A few years ago I saw a video clip on the Internet from the movie Clerks. Danté and Randall argue over whether Lando and Wedge murdered all the Death Star contractors in Star Wars: Episode VI—Return of the Jedi. The argument ends when a third person, who was a contractor, says any DS2 contractors knew the risks working in a potential war zone.

A few months ago, I saw the end of Episode 4, where Luke destroyed the first Death Star. I suddenly realized that the facility may have had other prisoners besides Leia. The guards weren't totally shocked that Chewbacca is a new prisoner, after all.

So, Luke murdered other Death Star prisoners (whether in the same cell as Leia or in other ones), right? Unless there's some proof that Leia was the only one. (But again, the guards weren't surprised about a new prisoner.)

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    there were a lot of prison cells, so potentially the answer is a yes. then again, it was just getting operational and out of testing phase and an ultra big secret. so bringing prisoners there... not so good unless the reason is extreme like in Leias case.
    – Cherubel
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 7:32
  • FYI, the movie with the Death Star discussion was Clerks (Kevin Smith, 1994). Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 8:31
  • Related: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/108066/… There was around two millions people on the Death Star when it exploded. But it doesn't mention how many of them were prisoners.
    – Neow
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 8:53
  • starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Death_Star_Uprising - From Legends
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 22, 2017 at 8:54
  • The first paragraph may not seem related to the actual query that follows, but both relate to scenarios where the Rebellion destroyed an Imperial base that had (semi-)innocent people in it. At least the contractors in Episode 6 (supposedly) had a choice, the prisoners in Episode 4 didn't have that. It's worse considering the Empire (at least in Star Wars Rebels (spoiler)) isn't above having political prisoners as well as regular criminals.
    – CTMacUser
    Commented Mar 23, 2017 at 5:59

1 Answer 1


If there were any other prisoners on the Death Star, then yes, Luke killed them. Probably an acceptable price for saving Yavin IV and the rebellion, but he still killed innocent people.

We don't know for sure if there were any. The Death Star was a newly operational secret project. It certainly didn't seem to be taking on prisoners during the events of Rogue One. So maybe Leia was the only captive on board. Then again, it's possible they took other prisoners, such as the crews of other starships approaching Alderaan when it was destroyed.

The behaviour of the officer in charge of the detention area is not definitive either way. When Luke, Han and Chewie arrive, and Luke announces it is a prisoner transfer, he is suspicious and says, "I wasn't notified, I'll have to clear it."

This may indicate he believes there are no other prisoners on board. Then again, he may just be suspicious at the unscheduled appearance of a Wookiee prisoner in his detention block. Unless there is any other canon evidence, we can't really say any more.

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    The Death Star prisons always struck me as more of a military prison than a municipal maximum-security penitentiary, so the overwhelming majority of prisoners there would be Imperial soldiers who had been court-martialed. Leah was an obvious exception, and the argument could be made that she was just there as a "guest observer" to witness the destruction of Alderaan. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 13:58
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    If this quote demonstrates anything, to me it indicates that there are other prisoners on board. If there were zero other prisoners on board then it seems like the officer would say something expressing even more surprise. One assumes that the officer in charge of the detention area has at least enough knowledge to know if any prisoners at all is a surprising thing. Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 17:28

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