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Did most people throughout the galaxy know of Luke Skywalker's role in destroying the first Death Star?

I would suspect the rebellion would keep his role a secret since they would not want the empire to target him.

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  • You might ask how many people actually knew the Death Star existed and was destroyed, too, as it might be relevant. The Star Wars universe has a lot of planets.
    – enderland
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 3:04
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    @enderland I assumed people knew of the Death Star. They heard it destroyed the planet Alderaan. Millions of workers built it over two decades, and surely some of them mentioned it to others. And then there's Tarkin who said *"Fear of this battle station will keep them in line." People would have to know about it to fear it.
    – RichS
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 3:31
  • @enderland You'll also note there's a high motivation in ROTJ to destroy the Death Star II. You don't whip an army up just for fun. They had consolidated support for making sure that thing couldn't be used.
    – Machavity
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 3:51
  • In the novels set when Leia was revealed to be the daughter of Vader the Senate made it clear that most of them heard but did not believe his alleged role in it.
    – Hack-R
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 7:45

3 Answers 3

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Basically, yes

Luke’s role in destroying the Death Star was quickly publicized, despite Alliance efforts to keep it secret:

The Rebel Alliance romanticization of the everybeing fighter pilot truly began after the Battle of Yavin. For his safety, Rebel messagesmiths avoided publicizing Luke Skywalker’s name, but the tale of a young Rebel pilot with minimal combat experience who destroyed the Empire’s ultimate weapon was too powerful to keep secret for long.

Star Wars Propaganda: A History of Persuasive Art in the Galaxy

Indeed, this was shortly after the Battle of Yavin. By the time of the New Republic, of course, the story was widely known, with everyone having heard "the big story," which was so widely known that conspiracy theorists concluded that it could not possibly have happened:

“To this day, they’ve never adequately explained what happened to the first Death Star. Yes, we all know the big story, Luke Skywalker single starfighter blah blah blah, but honestly, does that sound credible to you? The Empire had the greatest engineers in the galaxy, and the Death Star was their finest achievement. There’s no way it could’ve been vulnerable to that kind of attack. The Emperor had to have been betrayed by someone on the inside.”

Bloodline

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    That quote from Bloodline is awesome
    – Machavity
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 3:44
  • "There's no way the Empire's programmers would trust the length field in the SSL heartbeat packet rather than simply measuring what they received and have on hand..."
    – gowenfawr
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 2:53
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I imagine, as time went on, Luke's exploits would filter out. I mean, they did kinda have this big awards ceremony at the end of Episode IV. There's a LOT of people there who knew what Luke did.

Consider also that Lando thinks he gets pegged to lead the assault force in Episode VI because of "his little maneuver at the Battle of Taanab". Rumors naturally float around about impressive stuff like that. "Farm boy beats battlestation" would be quite the sensational story.

But the greatest evidence? Palpatine knew, and he connected the Skywalker name instantly back to Vader. He then tells him in Empire

Emperor: We have a new enemy, the young Rebel who destroyed the Death Star. I have no doubt this boy is the offspring of Anakin Skywalker.

Darth Vader: How is that possible?

Emperor: Search your feelings, Lord Vader. You will know it to be true. He could destroy us.

Darth Vader: He's just a boy. Obi-Wan can no longer help him.

Emperor: The Force is strong with him. The son of Skywalker must not become a Jedi.

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MOST people? I highly doubt it. Even in an advanced technological society like the Star Wars galaxy large parts of the civilisation will be rather provincial and backwards with little or no contact with the outside world/universe.

They'd not be interested in, or receive, much if any news from outside their own city or planet.

And with the Empire in control of the media, spreading news of the rebel victory would not be that easy outside of rebel controled space.

So even if the rebels succeeded in using his exploits as propaganda, it would not have reached a large part of the galactic population, at most a large part of the urban population in the star systems they control directly, and maybe parts that are on the fringes of Imperial control (where Imperial censorship and control over the media would be limited).

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  • While not discussed in canon this reasoning generally makes sense. Except that I would say the Rebels already had significant influence and rapidly became the dominant force after that battle, thus the Empire-control of the media may not be relevant. After the death of Thrawn the Empire's space was less than 10% of the New Republic's.
    – Hack-R
    Commented Dec 17, 2016 at 7:49

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