That Death Star Wreckage in Star Wars Episode IX is Probably the First Death Star

One of the many eyebrow-raising moments from the first trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is the shot of our heroes looking out over the Cliffs of Moher at the wreckage of a Death Star.

But which Death Star?

It sure seems like this is Endor. The Death Star from the trailer has the same patchy look as the Death Star II from Return of the Jedi, and what the falling debris did to the Ewoks is a long-running fan theory (it even has its own moniker: Endor Holocaust), so it’d be appropriately tongue-in-cheek to reference that.

But look again, fellow Star Wars fans. We’re on a moon of Yavin!

To be sure, we have to look up close at three items: Death Star I, the half-done Death Star II, and the wreckage from the trailer.


Death Star I

Death Star 1 Star Wars

Screenshot: Lucasfilm


Death Star II

Star Wars Return of the Jedi Death Star II

Screenshot: Lucasfilm


Death Star wreckage

Star Wars Episode 9 Death Star wreckage

Screenshot: Lucasfilm


It’s hard to find pertinent details on the wreckage at first, since it’s clearly had to suffer through getting blown apart and planetary impact. But there are two big details that remain intact enough for us to make a determination.


The giveaway: The Death Star’s laser dish edge

The circumference of first Death Star’s laser dish had a depressed edge, whereas the laser dish for the second Death Star was flush and continuous with the rest of the surface. Take a look:

Death Star I

Death Star laser dish close up

A clear dish edge on the first Death Star. Screenshot: Lucasfilm

Death Star II

Death Star 2 laser dish close up

Flush edge running continuously onto the surface. Screenshot: Lucasfilm

There’s another large detail still present in the wreckage: A thick featureless border around the Death Star’s equatorial trench. The portion of this featureless border below the equator is featured clearly in the wreckage. (With a bit of the featureless border from above the equator visible on the right edge of the wreckage.) While both Death Stars have that featureless equatorial border, the one on the first Death Star is noticeably thicker and closer to the laser dish, which is what we see in the wreckage.


So, our heroes travel back to Yavin in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but what are they looking for? Information about the past? The Emperor’s restless spirit? Perhaps a part that Leia may need to complete her own superweapon?

Further, are they on Yavin IV? (It’s probably not ALL jungle.) They might have to explain why they were giving out medals to Han and Luke in A New Hope while Death Star debris was raining down (Leia’s even holding one of those medals in the trailer!) but other than that, will we see this generation of heroes walk through the ruins of the old Rebel base?

And what does that movie title mean, anyhow?


Back to the top of the page


This post is closed for comments.

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.