, after all.

VI.  Addenda

Is it even plausible that the Republic has extra-galactic holdings?   Not really, no.  Brian Young of SciFights has, of course, argued that the Republic completely controlled both the main galaxy and two satellite galaxies, an apparent effort to put Star Wars on par with Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda.

His basis for this is two satellite galaxies showing up in a picture where he then ignores that the zoom-in to the stated location is well within the galaxy.  His other basis is the name of the "Intergalactic Banking Clan".

Perhaps the owner of Interstellar Data in California should call his office.  These cats, too.   Beyond mere "interstellar" modern businesses, we have "intergalactic" ones . . . Intergalactic Toys LLC, Intergalactic Bread Company, Intergalactic Web Designers . . . these all came up on a quick Googling for "intergalactic small business".  And don't forget all the small businesses who fancy themselves "International" . . . I've dealt with one whose effective range was about fifty miles on its best day.   The same goes for "National" businesses that aren't, or ones who fancy themselves "United States" something-or-other or something-or-other "of America" or similar.

For banks themselves, how many "national banks" do you know of that are actually tiny and only capable of transactions in one state?   The first Google hit for "national bank" was this small bank called "National Bank" serving a dozen contiguous counties in southwest Virginia.  For small "international bank" types, I see that "United International Bank, L.L.C., a community bank" is referred to and seemingly only exists in Flushing, New York.

Perhaps we're thinking too small, though.   Just search for "universe LLC" to find several places that would be willing to cater to our entire billions-of-light-years-wide universe of customers, if only they'd show up.   I mean, it isn't like we can take our goods and services to them.  

Similarly, I rather doubt the Intergalactic Banking Clan is likely to be opening up a branch location in the Milky Way anytime soon.  Similarly, unless someone's gotten *very* lost and is floating along on a long-dead ship, I rather doubt they have any market penetration whatsoever in the satellite galaxies of the Galaxy Far, Far Away.

1 comment:

  1. Aleen was known well enough by the Republic to send aid after some ground quakes despite the war, and yet the Republic didn't have a proper dictionary for the local language to load into a droid(C3-P0), and knew nothing about the planet.

    The natives were seemingly stone age and barely knew how to work technology that it appears the Republic gave them for some reason. They thought blasters were literal magic.

    Being known and in the database doesn't mean much.