In Attack of the Clones

Siths had the Death Star already designed.


) So why in Rogue One

is the Death Star being designed again by a squad of engineers?


The question differs from Was Sidious already making the Death Star by the end of Episode III? since it is about plans

(which were in count Dooku posession as I remember),

not about construction.

  • Possible duplicate of Was Sidious already making the Death Star by the end of Episode III?
    – Adamant
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 7:25
  • @Adamant: I think these questions are asking two distinct things. One is asking whether the Death Star started construction before the clone wars ended. This question is asking why it seems that the Death Star needed to be apparantely redesigned despite the plans being in place and construction beginning before the end of the Clone Wars.
    – DBPriGuy
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 7:33
  • 2
    Galen Erzo (and his engineers) were concerned with the weapon, not the station itself. So this is basically like having a heavy lift bomber blueprint ready to go, but someone still has to make the nuclear bomb it carries, with some modifications to the bomber to accommodate it.
    – Jason K
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:26

3 Answers 3


As an engineer I can tell you that there is usually some differences between the design and the actual construction. Some things placed in the design turn out to be impossible or impractical to build. In some of these cases it is easier to change the design so that it better matches the real world.

In the case of the Death Star - it is an immensely big and complicated project. I is unlikely that all the possible problems were considered during the design.

So most likely the Death Star is not being redesigned in Rogue One. It is being constructed. Sometimes it is just that changing the design is part of the construction process.

  • 1
    Death Start?
    – Helmar
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 8:46
  • 2
    That might also explain, why DS has been designed with an evident construction flaw (a straight vent from surface to the reactor) - it was just a monkey patch to made it work. ;-)
    – abukaj
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:42
  • 1
    @Helmar thanks - fixed
    – vap78
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:42
  • 1
    @abukaj if you watch Rogue One - there is also another explanation for this :) Don't want to spoil it further.
    – vap78
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:48
  • 1
    @vap78 I know what you mean, but I am thinking about its rationalisation. I doubt no engineer noticed the flaw. Also, the flaw hads been known to people, which informed Tarkin about the threat in The New Hope.
    – abukaj
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:57

Galen Erso was not a regular engineer... he was a Weapons Researcher and expert in using crystals to enhance energy production. He was involved in "Project Celestial Power," where he thought he was going to be working on a vast powerplant for peaceful purposes. He got sucked in on the research until he started to get concerned with the fact that Krennic couldn't give him any examples of peaceful applications of his technology.

Catalyst explains that he escaped the Empire when it became clear his research was being weaponized; he left his notes behind confident that their complexity would cause delays and trouble as other members of the project tried to finish his work. Which they eventually figured out anyway.

Krennic wanted Galen not because he was necessary for the project's completion, but because he would be able to accomplish the project FASTER. After decades of delays in production, he needed to finish the work quickly, and Galen's knowledge of kyber crystals allowed him to accomplish the work of fusing crystals much faster than anyone else in the Tarkin Initiative could do so.

As stated in another answer, he was also useful for resolving the minor discrepancies that came up during actual building of the actual weapon and station; his deep, instinctual knowledge of his own technology would allow him to answer questions and resolve problems much, much faster than anyone else could have.

The novelization tells us that Galen was involved in resolving a problem with the hypermatter reactor; it was causing too much heat, and they had problems resolving that. They came to Galen, who realized that was the key to blowing up the station, so he designed the thermal exhaust port to back up and blow the core; he was one of the few beings around with enough intuitive understanding of the technology to realize the flaw without in-depth research. He provided Krennic multiple solutions to the problem, but all the other options would take significant resources and time. Knowing he was dragged in to speed things up, he manipulated Krennic into selecting the flawed design, and distracted everyone from looking too closely at it by providing multiple solutions they had to look at.

In the end, Galen was brought in because his experience with hypermatter reactors and kyber crystals would allow him to speed up development if only because he doesn't have to look anything up; it's all in his head. And Krennic was under extreme time pressure. Galen used that distraction to build in the flaw, thereby allowing Luke to save the galaxy with a well timed shot.


It could be that those plans were incomplete and lacked important components. Imho Galen was likely part of the team that designed those original plans and pulled out when he saw the implications. In Rogue One he is forcibly returned to help finish the designs, mainly the weapon. The Death Star's primary weapon uses Kyber Crystals to function, a technology that was quite new at that time (Only the Jedi/Sith used Kyber crystals before and mainly for lightsabers). So I don't think they were redesigning it, merely finishing it.

  • The Siths had lightsabers too, so they knew about Kyber crystals too, I guess.
    – abukaj
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 8:50
  • Yes they did. People like Galen Erso figured out how to weaponize it and incorporated that into the Death Star. So essentially the Death Star is a Force weapon, since Kyber crystals are Force crystals.
    – Sphics
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 8:54
  • There is another issue with the explanation I can see: the construction of Death Star was already in progress ca 20 years (age of Luke Skywalker) before New Hope. Rogue one starts 15 years before New Hope. I doubt the construction was started before the plans were finished - especially the primary weapon part.
    – abukaj
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:38
  • Remember that the first Death Star was constructed in secret, so the empire didn't fully commit its resources to building it, that's probably why it took so long. This was before the Imperial senate was dissolved by the emperor, so they still had a say in where to put their resources, if they knew about the Death Star at all. The first Death Star probably took a very long time to build. Go check out it's size and scale on the wiki
    – Sphics
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:50
  • It was large enough that they could build most of it without touching the weapon. The second Death Star's main weapon was operational before the whole station was complete. So for the first one they could've just started at the other side, finishing the station before the weapon.
    – Sphics
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 9:53

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