The Death Star is one of the most iconic weapons in cinema.
A simply designed battle station the size of a small moon, capable of destroying an
Welcome to Star Wars Explained, and 101 facts about the Death Star.
The following facts have all been taken from canon sources.
The Death Star cost over one trillion credits to build.
It was funded by Techno Union, Banking Clan, Trade Federation and the Republic, so both
sides of the Clone Wars.
The Death Star began construction as a Republic weapon, not Separatist.
After Dooku brought the plans to Sidious, Palpatine used them to instill fear that the
Separatists were building a superweapon and that the Republic needed to build a version
of their own first.
The original designs were developed by Geonosian engineers thought to be captured along with
Poggle the Lesser during the Second Battle of Geonosis.
Very few members of the Republic or Empire knew of the weapon’s development.
Those that did were known as the Strategic Advisory Cell.
They each signed the Official Secrets Act to keep the project secret from the Jedi and
the rest of the galaxy.
Tiaan Jerjerrod was known for his work on the second Death Star, but he also helped
build the first.
Construction of the Death Star began over Geonosis.
The first completed piece was the ring that would become the prime meridian.
The asteroids surrounding the planet were mined for ores.
The Geonosian battle droid factories were converted to refineries.
Poggle the Lesser negotiated his freedom in exchange for the use of his worker drones
on the project.
Geonosians almost needed work to survive.
They fought and killed each other over tasks they found satisfying, a practice which was
considered completely natural to them.
Over the course of its construction, members of the Strategic Advisory Cell wondered why
Dooku never attacked the construction on Geonosis.
Of course we know this is because he is simply following his master’s orders.
The full construction took about twenty three years, although much of the delay was due
to the loss of the superlaser’s chief researcher, Galen Erso.
Several outposts and supply depots were created as checkpoints for materials to protect the
true location of the Death Star’s construction.
Orson Krennic managed the development of the Death Star and its superweapon.
Krennic’s official title was Director of Advanced Weapons Research.
The Death Star itself was guarded by four star destroyers and eight frigates.
After the Clone Wars, Wookiee slaves were forced to build many Imperial machines of
war, including the Death Star.
At some point the project was moved away from Geonosis.
To protect their secret weapon, the Empire killed all Geonosian life.
Or so they thought.
Scarif was another planet used as a construction site for the Death Star.
To protect the installation on Scarif’s surface, an impenetrable deflector shield
surrounded the entire planet.
When the Republic became the Empire, the Imperial Company was established.
Its logo was not so subtly the Death Star.
This isn’t an official rendering, just my own interpretation based on its description
Every department of the battle station’s development had a cover name and agency.
The superlaser’s cover was Project Celestial Power.
Other names included Stellar Sphere, Mark Omega, and Pax Aurora.
Publicly, the Death Star was known as the DS-1 platform.
It was 120 kilometers in diameter.
The Death Star’s hull was made of Quadanium steel.
Power was supplied to the station and superlaser by numerous hypermatter reactors.
It was armed with 15,000 turbolaser batteries.
768 tractor beams were spread across the equatorial trench.
The Millennium Falcon was pulled into docking bay 327, so there were at least that many
The station was made up of 357 internal levels.
Turbolifts carried personnel between said layers, and could move both vertically and
Although it was never shown, the first Death Star had a throne room for the Emperor just
as the second did.
The Death Star had a bar.
A former Imperial lamented its poor lack of drink choices.
The garbage chutes were able to identify waste and direct trash accordingly.
Luke and company wind up in recyclables thanks to their stormtrooper armor.
The creature that lurked in that trash compactor was called a dianoga.
It’s currently unknown how it got there, but it’s possible the Empire used the creatures
to help break down garbage.
Grilled dianoga was a breakfast dish served at Maz Kanata’s castle.
Although it’s never seen used in the film, the Death Star does have a hyperdrive.
I would be very interested to see what moving something of that size through hyperspace
would look like on screen.
