In Return on the Jedi, the Empire made a shield around just the Death Star and a small part of the moon of Endor.

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In Rogue One, the Empire made a shield around the entire planet, Scarif.

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If it can shield an entire planet, it can also surely shield a moon (plus nearby space station).

Why not make a shield around the entire moon of Endor?

One possible out-of-universe explanation is that the producers of Star Wars had not considered a planet-wide shield when they wrote Return of the Jedi. I don't want an out-of-universe explanation. Is there an in-universe explanation? Please provide answers from canon sources.

  • 3
    Would it have been so necessary? If the shield generator is protected, and the station is protected…what does the Empire care if some Ewoks get killed?
    – Adamant
    May 17, 2017 at 7:07
  • @Adamant That answer sounds plausible, and was the one I first considered when I wrote the question. If you can find a canon source for that explanation, go ahead and make an answer out of it.
    – RichS
    May 17, 2017 at 7:08
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    Wasn't the whole point of the shield on Endor to have a trap for the Rebellion and to get Luke on the Death Star to lure him to the dark side?
    – Tungdil
    May 17, 2017 at 7:20
  • 6
    Because Scarif was home to a large and very important military complex that had to be protected at any cost, and Endor wasn't? It was only the Death Star and the shield generator that were worth protecting, why waste extra resources on something that you already think is impenetrable? Plus, Sheev was deliberately trying to trap the rebels, so making your super duper space weapon seem slightly easier to destroy makes the rebels more likely to actually go through with their attack and spring the trap. May 17, 2017 at 10:25
  • 4
    +1 Good point. Or better yet, if the Empire can shield an entire planet, why not create a shield for the Death Star alone? To hell with the moon and separate shield generators.
    – Essen
    May 17, 2017 at 11:13

3 Answers 3


There is a shield around Endor.

When the Tydirum shuttle arrives to land on Endor, Han asks for the shield to be deactivated.

Here's the quotes from the Return of the Jedi script:

CONTROLLER (over radio)

We have you on our screen now. Please identify.


Shuttle Tydirium requesting deactivation of the deflector shield.

CONTROLLER (over radio)

Shuttle Tydirium, transmit the clearance code for shield passage.


Transmission commencing.

After Vader allows the shuttle to land:

CONTROLLER (filtered)

Shuttle Tydirium, deactivation of the shield will commence immediately. Follow your present course.

  • @Adamant I'm not sure the size of the shield has been specified. At least I can't find sources now. I assume the shield covers a big part of Endor at least, because the commando needs the shield to be deactivated and they seem to land pretty far from the generator.
    – Neow
    May 17, 2017 at 7:39
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    See, the shield is not around the whole moon, only the area around the shield generator (as evidenced by the picture from the film and the current canon novelizations). They needed to deactivate the shield in order to land inside it, so that they could target the generator.
    – Adamant
    May 17, 2017 at 8:42

Why bother?

Well, first of all, it does cover a portion of the moon (though probably not close to the whole thing). There’s some suggestion in (now not particularly canon) novelizations that it might encompass the whole moon, but the film image does look pretty clear.

More importantly, though, the Empire is not known for their concern for collateral damage. As long as the Death Star is shielded, and as long as their shield generator is protected (which it is; it’s covered by its own shields), why do they care what damage is sustained by the moon of Endor? The Emperor basically wants the moon to get damaged:

The shield generator could have been built in any of thousands of desolate, lifeless planetary systems. But the Emperor himself picked this spot from several suggested by Imperial engineers.

The engineers liked the idea of burning up the moon’s resources to fuel the shield.

And the Emperor liked the idea of crushing something beautiful.

Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

Presumably the shield generator over Scarif is more resource-intensive, but necessary because the whole planet must be protected. However, when it comes to some useless forest moon? Who cares.

Not to mention, the whole thing is a setup:

All the secrecy, all the comlink jamming, all the biker scout chasing—it’s all been pointless. The whole thing is pointless.

When Han Solo and his strike team reach the shield generator, they will find a large force of troops waiting for them. They’ll be captured or killed and the shield will remain in place. The rebel fleet’s attack—and the Rebellion itself—will be equally doomed.

Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

If the goal is to set a trap for our intrepid heroes, Palpatine doesn’t want to make it too hard.


The film's official novelisation states that the Endor Moon has its own planetary shield, also projected from the Shield Station.

At the center of the briefing room was a large, circular light-table, projected above which a holographic image of the unfinished Imperial Death Star hovered beside the Moon of Endor, whose scintillating protective deflector shield encompassed them both.

Return of the Jedi - Official Novelisation

  • 2
    The official novelization is no longer canon, though, and conflicts with the visual evidence and current canon books.
    – Adamant
    May 17, 2017 at 8:48
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    @adamant - As I've said in my comment above, the novelisation is only considered "Legends" where it directly conflicts with a higher source. I see no higher source that directly conflicts. The graphic isn't entirely clear where the shield ends.
    – Valorum
    May 17, 2017 at 8:53
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    The orange shield element clearly narrows and ends in a small circle on the surface of Endor, which is plain green. No orange sphere surrounding Endor like the Death Star. It seems clear to me.
    – Adamant
    May 17, 2017 at 8:55
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    @Adamant - That might not indicate the extent of the shield. It might simply indicate the point at which the shield extrudes from the surface.
    – Valorum
    May 17, 2017 at 9:54
  • 2
    I don't see the graphic as being totally reliable about Endor. It's supposed to show that DSII is protected by a shield from Endor, not that Endor is protected itself. Anyway a novelisation is canon for everything that doesn't contract the movie. In that case, there's no conflict. Sounds canon to me.
    – Neow
    May 17, 2017 at 10:00

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