Star Wars fans have had a lot of debates. Who shot first: Han Solo or Greedo? Is Luke Skywalker truly a Jedi Master or trainee gone rogue? Did the Jedi training lead to Anakin’s downfall into the Dark Side? But one of the greatest debates that have questioned fans’ morals since the late ’70s has always been:
How many people died on the Death Star? According to the official Star Wars lore, the exact number of people who died on the Death Star is 1,565,231 people.
Although the range is usually given to be between one million and two million, this answer comes from a vast array of information across the galaxy. So, read on to find out how the exact number of people who died on the Death Star was found.
Which Death Star?
If you were not already aware, there have been two Death Stars. The original one had its debut in the first released Star Wars film, Star Wars: A New Hope in 1977. After it was destroyed, the Empire started construction on an even larger version shown in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in 1983.
Although Rebel forces destroyed both versions of the Death Star, this article will find out exactly how many people died on the first version of the Death Star from the movie Star Wars: A New Hope.
Before numbers can go flying through space, there are a few vital measurements and information necessary to understand the expanse of the damage.
Death Star Specs
DS-1 Orbital Battle Station, the fancier name for “the first Death Star,” was an absolute unit. According to the book, “Star Wars: Rogue One: The Ultimate Visual Guide,” the first Death Star had the following specs:
- 160 kilometer (or around 100 miles) width
- Hypermatter reactor
- 1,186,295–1,206,293 total personnel
If there is a number for the total personnel on board, that should be how many people died, right? Not quite. Although this estimate is canon, the exact number of people that died on the Death Star expands beyond these numbers.
How Many People Were on Board on the Death Star?
Despite being considered under the “Legends” category by George Lucas in 2014, the guide book, “Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know,” should be taken into account when finding the correct number.
Using this information, it is found that there was also the following on board during the destruction of the Death Star:
- Imperial Navy and Army garrisons (342,953)
- Stormtroopers (25,984)
So, these numbers need also to be accounted for as the “total personnel” cannot be assumed to only include those who would be on board every day. The time of the attack would indicate that all forces would be called in to defend the Death Star; thus, these two numbers would have been left out when they were assuming what they thought was the total personnel.
However, that is not the end of the forgotten people! There is another reference point that needs to be accounted for, and that is the guidebook, “Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Dawn of Rebellion Sourcebook.”
This book covers the lure and stories that lead up to the original film trilogies, including Star Wars: A New Hope. In this guidebook, it is revealed that there were also passengers on the Death Star. The total number of passengers on the Death Star at the time of destruction was:
- Passengers (750,000)
Putting the Numbers Together
So, now all that is left is to do simple addition, right? Wrong! The first issue when figuring out exactly how many people died on the Death Star is the first number of “total personnel.” It is a range! To find out exactly how many personnel were on board the day of the attack, there needs to be some statistics.
Assuming the p-value is 0.05, it can be assumed with 95% certainty that there were 1,196,294 personnel on board the Death Star when it exploded. Using this base number, we can now add the rest of the assumed people that were there during the explosion.
1,196,294 personnel + 342,953 Imperial Navy and Army garrisons + 25,984 Stormtroopers =
1,565,231 people died on the Death Star!
This number does not even include the droids that were on board (sorry MSE-6)!
Is That Number Even Possible?
With the exact number of people on the Death Star, the next question is whether that would be feasible given its size. Assuming the Death Star’s diameter is 160km (100 miles), and the total surface area is 80,000 square kilometers (30,000 square miles), that would mean there would be a little over 1.5 million people within 30,000 square miles.
To give an idea of how cramped that would be, Iceland has a total square mileage of 40,000, with a population topping at around 364,260. China currently has a population around the 1.5 million mark with a total square mileage of 3.7 million.
So, with the population density of China working on the size of Iceland, it is not feasible that over 1.5 million people died on the Death Star. To find the exact number of people who died on the Death Star, you would have to make the conscious decision about whether you want to go by lore or geographic data.
In terms of the workers on board, the number of workers who died on the Death Star can be found by relating it to the average factory floor in America. According to Statista, the average number of workers in a factory ranges from 500-999, so the assumed number can be 750.
For the average size of a factory building, Cisco-Eagle states the range to be from 25,000 square feet to 50,000 square feet. So, the assumed number can be 37,500 square feet.
Combining these numbers gives a rate of 750 Workers per 37,500 square feet. That rate can be used to determine the exact number of people who would be able to work on the Death Star and would have died.
Total Number of People Who Died on the Death Star =
[(750 Worker)/(37,500 square feet)] / [(Unknown Number of workers)/(30,000 square feet)]
= (750)(30,000) / (37,500)
=600 Workers died on the Death Star
A much less impressive number, but it can increase if there is the assumption that it is 600 people per category needed to operate the Death Star. In other words, this number would be multiplied by the total amount of departments within the system processing.
According to the Star Wars Fandom Wiki, there were the following “Points of Interests” on the Death Star:
- Death Star Bar
- Death Star City
- Detention Level
- Equatorial Trench
- Garbage Masher 3263827
- Meridian Trench
- Mid-Hemisphere Trench
- Northern Polar Command Sector
- Death Star Conference Room
- Emperor’s Tower
Assuming a need of 600 people to be at each point of interest for the Death Star to run at maximum capacity, that brings the total of deaths to:
(600) x (11) = 6,600 workers
Geographically speaking, the relationship between population and actual square mileage of Iceland can be used to help determine the number of people who died on the Death Star. However, this form of finding the number ignores specific lore details.
To start with, Iceland currently sits with the following statistics:
- 364,260 people living there
- 40,000 square mileage of land
With that in mind, to find the total number of people who died on the Death Star, all that needs to be done is a conversion rate.
[(364,260 people)/(40,000 square miles)] / [(30,000 square miles)/(Unknown number of people)]
=[(364,260) x (30,000)] / (40,000)
= 273,195 people died on the Death Star
Maybe not as sad as 1.5 million people, but in terms of the total geographical space available on the Death Star, 273,195 is the most accurate number of people who died that day.
In conclusion, although a lot of discussion has come about debating the exact number of people who died on the Death Star, the numbers found today still seem to average out to around the 1.5 million mark. Of course, that number is based on information found throughout the Star Wars lore, but it does not account for the actual (and limited) geographic space of the Death Star.
With that in mind, the exact number of people who died on the Death Star can be assumed to be 273,195 realistically, with 1,565,231 determined by the subject material itself.
Now that the truth is finally revealed, fans can get back to more important discussions – like whether there would be an explosion sound from the Death Star!