In A New Hope, the Death Star is only referred to as such (in dialogue) on four separate occasions; three of which are the intercom at the rebel base on Yavin 4, so I'm not sure they count as truly separate. It does appear in writing in the opening crawl and, likewise, in The Empire Strikes Back (where it is obviously not verbally mentioned at all). In Return of the Jedi, it appears again in the crawl and in dialogue -- to my count -- five times (more, but not by much given the plot). I haven't had a look through the scripts of the prequels; however, I would assume it's hardly mentioned, as it's still in the planning phase.

Anyway, it seems the only time it is referred to as the "Death Star" by an agent of the Empire is that one non-intercom-time in A New Hope and again by Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi. Was the "Death Star" therefore an informal name used by the Rebellion -- albeit sparingly -- that caught on with the Empire as time went on and, if so, did it have an official designation?

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    I like to think it was officially called the Mobile Imperial Space Station for Peace, Prosperity, Order and Happiness. Makes me think of an article that mentioned the idea that smear tests should be renamed to something that sounded nicer, and the author suggested “vaginal scrapey fun times”. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 14:58
  • 18
    It wasn't the first name. This photo was taken during the brainstorming session. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 15:35
  • 8
    Obviously it was supposed to be the Peace Moon.
    – aslum
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 20:14
  • 3
    They were going to designate it as Poorly Designed Deathtrap, but DeathStar won out. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 22:58
  • 2
    @aslum: That's no moon.
    – Dan Barron
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:33

7 Answers 7


Palpatine himself refers to it as a "battle station":

The Emperor: [In the throne room, Luke is watching the Imperial fleet attack the Rebels from the huge throne room window] As you can see, my young apprentice, your friends have failed. Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL battle station!


General Tagge:

General Tagge: What of the Rebellion? If the Rebels have obtained a complete technical reading of this station, it is possible, however unlikely, they might find a weakness and exploit it.

Source (Emphasis mine)

Would this thing even need a number? DS1

I'm tending to dismiss Wikia on this one, they are using the Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition and I'm not convinced that's canon.

  • Not to mention that there was a huge, divisive debate on the site about whether the "DS-1" label was actually its official name or just what the propaganda called it after its destruction.
    – Milo P
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 17:53
  • Aye-firmative!! Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 18:14
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    "Would this thing even need a number?" Well, they built 2, soooo...
    – jpmc26
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 18:55
  • 1
    The Star Wars Roleplaying Game (all versions) is in Legends Continuity. In fact, when Timothy Zahn was writing the Thrawn trilogy, Lucasfilm gave him a set of all the books currently published and told him to incorporate content from them in his books. Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 22:15
  • 1
    @jpmc26: yeah, and the second one took much less time to build so they might have considered to enter mass production at that point…
    – Holger
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 12:12

According to the new (Disney Canon) junior novel, Star Wars: The Princess, the Scoundrel and the Farm Boy, the Station was codenamed the Death Star;

But the system had been swarming with Imperials. They’d caught on to Leia’s bogus tale about her ship’s breaking down, but the cover had helped her stall long enough to download the technical plans for something code-named “Death Star.”

In Star Wars: A New Hope, it's referred to as the Death Star by the Imperials themselves:

IMPERIAL OFFICER: The Death Star plans are not in the main computer.

and in the film's Junior Novelisation we get the following internal monologue from Vader

Darth Vader regained control of his damaged TIE fighter. As he headed for the nearest Imperial outpost, he was not preoccupied about how he would explain the loss of the Death Star to the Emperor.

Notably, we also learn that the team tasked with the creation of the Death Star was the

Death Star Project

While it's by no means certain that the official name for the station is "The Death Star", it's certainly called that by both the Rebels and the Empire.

  • should that "not preoccupied" read "now preoccupied"?
    – Kyralessa
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 19:18
  • 1
    @Kyralessa - Nope. The full quote explains that he's gonna blame Tarkin.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 4, 2016 at 19:20


According to Rogue One:

Galen Erso, the lead engineer on the Death Star project, says in a hologram to his daughter Jyn that "We call it the Death Star... there's no better name for it." This seems to indicate that the name originated with the engineering team.


Here's what the novel Death Star (2007) says on the matter:

Incredible to think about. And if he kept racking up missions like the one just completed, there was a very good chance that he would be assigned as unit commander on board the new station.

He led his squad back to the equatorial launching bay. Looking at the awe-inspiring base, he felt a surge of pride in the Empire, and a feeling of gratitude at being a part of the Tarkin Doctrine's glorious mission. There was no official appellation or designation, other than battle station, but there was a name for it that everybody he knew, officers and enlisted alike, used.

They called it the Death Star.

