When the Rebels destroyed the second Death Star at the end of Return of The Jedi how many innocents died as well, since the station was still under construction?

Did the Empire move construction crews away for the battle, or were they still on board? I’ve seen people state that millions of slaves were involved in Death Stars construction?

  • 22
    no innocents were harmed. a roofer's personal politics come heavily into play when choosing jobs, and a roofer listens to his heart, not his wallet.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 19:27
  • 2
    @phantom42 are slaves not innocent?
    – Himarm
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 19:29
  • 4
    i forgot my clerks tag
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 19:41
  • 2
    related, not dupe: Did the Empire use independent contractors to build either of the Death Stars?
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 17, 2015 at 19:42
  • 1
    @SSumner Tarkin mentions slave labor, but does not say that they were Wookiees.
    – Null
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 3:02

4 Answers 4


It looks like the death toll of workers on the 2nd death star could be fairly low. Quoting part of TenthJustice's answer.

Wookieepedia describes the second Death Star as being primarily constructed by droids:

Methods of faster construction had been developed in the years since the original station's conception, added to the fact that Imperial engineers made sure to allocate enough space on the station for the maximum possible amount of self-replicating construction droids.

Their source for that claim is an official book called Star Wars: Complete Locations.

On top of that, according to George Lucas, the first star destroyer was at least built with

...I came up with the idea of adding a little schematic of the Death Star in here, because the Geonosians build robots and build things, they're sort of construction workers. They would probably be the ones contracted to build the Death Star, and they were the ones that Jay and Silent Bob worry got killed on the Death Star, but they are after all a bunch of large termites.

We are not to feel bad for the workers because they are essentially insects that breed in mass quantities. Obi-Won and Anakin also kill them fairly freely in the movies compared to them killing other life forms.

  • FWIW, the Bounty Hunter book established that the second Death Star's droids were almost entirely under the control of one of the IG-88 assassin droids (one of the others seen as a bounty hunter in the fifth film).
    – FuzzyBoots
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 0:24

The Death Star II is no longer under construction when the battle begins. When the Emperor showed up, Darth Vader reports, "The Death Star will be completed on schedule." Later, the Emperor reveals to Luke that the station is fully armed and operational. So it's done. Sure, they could put some paint on the walls, and maybe hang a few pictures, but it's done. It doesn't have to look pretty.

  • 2
    I'm pretty sure they would have finished the exposed structure once the Rebels were destroyed.
    – user339676
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:33
  • @user339676 Why? It does everything it is supposed to do. Do you really think The Empire cares about the aesthetics of the thing?
    – Mohair
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:44
  • 2
    That seems to be the only thing they care about. Certainly their security and weapons had little functional value in practice - white armor that gives no protection, security that is always penetrated, ships built far from any settlement...
    – Oldcat
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 0:52
  • 1
    Plus, the Death Star still has some pretty gaping holes in it. They only got it operational before it was structurally completed because the Emperor knew the Rebels were coming. Also, I doubt the Emperor would half-ass something like the Death Star.
    – user339676
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 1:35
  • @user339676 Can you imagine what that thing cost? At this point all that is necessary is the minimum viable product, especially after the Rebels are gone. They're done.
    – Mohair
    Commented Jan 6, 2016 at 1:43

Zero. Even if any construction workers are on board, they knew they were working on a government super weapon, and that would likely put them at risk. They would not really be innocent, but would be material accessories to mass murder and some pretty significant environmental crimes.

In the real world, such projects like this come with stringent requirements on the workers, and the workers usually command a higher salary commensurate with the added risk involved.

  • 1
    The original death star supposedly was built woth slave labor, if slaves are involved then it different the hired workers
    – Himarm
    Commented Jan 16, 2016 at 15:55
  • @Himarm, This question specifically mentions the Second Death Star. There is no evidence in the movie that slave labor was used to construct it. The few scenes about this issue suggest that they are imperial workers.
    – Mike Vonn
    Commented Oct 21, 2021 at 0:14

I'm going to go out on a limb here and state that not even the slaves are innocent. All of them chose to help put weapons of enormous destructive potential into the hands of an utterly ruthless dictatorship. Mass murder and tyranny were the obvious objectives of the Death Star's construction. Without their obedience, the tyrant's capacity to murder and/or terrorize the populace is hindered, if not made impossible outright.

Remember that without obedience, tyranny becomes impossible.

So each and every one of the slaves who obeyed orders to build this thing chose to value one life (their own) or a small handful of lives (their own and their family's) over the lives of many millions of other people.

Not innocent. None of them. Not even one.

  • I don’t think this really answers the question. While the “technical” wording of the question may require people to make a moral judgement of “innocence,” it seems pretty clear that the question is really about the death toll of civilian workers, regardless of moral culpability.
    – Adamant
    Commented Sep 11, 2016 at 19:54

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