I Watched the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and I realized that in the attack on Scarif, when the AT-ATs came, one of the AT-ATs has a large, rectangular hole on its side. That is the only AT-AT in Rogue One that has a large hole in it. The other one's have orange covers.

Why is there a large hole?

enter image description here

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    Those are AT-ACTs, not AT-ATs. They have a large cargo hold. One of them has its cargo doors open whereas the other does not. I'm not sure why one of them has the doors open and the other doesn't, though.
    – Null
    Jan 30, 2017 at 17:33
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    @DarthTheory The Empire had to fight with what they had. The Empire wasn't expecting an attack on Scarif.
    – Null
    Jan 30, 2017 at 17:40
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    @DarthTheory you don't understand - the AT-ACT is in fact an army tank. It's a bigger version of the normal tank, and has a bonus feature - it can transport things as well. The cost of that feature was that it has slightly less armor and fire power, but that doesn't make it any less of a tank - it's just a different tank.
    – Aify
    Jan 30, 2017 at 18:23
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    @DVK-on-Ahch-To No, because my car has sensors to warn me when I leave the car door open. Maybe Galen Erso designed the AT-ACT and "forgot" to add a sensor for the cargo door.
    – Null
    Jan 30, 2017 at 22:18
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    @Null - The Empire forgot to put shields on Tie Fighters. Whatsoever would possess them to bother wasting credits on superfluous things like sensors for doors? Jan 30, 2017 at 22:25

4 Answers 4


Because it was not an AT-AT but an AT-ACT.

AT-ACT stands for All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport.

The hole is where the cargo would go, but the armored part of the description explains why it still has armaments.

A larger version of the standard combat AT-AT, the AT-ACT walker features a dedicated cargo bed for the transportation of heavy building materials or combat munitions. It was deployed at major Imperial construction projects, such as shipyards and sprawling research installations.

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    @DarthTheory because it's still a combat vehicle. It was deployed there because the Empire was using them on Scarif, and it wasn't considered that it'd ever be a real combat zone, hence the absence of normal AT-AT.
    – Petersaber
    Jan 30, 2017 at 17:44
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    Did this vehicle exist before this scene was shot? Or did someone go "Guys, Jerry screwed up the render on the AT-AT." "That's okay, we'll just call it a different model."
    – corsiKa
    Jan 30, 2017 at 20:22
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    @Skooba - The inside of an AT-AT is largely devoted to troop transport (i.e. All Terrain Armored Transport), it's not full of motors, hoses and wires. The main motors are located on the bottom of the main body. The cargo variant apparently just replaces the troop space with cargo space.
    – Johnny
    Jan 31, 2017 at 0:22
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    @Johnny That's fine; but where is the door?
    – Taemyr
    Jan 31, 2017 at 7:28
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    @Taemyr Look at the other AT - you can see the cargo container. It seems that there's no doors for the cargo compartment - it's either designed for carrying standardized containers, or it has doors that are removable and they didn't care to put them on in an emergency. Don't forget that the gaping hole doesn't actually expose anything - the backside in both AT-AT and AT-ACT is empty, no machinery, no ammunition. The engine is below the main body, the electronics and weapons in the head. It's really more like a pickup truck :)
    – Luaan
    Jan 31, 2017 at 15:00

It's not an AT-AT (All Terrain Armored Transport), it's an AT-ACT (All Terrain Armored Cargo Transport). Per StarWars.com (emphasis mine):

A larger version of the standard combat AT-AT, the AT-ACT walker features a dedicated cargo bed for the transportation of heavy building materials or combat munitions. It was deployed at major Imperial construction projects, such as shipyards and sprawling research installations.

The hull of AT-ACT is hollow, allowing it to transport materials, munitions, or stormtroopers in large amounts.

There is a picture that I found, fram an early draft of Rogue One: visual Dicitonary (hat tip to @Valorum):

enter image description here

Cropped by me, original here

And there's another one (one more hat tip to @Valorum):

enter image description here

AT-ACT has laser cannons and armour as well, making it only slightly inferior to AT-AT in terms of sturdiness (if you don't count longer legs) and firepower.

I'd say it's a pretty good balance between a cargo hauler and a tank.

  • Look at my Comment to the first Anwser of my question. Jan 30, 2017 at 17:38
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    @DarthTheory really very simple, at least some weapons are a good idea on a military transport headed into possible combat situations. If you can give it nearly the combat power of a full scale AT-AT and still get heavy cargo transport, why not?
    – Leliel
    Jan 30, 2017 at 20:39
  • @Leliel I'd guess that it's pretty much exactly the same as AT-AT, except that AT-ATs are specialised for troop transport, while AT-ACTs are more versatile. But still, the backside is only used for the cargo - it doesn't have any machinery, weaponry, ammunition or anything. The primary purpose is still to be a non-repulsorlift artillery (how else do you shoot over the horizon with line-of-sight weaponry?) combined with armoured transport. The non-repulsorlift requirement is IMO the main reason for the versatility - they have many different repulsorlift vehicles for different roles.
    – Luaan
    Jan 31, 2017 at 15:04
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    Your image is from an early draft of the Rogue One: Visual Dictionary. You might want to add this image into your answer; conceptartworld.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/…
    – Valorum
    Feb 10, 2017 at 1:58
  • @Valorum - thanks a lot! Feb 10, 2017 at 5:37

When I saw the 'empty' AT-ACT in Rogue One, I was reminded of the Sikorsky CH-54 Helicopter, which looks similarly incomplete when not carrying cargo (original picture from here). Photo of two unladen Sikorsky CH-54 helicopters in flight

I wonder if this and similar vehicles provided the inspiration for the one in the movie.

As to why that one AT-ACT was unladen, presumably that just happened to be its current configuration when it was hurriedly diverted to defend against the rebel attack. Aesthetically, the film makers would have wanted to show off their isn't-this-cool design idea while at the same time including one that is carrying cargo, for familiarity and to demonstrate how the design works.


Much like the LAAT (Republic Gunship), there were variants of it for other purposes. You can find LAAT's carrying tanks in their hold, as well as LAAT's carrying infantry into combat. They all had the same base design, but the main carrying area switches out based on need. As the designer of this was a subsidiary of Kuat Shipyards (Who made the AT-AT), it's a safe bet to assume members of the design team moved to Kuat Shipyards after the form of the empire.

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