The Death Star was one of the most prominent superstructures ever built in the history of Star Wars because this was a moon-sized space station that housed a superweapon capable of destroying an entire planet with a single blast. In that regard, it was important for the Rebel Alliance to get its hands on the Death Star’s plans to find a way to destroy it. Of course, we know that the Rebels eventually stole the plans but at the sacrifice of brave lives. So, who stole the plan for the Death Star, and what species were they?
Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and the rest of the Rogue One crew were responsible for stealing the plans for the Death Star and beaming them to the Profundity. Save for a reprogrammed Imperial security droid named K-2SO, all of the members of the Rogue One squad were humans.
The success of the mission of the Rogue One squad contributed to the greatest success in the history of the Rebel Alliance because it was the destruction of the Death Star that ultimately allowed them to realize that there was hope in the war against the Empire. Without the plans for the Death Star, the Rebels would have likely lost to the Empire early. Now, let’s look at this topic in greater detail.
How Was the Death Star Plan Stolen?
One of the greatest structures in the history of Star Wars is the Death Star, an incredibly large moon-sized space station designed to destroy entire planets due to the super laser it was equipped with. The Death Star was originally designed by the Geonosians as early as the time of the Clone Wars but was eventually given to Count Dooku, who passed the plans on to his master, Darth Sidious. Because Sidious was actually Palpatine, he ordered his Imperial officers to construct this structure during the time of the Empire under the codename “Project Stardust.”
But while the Geonosians created the overall design of the superstructure, Galen Erso was responsible for creating the super laser when Director Krennic tricked him into contributing his research regarding synthetic Kyber crystals to the Empire. The Empire eventually forced Erso to work for him after he tried to hide from the Imperial officers. And because he needed to find a way to atone for his crime of helping the Empire create a weapon of mass destruction, Galen told a former Imperial captain named Bodhi Rook to relay the message to the Rebel terrorist Saw Gerrera.
Jyn Erso, the daughter of Galen Erso, teamed up with Cassian Andor and the crew of the Rogue One squad to get to Bodhi and learn more about Galen’s message regarding the construction of the Death Star. All Rogue One squad members, except for a former Imperial security droid called K-2SO, were humans.
During their mission to learn more about this superstructure, the crew of the Rogue One squad learned that the plans for the Death Star were on a planet called Scarif, which housed an Imperial military complex that contained information regarding some of the Empire’s top-secret research, including the Death Star itself.
The Rogue One squadron proceeded to Scarif to get its hands on the plan for the Death Star because it was important for them to learn more about this superstructure and how to destroy it. As such, the Battle of Scarif occurred just before the Battle of Yavin. The Rebels learned that the plans were being held in the Citadel Tower.
As such, Jyn and her allies infiltrated the tower and managed to transmit the plans to Princess Leia Organa, who was on the Profundity at that time. However, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin ordered the Death Star to fire a single-reactor blast at the planet to stop the transmission and kill Krennic. The blast killed almost everyone and everything on the planet, including Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor.
Despite the sacrifices made by the crew of Rogue One, the Death Star plans were able to get to Princess Leia, whose ship got boarded by Darth Vader. But before Vader could get to Leia and the plans, she allowed R2-D2 and C-3PO to escape the Profundity on an escape pod so that they could take the plan to Obi-Wan Kenobi and bring it to the other Rebels in the hopes that they could put it to good use the information that Jyn and Cassian stole at the cost of their lives.
What Was the Plan for the Destruction of the Death Star?
Galen Erso was forced into constructing the super laser of the Death Star using his research involving synthetic Kyber crystals. However, he didn’t want the Empire to successfully get its way, so he sabotaged the Death Star by creating a flaw in its design. He introduced a small and unnoticeable flaw in the Death Star’s reactor system: a single pressurized explosion would cause a chain reaction that would destroy the entire station.
As such, when the Rebels were able to get their hands on the Death Star’s plans, they could immediately see this fatal weakness that Galen Erso designed for the Death Star to have. That was why the goal for the Rebels was to get to this small vent that led straight to the reactor of the Death Star so that a single torpedo could destroy the entire superstructure.
Of course, we saw in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope that Luke Skywalker flew through the trenches of the Death Star and used the Force to guide him so that he could shoot a precise torpedo through the small vent. This shot destroyed the Death Star and killed all of the Imperial soldiers and officers in it.
The destruction of the Death Star was deemed the most important point in the Rebellion’s history because this allowed the Rebels to score their first true victory against the Empire. This event was known as the Battle of Yavin, and it was all thanks to Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor, and the rest of Rogue One that the Rebels were able to destroy the Death Star and ultimately defeat the Empire.
Who Stole the Plans for the Second Death Star?
Unknown to the Rebels, the Empire decided to construct a second Death Star that was much larger than the first Death Star and didn’t have the same weakness that the first one had. However, the plans of the Death Star II were never really shown to be stolen in canon, although the Legends storyline says that Prince Xizor, the Falleen leader of the Black Sun criminal organization, was able to get his hands on them as he delivered the plans to the Rebel Alliance.
However, the good thing about the Death Star II was that its construction was yet to be completed. That meant its defenses were not yet stable and could still be destroyed. Han Solo, Leia Organa, and Chewbacca went to the surface of Endor to destroy the shield generator that was protecting the superstructure. After the destruction of the shield generator, Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles could get deep into Death Star II.
Calrissian told Antilles to destroy the power regulator on the reactor’s north tower while he used the Millennium Falcon to destroy the bottommost component of the tower. They narrowly escaped the superstructure as the Death Star II exploded right after Lando and Wedge could fly far enough from it.