In the end of The Revenge Of The Sith, Darth Vader and Palpatine are watching the construction of the first Death Star. This scene probably takes place less than a year after the previous scenes (according to the answers to this question), but it would still be 18-20 years before it is fully operational in A New Hope. However, the second Death Star only takes about 5 years to build (assuming that they weren't expecting Death Star I to be destroyed)(the time between episodes IV and VI).

The first one was much smaller (2-3 times), but still took 5 times as much time to finish. Why?

Ok, the first one was a first, and had glitches, but surely it wouldn't take 5 times longer to build the first version then to improve the design massively, and increase the size!

Note: As I consider Disney to have seriously messed up canon, I would prefer Legends answers if the films (I-VI) do not supply one.

  • They spent a long time building and testing the weapon for the first Death Star. Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/a/149478/68872
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 11:30
  • 2
    Well, it was a lot easier when they expanded the single womp-rat sized exhaust port into a coincidentally X-Wing sized exhaust port. In all seriousness, the first Death Star was a sort-of prototype. They would have already had the industry from building the first ready to gear up, as opposed to building that industry from scratch. With how effective the first was as well as how it worked as a propaganda tool, they likely threw way more money at iteration two.
    – Broklynite
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 12:16
  • 1
    Also you have to include all of the research and testing that went into the first one that wasn't needed as much in the second one
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jan 31, 2017 at 13:00

1 Answer 1


The first one took so much longer because even though they had designed the superstructure, they had not designed the weapon. The laser portion of the Deathstar took almost 19 years to design and build:

There's one specific part that took years to perfect. It's not like it took 19 years to build the whole thing.

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