In the Death Star's detention level trash compactor, there is a dianoga.

It is clearly quite large, suggesting that it has been there for some time. This raises the question of how it has managed to avoid being crushed every time the trash is compacted.

How does the dianoga avoid being crushed?

  • I am almost positive this is a dupe
    – RedCaio
    Jan 24, 2016 at 8:20
  • @RedCaio - I thought so too, but I couldn't find anything.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jan 24, 2016 at 8:24
  • 3
    No-one suspected the lowly Dianoga was actually the sinister Darth Garbulon, ruler of the Interstellar Empire with washed-up actor Sheev Palpatine as his figurehead.
    – Valorum
    Jan 24, 2016 at 11:22
  • 1
    No evidence, so not an answer, but if a dianoga is like an octopus, there's little damage to be expected from a trash compacter.
    – SQB
    Jan 24, 2016 at 14:29
  • 1
    Funny. the dianoga lets go of Luke, disappears, and there there's a loud groan and huge clang of metal on metal so I always assumed that it "knows" somehow when the compaction would begin or it has its own little door that opens up prior to compaction and it has an underwater exit - which I always thought would be back to its home or another compactor. We know there are multiple compactors ("shut them all down!"). It made so much sense to me even from a young age that I never would have questioned it until reading this, and especially the answers. Feb 3, 2016 at 6:09

3 Answers 3


Per the film's commentary track with George Lucas, the Dianoga has managed to locate a small space where it can hide while the mashing is going on.

And you begin to say, "how am I gonna get Luke free from this monster?" And you have lots of choices, and obviously the easy one is having Han shoot it, having it let go and go away but that's not too much fun. So when you get in there, you know where things are going... when the walls start to close the Dianoga runs away and hides, in a little space that protects him from the walls. So things start to tell their own story after a while. You got the thing, the thing he lives in there, the thing closes all the time he must have figured out a way not to get squashed but it would mean that he would let go of Luke and release him, and then the next problem would be introduced, the doors closing.

  • Nice find +1. Did you know that from memory, or did you have to search for it?
    – RedCaio
    Jan 28, 2016 at 23:04
  • @RedCaio - I recalled he'd said something about it. I've done the transcription myself though.
    – Valorum
    Jan 28, 2016 at 23:09
  • but is this word of god canon now?
    – phantom42
    Jan 29, 2016 at 12:01
  • @phantom42 - Commentaries are legends canon
    – Valorum
    Jan 29, 2016 at 13:41

When the trash compactor starts the dianoga releases Luke. It obviously knows what is coming and it removes itself from the trash compactor.

Because the water level doesn't seem to rise there must be some kind of sluice mechanism in the compactor to deal with this, which would give an ideal escape route for a squid-like creature to hide whilst the compactor works.

  • 4
    The first paragraph had me thinking "not an answer", then the second one made me think "good deductive work". +1.
    – Wad Cheber
    Jan 24, 2016 at 9:11

There is no canon answer on exactly how the dianoga avoids getting squished

This quote from Wookieepedia seems to offer a possible explanation:

The dianoga itself had managed to burrow into the wall, and so was relatively safe inside the compactor; that is, until the Death Star was destroyed.

So it is possible the dianoga was safe in a hole it had burrowed in the wall. However, as @phantom42 pointed out, that passage isn't cited.

The legends section of the Dianoga page shows that the creature has sharp teeth and strong tentacles, which could have been used to burrow into the wall. So even though the quote above is uncited, it seems as good a speculation as any as to how the creature survives each time the walls close. Burrowing into the wall could also possibly contribute to the water level not rising when the walls start closing, as @Cearon O'Flynn mentioned in his answer.

The bottom line is there is no canon answer; all we have is this Wookieepedia quote I mentioned above and our own speculation.

  • 3
    But this isn't 100% clear or explicit in the movie, screenplay, or novelization, and Wookieepedia doesn't cite a source.
    – phantom42
    Jan 24, 2016 at 14:58
  • @phantom42 thanks, see my edit. Since there is no canon answer, all we have is the Wookiepeedia quote I mentioned, and our own speculation. :)
    – RedCaio
    Jan 28, 2016 at 22:45
  • i havent voted on this at all
    – phantom42
    Jan 29, 2016 at 1:23
  • Good answer - based on the description of the dianoga (in the novelization, Han calls it a "garbage squid"), we might assume that it would be safe regardless of the compaction. Octopi can fit through spaces the size of one of their eyes. youtube.com/watch?v=N6L82iJ_NTI
    – Wad Cheber
    Feb 3, 2016 at 6:11
  • youtube.com/watch?v=949eYdEz3Es
    – Wad Cheber
    Feb 3, 2016 at 6:12

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