I was wondering why the Empire chose to build the second Death Star in orbit around the Forest Moon of Endor?

I guess that having locals who aren't capable of space flight is handy, but aren't there fully uninhabited planets hidden away in the Outer Rim, that would be just as defensible, and less well-known to the rest of the galaxy?

Apparently Endor is known for producing Ewok Jerky, so you'd imagine that many people would want more, take a trip, and notice the Death Star being built there.

2 Answers 2


Simply put, the Endor system was simultaneously incredibly remote (dramatically lowering the chances of anyone stumbling onto the project by accident) and highly accessible if you knew the secret navigational codes that were required to access the "Sanctuary Pipeline", a lengthy hyperspace route that led directly from Sullust to Endor.

Red lines appeared on the spiral arms—the great trade routes that connected the galaxy’s star systems. Ackbar gestured, and a red dot sprang into existence in a location Leia recognized: Sullust, the homeworld of Nien Nunb. Then another dot appeared, on the edge of the galaxy. A dotted blue line stretched between them.

“The Empire has used S-thread boosters to create and maintain a secret hyperspace route running from Sullust all the way to the galactic edge,” Ackbar said. “It’s called the Sanctuary Pipeline and is one of the Empire’s most important military secrets. Fortunately, our agents discovered the navigational data that will allow us to use it, too.”

Star Wars: Moving Target

As to why Endor was chosen (over, say, another more accessible but still unexplored planet), that was down to the Emperor himself.

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.

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

  • 2
    Right, Endor should be accessible even if you don't know about the Sanctuary Pipeline since that's how people got to Endor before the Empire took over. And if that's the case then anyone -- rebels, Ewok hunters, etc. -- would know how to get to Endor. Yes, the Empire can kill anyone who enters the system but people are going to start to notice that no one ever comes back after traveling to the Endor system. That just brings us back to the original question: why didn't the Empire use a remote system that also wouldn't attract hunters of the native life?
    – Null
    Oct 9, 2018 at 16:26
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    For the record, I've upvoted this for the second quote (about the Emperor liking the idea of crushing something beautiful). I think the part about the Sanctuary Pipeline doesn't really explain it.
    – Null
    Oct 9, 2018 at 16:27
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    @Null - you have to remember that this is a case of tail-wag-dog. Ewok Jerky was an easter egg joke in one of the clone wars episodes that the writers of the AA factbook decided to canonise.
    – Valorum
    Oct 9, 2018 at 16:30
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    Oh, yes, I'm sadly all too aware that The Clone Wars cartoons and Disney have been wreaking havoc on the Star Wars canon.
    – Null
    Oct 9, 2018 at 16:34
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    (continued) And if you subscribe, as I do, to the idea that building a Death Star at all (let alone a second one!) indicates that the Emperor has the resources and clout to do whatever he wants, the question becomes "Why not Endor?". Accessibility is necessary to get materials and staff to the construction site, and the Ewoks offer a pretty paltry resistance on their own. The Empire was strong, and its fall was the result of narrow miracles much moreso than it being unable to resist threats.
    – Upper_Case
    Oct 9, 2018 at 18:01

In addition to Valourm's answer, The Emperor also knew about the Rebel fleet massing near Sullust. Remember that the entire thing was a trap, and he was creating the best, most irresistible bait for it he that he could. Including the possibility of killing both him AND Vader, in a single stroke. The shuttle and the codes being stolen were all part of his scheme to crush the Rebellion in one, swift stroke.

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    Yeah, but part of his plan involved waiting until the Death Star's superlaser was operational and making the rebels think it wasn't operational. It took years to get the superlaser operational, and the Empire would have needed to keep secret the location (and existence) of the Death Star until that time.
    – Null
    Oct 9, 2018 at 18:38
  • Yeah. Makes more sense to say "it was repurposed as a trap", than to say "it was built as a trap". Actually it must have started after starting the first death star, latest after it exploded + some months. But it must have been in the making a LONG time.
    – TomTom
    Oct 10, 2018 at 6:39
  • Don't forget the upshot of killing Bothans
    – Machavity
    Oct 10, 2018 at 13:12
  • Who's Valourm...?
    – Valorum
    Oct 11, 2018 at 12:39

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