Related to How many planets were there in the Empire at the time of A New Hope?

OK, so if there were literally millions of worlds in the Empire, how many total worlds did the Rebel Alliance control? Is there a canon estimate? (any canon).

Wookieepedia lists 30 of them, but that's just named ones.

Doesn't seem very feasible that the Empire would even pay attention to 30 measly worlds and build a frigging Death Star on their behalf ... it's like a country the size of China building a nuke merely to contain a rebellion by 5 small villages.

  • 1
    Your final assumption isn't really accurate. Remember that the Empire as the Republic only JUST got an army. ~20 years is not a long enough time, even with the resources of a galactic empire, to build up a large enough army to fight any kind of highly organized rebellion. Especially if all the troops need to be grown. Plus, they started on the Death Star before the Rebellion. Additionally, control of a whole planet isn't the only deciding factor here. Don't confuse presence with control. A small faction would exist on nearly all planets.
    – DampeS8N
    Jan 23, 2012 at 14:47
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    Worth noting that the Wookiepedia article is full of it - the Alliance didn't control Alderaan or Kashyyyk. Taris was destroyed in the Old Republic era, and the resettled planet was loyal to Zsinj until 7 ABY. There's numerous other problems too, including a Depot and Hoth (a worthless, unsettled iceball) being included on the list.
    – Jeff
    Jan 23, 2012 at 15:57

1 Answer 1


The problem is, as DampeS8N alluded to in the comments, the Rebellion didn't control planets.

The Rebellion was organized into cells, some of which existed on most Core worlds, and which were openly accepted in many Outer Rim worlds - some worlds on the Outer Rim were so welcoming of the Alliance that they could be considered part of the Rebellion. Even these worlds, however, were still 'controlled' by their local governments.

Now to answer your real question, which seems to be "Why did the Rebellion warrant the construction of the Death Star?"

The Death Star was never designed as a weapon against the Rebels - though the Empire presented it that way - it was designed as a terrorist weapon to keep unruly planets in line. While a fleet of Star Destroyers could 'glass' a planet that wasn't as psychologically intimidating as a single, large ship that could reduce a planet to rubble in seconds.

BDZ - complete destruction of a planetary surface - took hours to accomplish and required a fleet of Star Destroyers. A defensive fleet around a planet, no matter how small it might be, would have a chance of destroying one or more Star Destroyers.

Not so with the Death Star - it was envisioned as being able to withstand any standard defensive fleet, could be escorted by a fleet of Star Destroyers if it was needed (such as an assault against a massively defended world), and could destroy a planet within seconds of reaching firing range.

If the Death Star were to be traveling the galaxy unrestrained the Empire could have clamped down hard, and anyone who rebelled would be swiftly crushed by their frightened neighbors, fearful that their rebellion would invite the complete destruction of their planet.

Tarkin said it himself, "Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station."

Edit: Made my answer to the asked question clearer, and clarified why I was discussing the Death Star

  • To be honest, Death Star was more of a symptom that I was discussing than the root issue. The latter was "why didn't Empire frigging ignore the rebels (more or less)" instead of throwing a bunch of heavy gunnery at them? What possible harm could 30-planet rebellion be to such a vast Empire? Jan 23, 2012 at 17:04
  • In other words, if I was Palpatine, I'd say "screw THAT, it's not worth even a second of my time" Jan 23, 2012 at 17:13
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    @DVK: The rebellion, if ignored, would have continued spreading word about Palpatine's more excessive abuses of people's rights. They were also a convenient scapegoat for any acts of terrorism (or even some Imperial attacks). "No, we didn't blow up a prison ship full of political prisoners, the filthy Rebels destroyed it in a hamfisted attempt to save their leaders"
    – Jeff
    Jan 23, 2012 at 17:23
  • that's a police/intelligence function, not military. The G-canon made it sound like the entire military might of the Empire was aimed at the Rebels Jan 23, 2012 at 17:35
  • @DVK Kind of the same way the entire military might of the US was aimed at the Taliban in 2005.
    – Jeff
    Jan 23, 2012 at 21:16

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