Even if Rogue 1 didn't suggest the following:

That the Empire knew the plans were leaked and that the designer of the Death Star put in a vulnerability

It would be pretty evident to the survivors of Death Star 1 that the design was clearly flawed. So when building Death Star 2, did they reuse the same plans, perhaps not realizing the extent of the knowledge in the stolen plans in the first place but just assuming that the only threat was that the rebels had the plans and not necessarily confirmation that there was a flaw in design?

Or is there some evidence they never really figured out how the rebels managed to destroy Death Star 1, so they just shrugged it off, grabbed the old plans and started over... except somehow making it worse the second time around? Now instead of a tiny shaft through which a single shot can travel and completely obliterate a gigantic star base of unimaginable worth, they decide to add a shaft so large several ships can fly through with little discomfort. Or perhaps was that shaft explained somewhere? Maybe a utility while construction is under way and not such an evident, negligence riddled, glaring bullseye, taunting anyone with a medium/small vessel having at least one functional blaster of seemingly any power?

Or is it just clearly stated somewhere they redesigned it and yes, they really thought nobody would fly down that hole and shoot 2 blasts that blow everything up?

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    The flaw with the exposed thermal exhaust port was fixed in the second Death Star. The shaft in the second Death Star that was "so large several ships can fly through" was incomplete. Once the second Death Star was completed it would not have been vulnerable to starfighters.
    – Null
    Apr 18, 2017 at 4:25
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    @Null - makes sense but even Red Lobster has a gate they can close at night while under construction. You'd think they would have several in the shaft to prevent such an intrusion.
    – Kai Qing
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:49
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    @KaiQing That was what the shield projected from Endor's moon was for.
    – JAB
    Apr 18, 2017 at 16:51
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    @Null - well yeah but even Red Lobster has protected areas within the construction zone to store tools, keep things safe, hide their one-hit-destroys-all generator. A simple mesh of pipes would have sufficed. Maybe they didn't protect it cause they figured any intruders would just fly into the giant open holes in the unfinished side if they didnt see the medium sized shaft on the side
    – Kai Qing
    Apr 18, 2017 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


It's highly unlikely to be the same design.

From the Return of the Jedi novelisation (page 3, prologue):

The Death Star was the Empire's armoured battle station, nearly twice as big as its predecessor, which Rebel forces had destroyed so many years before — nearly twice as big, but more than twice as powerful. Yet it was only half complete.

If this is the case, then it is likely an entirely new specification.

With regard to the shaft you mention, great swathes of the superstructure weren't constructed yet. I would assume those beams they flew in between would hold various levels, walls and equipment when complete. So when the Emperor declared just before they started firing on the Rebel fleet that they would "unleash the power of this armed and fully operational battle station", he could have meant anything from "everything's working, just needs a lick of paint" to "Well, the weapons are fully operational but we'll be having cold showers for a while."

Don't forget the Death Star was protected by the force shield from the Endor Moon. They'd expected to catch the fleet on the outside of the Death Star's shield as an ambush to be blasted by the might of the Imperial fleet while the Death Star remained safely inside. The Empire couldn't conceive of the idea that the strike team might actually be successful in destroying the shield generator.

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    Empire's contigency planning: 0 -> "Either every single detail goes perfectly and we smash the rebels or... I don't know, we run around in circles until they destroy us. But that definitely won't happen". The Force is basically a statiscal anomaly generator. The Empire would be just fine if they just did a bit (or rather, a lot) of contingency planning against that 1 in a million chance that will definitely happen.
    – xDaizu
    Apr 18, 2017 at 8:44
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    @xDaizu Defenseless? It could obliterate the entire Rebel fleet at any time, and was protected by a significant chunk of the Imperial Navy to boot. It was perfectly shielded as long as the generator worked (just like a modern fleet carrier is "safe" as long as its screen is intact). The generator was in a huge bunker, guarded by the whole of Vader's Fist. It was protected by a planetary shield strong enough to deflect any bombardment the Rebels could bring. There were layers upon layers of defenses. The Emperor cared about Luke, not the station ("insignificant next to the Force").
    – Luaan
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:09
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    @xDaizu If anything, the whole series clearly shows that Vader's off-hand comment in A New Hope is entirely correct - the Force is far more powerful than the Death Star, and both Death Stars were destroyed through the Force. The Rebels wouldn't have stood any chance otherwise, and you can't plan contingencies around a force like that. It will always find a way, which is why the Emperor wanted Luke on his side.
    – Luaan
    Apr 18, 2017 at 9:11
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    @Luaan It was in quite a small bunker, with no perimeter walls, fences or other defences, guarded by a small number of lightly-equipped scouts with no monitoring equipment and particularly low alertness. There were few enough troops that a minor skirmish with stone-club-equipped Ewoks wiped them out. As show in A New Hope, one Star Destroyer had a couple of orders of magnitude more troops spare for a simple ceremonial guard than were present on the whole of Endor. So yes, pretty much defenceless.
    – Graham
    Apr 18, 2017 at 11:55
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    @Graham And do not underestimate that the whole thing was supposed to be a trap. It could have been a better trap (say, the backdoor leading to a fake power generator, rather than the real thing), but it actually worked - they managed to force engagement with basically the entire Rebellion, and they captured the ground team right away. At basically every point since the engagement started, they were this close to complete victory, up till the final bit where all the Imperials started acting like total morons (in some EU explained due to the Emperor losing influence over them).
    – Luaan
    Apr 18, 2017 at 12:14

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