(end of Chapter 1, emphasis mine)

So at the very least, in Legends, it seems like it was an unofficial nickname in the absence of anything official other than "battle station". Note that it still doesn't say where the nickname came from; it could have just as likely been from among the Imperial troops as from Palpatine's original plans for the station, but we do know that it didn't come from the Rebellion since the book starts before the Rebels knew about it.


It had a few, more official sounding, names:

  • Death Star I
  • First Death Star
  • DS-1 platform
  • Ultimate Weapon
  • Sentinel Base

The Death Star, also known as the Death Star I, First Death Star, DS-1 platform and previously known as the Ultimate Weapon and Sentinel Base, was a moon-sized deep space mobile battle station constructed by the Galactic Empire after the defeat of the Separatists in the Clone Wars. It boasted a primary weapon with sufficient firepower to destroy an entire planet with a single shot.

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    Just for the record, "mobile" and "station" are antonyms. (Yeah, I know, they called it a station in the movies, but anything that moves around under it's own power is not a station. Doesn't matter how big it is. Stations are stationary.) Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 19:56
  • 6
    DS-5 and DS-9 look far less imposing compared to DS-1 and -2.
    – Nick T
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 21:00
  • 4
    @jameslarge but stations usually have thrusters for station-keeping ;)
    – Nick T
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 21:02
  • 3
    "mobile" and "station" are NOT antonyms. The roots/origins of one of the words may be, but language is more fluid then that. You can tell because sometimes when you look up a word in a dictionary, they have numbers before multiple definitions. "Mobile battle station" is entirely correct linguistically speaking. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 15:01
  • 1
    @WraithKenny yeah, it's mobile, but it's only able to perform as a battle station (ie: blow up planets) when stationary. That said, "stationary" is a somewhat nebulous term when you're in space. :-) Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 8:19

Yes; in the radio dramatization of A New Hope we hear a conversation between Leia and Captain Antilles (not Wedge Antilles who later flew the Death Star mission with Luke, but rather the Captain of the Tantive IV) where she asks him:

"Have you ever heard of an Imperial base code-named 'Death Star'?"

Which means that it was the official designation. Of course if that doesn't convince you, (and since it was Leia who said this then the point could be made that she wouldn't know the official designation) well earlier in the dramatization Leia has been told of the Death Star by her father.

She then lets it slip accidentally in front of a high ranking Imperial Official. He says and I quote:

"Death Star!? Where did you hear that, that is a classified ongoing Imperial project."

So to answer your question yes "Death Star" is an Official Designation.

  • It's worth noting that the Star Wars Radio Dramas (though excellent) are not part of the main Star Wars canon.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 23:00
  • True but they are in direct correspondents with the official cannon and can probably be relied upon Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 23:30
  • Their canon status has always been a bit dubious. They were based on the 3rd Draft of the Star Wars screenplay (whereas the film was based on the 4th Draft), nor were they written by George Lucas.
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 23:31
  • Oh I didn't know that that's interesting thanks for letting me know Commented Dec 15, 2015 at 23:37

A stormtrooper in A New Hope, when searching the Tantive IV, says to Darth Vader:

"The Death Star plans are not in the main computer."

This may indicate that the name is official or may have been a slip on that trooper's part.


In Rogue One and in the book Thrawn: Treason by Timothy Zahn, both of which are Disney Canon, have numerous references to the Death Star, but it is mostly referred to as "Project Stardust," named after Galen Erso's nickname for Jyn Erso. The Death Star was the more common name for the battle station, as it was used by everyone except for Director Krennic himself and Assistant Director Ronan.

Granted, you may be asking for Original Trilogy answers, but based on all of Disney's Canon, I would say the designated name was Stardust, which was mainly used to prevent people from realizing it was a superweapon that could provide death to the largest planet.

  • 1
    Project Stardust was the project name for the construction of the Death Star, not the name for the Death Star itself, in the same way that the Manhattan Project didn't build a Manhattan Weapon.
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:03
  • Ok, that makes sense @Valorum Though, in Thrawn Treason, Grand Admiral Savit is speaking to Krennic and states something about the Death Star, and then he says, somewhat jokingly, "oops. That was supposed to be a secret wasn't it." Also, semiimportantly, they were using the Holonet, allowing any hackers to have easy access to their conversation, which, in my mind, is the only way the Rebels would even know the name of the Death Star, as it was a super-secret project. Even Jyn Erso knew it as Stardust, unless my memory is failing me... Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:06
  • "How did the Rebels find out about the name "Death Star"? might be worthy of its own question
    – Valorum
    Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:30
  • Definitely worth looking into. Commented Feb 21, 2022 at 17:32

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