Death Star II
From the MoviesWithin three years of the Death Star's demise, the Galactic Empire again proved its evil nature with the construction of a second Death Star in a remote region of space. Fortunately for the galaxy, the Empire never completed this monstrosity. Word of its construction was spread through the Rebel ranks by Bothan spies. The Alliance was able to pinpoint the exact location of Death Star's construction, and mount a pre-emptive strike to destroy the station.
The leaked information was all a ruse. The scheming Emperor Palpatine engineered the Rebellion's discovery of the Death Star in the hopes of trapping the growing Rebel fleet. The second Death Star would not be as vulnerable as the Rebels believed.
To ensure that the Death Star would destroy the lured Alliance fleet, Palpatine entrusted the supervision of its final phase of construction to his Sith apprentice, Lord Darth Vader. Vader motivated the Death Star's commander, Moff Jerjerrod, to see that the battle station was operational when the Emperor arrived for his inspection tour.
The second Death Star was not a complete sphere. Though much of the battle station's recognizable shape was visible, there were huge sections of exposed superstructure and visible skeleton. To protect the half-completed and immobile station during its construction, the Empire projected an immense deflector shield from the nearby forest moon of Endor. The shield was strong enough to protect any breach from both capital and starfighter-class ships.
The Alliance sent a commando team to land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator while the Rebel fleet emerged from hyperspace to destroy the station. Unlike the previous Death Star, whose reactor core was accessible only from a two-meter wide exhaust port, the second Death Star's heart had to be destroyed by actually flying into the superstructure and detonating the collosal power plant.
The commando team was waylaid by Imperials and the Rebel fleet arrived to find the deflector shield intact. Worse yet, the superlaser was operational, and began destroying Rebel Mon Calamari cruisers with each blast. General Lando Calrissian came up with a daring and foolhardy tactic to engage the Imperial fleet at point-blank range, thus limiting the Death Star's available targets.
Aided by the native Ewoks of Endor, the Rebels were able to infiltrate and destroy the shield generator complex. With the shield down, General Calrissian led the Alliance starfighters into the inner recesses of the Death Star. There, he and Wedge Antilles loosed a volley of ordnance that began an immense fireball that tore apart the station.
Emperor Palpatine's body was consumed in the explosion. The Imperial fleet never recovered from the fiasco. What was to be the Rebel Alliance's demise instead turned into the death of the Empire. As firey fragments of the battle station burned away in Endor's atmosphere, the celebratory cheers of freedom rang throughout the forests, and indeed, the entire galaxy.
From the Expanded UniverseIt's a miracle that Bevel Lemelisk survived the fallout of the first Death Star to engineer a second superweapon, but somehow he did. His handiwork followed such endeavors as the Tarkin weapons testbed, and included features that corrected mistakes learned form the first battle station.
Rather than rely on thermal exhaust ports to vent the reactor's incredible excess heat, the second Death Star would instead funnel the waste energy through a series of millimeter-wide heat dispersion ducts.
The second Death Star's size ballooned to about 900 kilometers in diameter, far larger than the original, and featured a superlaser of greater power. Not only could this prime weapon deliver a more devastating blast, but it could fire more often and with greater accuracy.
The second Death Star, if completed, would have featured over 30,000 turbolaser batteries, 7,500 laser cannons, 5,000 ion cannons and 768 tractor beams.
Behind the ScenesThe design challenge of the second Death Star was to suggest a weapon that was incomplete, yet still formidable. The artists experimented with different stages of completion.
The final Death Star model measured 137 centimeters in diameter, and only included the station's "front" side. Constructed of Lucite, the station also featured photo-etched thin metal sheets. Micro holes were scored into the Death Star's surface, illuminating the station with hundreds of tiny lights. The second Death Star model is actually the reverse of what appears on film, with most of its left-hand superstructure incomplete. The image of the battle station was flipped horizontally when used in the final film.
Other sections of the station were created through sectional models and matte paintings. One painting of an equatorial hangar bay features elements of the San Francisco skyline, including the Transamerica Pyramid.
Keywords: Databank - Episode VI
Filed under: Vault, Location
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