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At the end on Rogue One

The Death Star plans are in the satellite dish being transmitted when it is destroyed. I'm assuming the drive was also destroyed.

The fate of the Death Star is revealed at the end of episode IV and later there is a second in the works.

Where did the plans for the second one come from? If the plans were also stored elsewhere, you'd think the Rogue One team would have gone there. Did they have to start from scratch for the second one?

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Probably in lots of little pieces

Tarkin suggested that the loss of the plans would not be a great setback:

Tarkin spoke with detached consideration, as much to himself as Romodi. “The original plans for this station are kept at the Citadel, are they not?”

“They are.”

Along with other technical schematics for projects covered by the Tarkin Initiative. It would be a special pity, Tarkin thought, to see War-Mantle and Stellarsphere set back. But hardly a major blow to the galactic timetable, particularly with the Death Star finally online.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

He also refers to the “original plans” being kept on Scarif, suggesting that there are modified or partial versions elsewhere. This only makes sense, of course: some portion of the plans would be necessary for the actual construction of the Death Star, which wasn’t happening on Scarif. Indeed, Galen Erso noted that the engineering archive on Scarif was complete:

“I know there’s at least one complete engineering archive in the data vault at the Citadel Tower on Scarif. Use what I’ve told you, run the analysis, and you’ll be able to plan your attack. Any pressurized explosion to the reactor module will set off a chain reaction that will—”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

It’s possible that there was another complete archive that Galen did not know about, but this seems improbable. That the full plans were not available to most people seems likely: the Emperor purposely kept construction of his superweapon fragmented.

All the same, he had no compelling reason to solve the enigma of the battle station’s beginnings. What bothered him was that, compliant with a strategy that no base commander—Moff, admiral, or general—should have unrestricted access to information regarding shipments, scheduling, or construction progress, no single person was in charge of the project, unless of course the Emperor was considered to be that person.

Tarkin

But there would have been numerous partial plans at the various Imperial research facilities (such as the one Galen worked at). In time, the project could be reconstructed from those, and from the expertise of the people who had worked on it (as could, apparently, War-Mantle and Stellarsphere).1

1: That these projects would have been set back suggests that, for them at least, there were not other complete schematics readily lying around.

  • Ninjaed you by 26 seconds :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 23 '16 at 18:29
  • That quote from "Tarkin" is either quite badly written prose (completely unclear) or, to be charitable, I can presume it's just bad when taken out of context. "Considered to be that person"? Passive voice and weasel words; doesn't appear to actually mean anything. "What bothered him was..." what, exactly? I suppose it's "that...no single person was in charge of the project," but the structure of that sentence is just bizarre. – Wildcard Dec 24 '16 at 0:45
  • My impression, watching the movie, was that the main problem from the Imperial point of view was that they didn't want the Rebels to have detailed knowledge of the Death Star, including any hidden weaknesses waiting to be exploited. I never got the feeling that Tarkin was thinking: "Gosh, if they steal that one data-storage device, it would take forever for us to build additional Death Stars -- because there are no backup files anywhere in the Galaxy!" ;) – Lorendiac Dec 24 '16 at 4:16
  • @Wildcard - That sentence certainly does mean something: it means that the Emperor is in charge of the project, but in his capacity as head of state (i.e. being in charge of everything). – Adamant Dec 24 '16 at 9:45
  • @Lorendiac - Indeed, that is why Tarkin destroyed the planet. His reluctance to do so was because of the possibility of destroying valuable plans. While partial schematics surely existed elsewhere, it would seem that the whole project (and other projects) was kept only on heavily-protected Scarif, to keep anyone from knowing too much (or being able to easily run off with the plans). For example, Galen probably had the plans for kyber crystal stuff, but not the arrangement of exhaust ports. – Adamant Dec 24 '16 at 9:47
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Rogue one didn't go elsewhere because the Citadel on Scarif was the only location of the plans they knew of, because Galen's message told them that.

However, it's likely there were other plans available.

“I know there’s at least one complete engineering archive in the data vault at the Citadel Tower on Scarif. Use what I’ve told you, run the analysis, and you’ll be able to plan your attack. Any pressurized explosion to the reactor module will set off a chain reaction that will -”
(Official novelization, Chapter 6)

  • 1
    By the way, w.r.t to that quote, the “at least” seems to be referring to the number of engineering archives on Scarif, not elsewhere. – Adamant Dec 23 '16 at 18:40

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