An emergency air dump guarded against any biological attacks in the air filtration system.
There was a water recycling facility that generated artificial humidity for the entire
Detention area AA-23 was reserved for political prisoners such as Leia Organa.
The RA-7 model protocol droid was used in large numbers aboard the Death Star, earning
them the nickname Death Star Droids MSE-6 droids, also called Mouse Droids, were
utilized to clean the floors, make basic repairs, carry messages, and guide troops to their
The Death Star carried over two million personnel of various combat capabilities.
342,953 of them were members of Imperial Navy/Army.
25,984 of them were stormtroopers.
Both of those statistics are oddly specific to me.
The Empire doesn’t round, I guess.
Stormtroopers played ball games in zero gravity filtration systems, an act which was very
The Death Star had elite naval troops called Death Star Troopers that held various responsibilities
including piloting the station, operating the superlaser, and more.
Imperial Weapons Technicians operated the turbolasers and ion cannons of the Death Star.
The most elite of them were involved in firing the superlaser.
They wore special helmets that were designed to protect their eyes from the bright flashes
of the superlaser and exploding planets.
The superlaser’s design itself was inspired by ancient Sith weapons and their use of giant
Original plans were for eight giant crystals to create eight beams that would combine into
one massive beam.
One kyber crystal meant for the Death Star was destroyed in the Clone Wars.
A second was destroyed about five years prior to the Battle of Yavin.
Large kyber crystals were rumored to decorate the various Jedi temples spread throughout
The Death Star’s superlaser design was adapted to allow for vast arrays of smaller crystals
to be used in place of large ones.
Kyber crystals were harvested from planets like Ilum and Starkiller base, which may have
actually been the same planet.
The chief researcher behind the superlaser was Galen Erso.
Erso believed his work was to use kyber crystals to provide inexpensive energy to developing
When he learned that the Empire was attempting to weaponize his work, he fled the Empire,
delaying the project for years.
After the loss of Erso, Krennic received a demotion, and Moff Tarkin was assigned to
oversee the rest of the project.
A failed test of weaponizing kyber crystals resulted in an explosion that destroyed an
entire city, and the deaths of tens of thousands of beings.
The superlaser’s first successful test fire took place near two black holes.
This could be a nod to the Maw Installation from Legends, which is where multiple Imperial
superweapons were developed.
That test superlaser was only two percent the size of the final version.
The superlaser required 24 hours to recharge.
This was reduced to only three minutes in the second Death Star.
If the beams were not aligned perfectly the crystals would overload and burn out causing
dangerous levels of waste heat back into the main reactor.
The Death Star was a perfect representation of what became known as the Tarkin Doctrine,
a philosophy that affirmed that fear of annihilation would keep the galaxy’s population under
To demonstrate the power of the Death Star, Tarkin ordered the deaths of two billion people
in destruction of Alderaan.
Alderaan’s destruction caused many systems and even Imperials to join the Rebellion.
The remains of Alderaan were sent to potentially rebellious worlds to scare them back in line.
The Death Star’s defenses were not capable of effectively tracking starfighters, because
they were not expected to be any threat to the station.
The trench that led to the thermal exhaust port ran from north to south, and was not
the equatorial trench, which is a common misconception.
The thermal exhaust port sat near the north pole of the station.
The weakness of the thermal exhaust port was removed for the second Death Star by using
millions of millimeter wide openings in place of one larger opening.
The Death Star’s destruction resulted in the loss of many high ranking Imperials, including
of course Grand Moff Tarkin, but more tragically Wullf Yularen, who fans of the Clone Wars
Although the Death Star could carry over two million people, it would appear it was not
fully staffed at the Battle of Yavin.
The total loss of life from the attacks on both Death Stars was tallied at nearly one
and a half million, so the first Death Star likely carried about 750,000 people at the
time of its destruction.
After the destruction of the Death Star and without the Imperial Senate to maintain control,
the Rebel and pirate raids became more prevalent throughout the galaxy.
