For a weapon that can take years to build and obliterate entire planets at a time, you’d think that the Empire would design a foolproof space station, but Star Wars has hinted that even Darth Vader knew about the Death Star’s huge weakness.
One of the biggest things that has baffled fans ever since the release of A New Hope in 1977 was the Death Star’s convenient and strange flaw that allowed the Rebellion to destroy it at the end of the film. Rogue One finally addressed this apparent Deus ex machina by revealing that Galen Erso tampered with the design and placed a subtle weakness in the reactor core. This ultimately proved disastrous for the Empire, but if there’s anything the spinoff movie did, it was to show that the Rebels had to sacrifice a lot of resources to get their hands on the star killer’s plans.
But even with Galen’s assistance, destroying the Death Star wasn’t easy. In fact, if it weren’t for Luke Skywalker using the Force to guide his X-wing through the trenches, the Empire would have exterminated the Rebellion in its entirety on Yavin 4. And apparently, even Luke’s father knew how to destroy a behemoth space station such as the Death Star.
In one of The Clone Wars‘ season 4 episodes, “Plan of Dissent,” clone troopers discuss how they wish to destroy a Separatist spaceship. Fives brings up the time when Anakin destroyed a Trade Federation control ship by blowing up the main reactor core from the inside, using that as an inspiration to come up with an attack plan.
This hints at the fact that Vader already knew how a powerful and seemingly invulnerable spacecraft such as the Death Star could be destroyed. Perhaps that is why the dark lord was unimpressed by the weapon’s powers, branding it as “insignificant” when compared to the Force. And that’s exactly what his son proved when he destroyed the Empire’s terrifying technological achievement with a single torpedo.
Such is the fault of these enormous space stations in the world of Star Wars, whether in the Original Trilogy (the two Death Stars), the Prequels era (the Trade Federation ship and the Separatist vehicle), or even Disney’s Sequels (Starkiller Base), whose sole weakness goes back to the same principle, one exploited by the heroes at every turn to shake things up and win the war.