J.J. Abrams explains that new Star Wars: The Force Awakens super-weapon

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Dec 17, 2018, 5:00 PM EST (Updated)

That giant, planet-sized weapon in the poster for Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It might be exactly what you think it is ... sort of. Possible spoilers ahead!

EW has been rolling out tidbits of information and interviews from its Star Wars: The Force Awakens coverage over the past week, and in the latest one, director J.J. Abrams has revealed just what that ominous object is: Starkiller Base, the headquarters of Imperial wannabe the First Order. And if you think it bears more than a passing resemblance to an older Imperial mega-weapon, you're right. Here's Abrams:

"It is very much -- and it’s acknowledged as such in the movie -- apparently another Death Star. But what it’s capable of, how it works, and what the threat is, is far greater than what the Death Star could have done. Starkiller Base is another step forward, technologically speaking, in terms of power."

Abrams did not reveal the extent of that power, but it's widely believed that Starkiller Base (which, ironically, gets its monicker from George Lucas’s earliest version of Luke Skywalker's last name) has the ability to destroy not just planets but entire solar systems. Abrams hinted that for the First Order, it's all about doing what the Empire did -- only bigger and meaner:

"Evil’s a little bit like a drug. It takes more and more of it to have the same effect. And I think the First Order is a really deadly drug."

And just who is sitting in the driver's seat on Starkiller Base? It's General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson), a First Order military commander with a vast hunger for power. Gleeson described his character:

"There’s an air of superiority, and being better than those people around you. He’s pretty ruthless. A strong disciplinarian would be a mild way of putting it...You don’t get that high up in your life that quickly unless you’re pretty ruthless."

Sounds like a Governor Tarkin or future Emperor in the making, with Darth Vader acolyte Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) acting as his enforcer -- although Gleeson hinted that the two are "both vying for power.”

And it seems like there's a whole lot of it waiting to be unleashed through that base. What do you think of a bigger and potentially much more destructive version of the Death Star making its debut in Star Wars: The Force Awakens?