About four years after the Battle of Yavin, remains of the Death Star were given to the
survivors of Alderaan to build a new home.
Research gathered from the development of the Death Star as well as the Death Star II
was used to build Starkiller Base, the similar superweapon of the First Order, over three
decades after the Battle of Yavin
I’m shifting gears for the final facts, and we’ll now be talking more general behind
the scenes trivia rather than in-universe facts.
Luke mentions a prison transfer from cell block 1138, which is an easter egg referencing
George Lucas’s first movie.
Princess Leia’s cell, 2187, is referenced by Finn’s designation in The Force Awakens,
The tractor beam unit shut down by Obi-Wan Kenobi was Tractor Beam 12.
The only written English can be seen on the Death Star in the original, non-Special Edition
version of that scene in A New Hope.
In early designs of the Death Star, the superlaser was positioned on the equator.
Although it was later moved to the northern hemisphere, the animated plans shown prior
to the Battle of Yavin still show the superlaser in its original spot
the trash in the trash compactor was real, Apparently, the smell was so grotesque that
Mark Hamill actually burst a blood vessel in his face because he was trying to hold
his breath as much as possible Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher performed that
iconic swing across the mechanical abyss of the Death Star without any help from professional
stunt doubles The Death Star explosions featured in the
special edition of A New Hope and in Return of the Jedi are rendered with a Praxis effect,
wherein a flat ring of matter erupts from the explosion
The buzzing sound counting down to the Death Star firing its superlaser (pause) comes from
the Flash Gordon serials, which heavily influenced the original Star Wars trilogy.
In 1981, following the Voyager spacecraft's flight past Saturn, scientists noticed a resemblance
between one of the planet's moons, Mimas, and the Death Star
In 2012–13, a proposal on the White House's website urging the United States government
to build a real Death Star as an economic stimulus and job creation measure gained more
than 30,000 signatures, enough to qualify for an official response.
The White House response also stated "the Administration does not support blowing up
planets," and questioned funding a weapon "with a fundamental flaw that can be exploited
by a one-man starship" as reasons for denying the petition.
The cost of building a real Death Star has been estimated at $850 quadrillion by the
Lehigh University, or about 13,000 times the amount of money and resources on Earth.
The International Business Times cited a Centives economics blog calculation that, at current
rates of steel production, the Death Star would not be ready for more than 833,000 years.
The Death Star placed ninth in a 2008 20th Century Fox poll of the most popular movie
weapons The Death Star assault scene was modeled after
the World War II film The Dam Busters, in which Royal Air Force Lancaster bombers fly
along heavily defended reservoirs and aim bouncing bombs at dams.
Some of the dialogue in The Dam Busters is even repeated in the Star Wars climax.
Gilbert Taylor, who worked on Star Wars, also filmed the special effects sequences in The
The trench run was also partially inspired by the climax of the film 633 Squadron, in
which fight planes attack a German plant by flying down a narrow fjord to drop special
bombs at a precise point, while avoiding anti-aircraft guns and German fighters.
Colin Cantwell made the first prototype models for George Lucas, including the X-Wing, Y-Wing,
Tie Fighter, Star Destroyer, Landspeeder, Sandcrawler, Millennium Falcon, T-16 Skyhopper,
and of course the Death Star.
The Death Star was originally meant to be a perfect sphere, but the material used to
make the model was notorious for shrinking.
So when the two hemispheres were brought together they didn’t quite match up.
Colin asked George Lucas what he thought of having a trench in the middle, and the idea
was approved, saving hours of painstaking work fixing the mismatched halves.
There you go!
101 facts all about the Death Star right before Rogue One!
If you’re not sick of hearing about it yet I’ve got some other videos on the Death
Star you could check out!
Also let me know if you enjoyed this video I might do more like it in the future.
If you haven’t already please subscribe to the channel to see new Star Wars videos
every day, follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and consider checking out my
As always, thanks for watching and may the Force be with you!