ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at Creators.co
MP staff. I talk about Star Wars a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it. More ramblings on Twitter @ExtraTremeerial
Eleanor Tremeer

It's a tale as old as the first Star Wars movie: Why did the Empire build such a huge, Death-Star-destroying flaw into their superweapon? Many theories have tried to explain the Death Star's exhaust port — the one that Luke fired into (at a suspiciously Forceful 90-degree angle), thus destroying the Empire's planet-popping space station.

Many people were hoping that Rogue One would finally solve this mystery once and for all, explaining that of course the Death Star had a flaw, because Galen Erso built one into it. And that's true... except the flaw he designed isn't the flaw you're looking for.

Speaking to The Star Wars Show, Story Group chief Pablo Hidalgo explained that Galen did not build the exhaust port into the Death Star at all. Rather, he just ensured the reactor itself would explode if someone fired into it.

"Did Galen Erso engineer the faulty exhaust port?"

"Not specifically or else he would have said so in the message. He built an unstable reactor. And it turns out there is a weakness there, but how do you exploit it?"

As the Imperial officers discussed in their meeting, anyone who had the Death Star plans could find a weakness — they just had no idea what that weakness might be. Well I guess that's what happens when the people in charge of a superweapon aren't the same people who built it.

As Hidalgo points out, Galen was not the architect of the Death Star at all — which we should have known, because the Death Star's exo-structure was nearing completion at the end of Revenge of the Sith.

Emperor & Darth Vader view the Death Star in 'Revenge of the Sith' [Credit: Lucasfilm]
Emperor & Darth Vader view the Death Star in 'Revenge of the Sith' [Credit: Lucasfilm]

But Galen was certain that, if Jyn stole the plans, the Rebels could find a way to destroy the reactor in the way he intended.

"He knows there's a way to do it... in the novel we get the notion he signed off on the general design plan for these thermal exhaust ports. But he still doesn't have that specific piece of information to pass on, which is why he says 'go get the plans and you'll find it'."

And to be honest, the existence of an exhaust port on the Death Star isn't actually a design flaw — it's a vital way of getting fumes out of the reactor and into the vacuum of space so the station doesn't, y'know, blow itself up before the Rebels get a chance to. Dorkly actually did a great video about this:

So really, it's not that Rogue One didn't solve this plot hole — it's that the exhaust port was never a plot hole at all. Especially if you consider that the trench leading up to the exhaust port was heavily guarded by blaster towers, and the port itself had shielding, which is why the first blast glanced off.

It's a good thing Luke Skywalker had plenty of practice targeting womp rats with his T-16 back home — and that he could use the Force to make his blasts turn at a 90-degree angle and magically get past the shield — as otherwise the Rebels never would have had a chance to exploit Galen's faulty reactor.

Tell us in the comments: Do you think the exhaust port was a plot hole?

The Death Star explodes in 'A New Hope'. [Credit: Lucasfilm]
The Death Star explodes in 'A New Hope'. [Credit: Lucasfilm]

[Source: 'The Star Wars Show']

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