The Death Star trench is not where you think it is

Contributed by
Jan 26, 2017

The older we get, the more of our cherished notions about the world get crushed into smithereens.  

One such firmly held factoid relates to the Star Wars Death Star and the precise location of the iconic trench where Luke and his X-wing squadron ran the gauntlet of turbo-laser fire to gain a shot at the thermal exhaust port. When asked where this fortified alleyway on the armored space station is, most Star Wars faithful of all ages immediately point to the obvious dark circle located around the Death Star's equator.  

Wrong answer! Shame!  

Well, don't feel too embarrassed, because many employees at ILM gave the same answer, so to clarify the matter once and for all, Star Wars fanatic and ILM visual effects master Todd Vaziri recalls the moment in a VFX meeting for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story when the truth was revealed.

Here's his explanantion on the true location of the vulnerable Death Star trench:

"Nearly everybody points at the equatorial trench of the Death Star. I asked dozens of die-hard fans, including many co-workers at Industrial Light & Magic, and nearly every single person pointed to the equatorial trench. If you asked me, I would also have said the equatorial trench. In fact, this came up during ILM Rogue One dailies one day. Computer Graphics Supervisor Vick Schutz and Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll were chatting about the details of our computer graphics version of the Death Star and Knoll casually remarked that the trench run in Star Wars is a longitudinal line on the Death Star (meaning, a north-south trench).

"Most of us in the room were dumbfounded. 'What did he say?'"

So the trench is actually perpendicular to the fat canal encircling the Death Star's middle, which acts as a ring of hangar bays for the colossal Star Destroyers and TIE fighters.  For some of you sharp-eyed experts who always pay attention in class, you're probably aware that this bit of blueprint knowledge was first exposed in the above scene on Yavin 4 when General Dodonna delivers a detailed briefing to the Rebel pilots and a series of crude computer graphics pinpoint the weak spot.  

Next time the question comes up in a heated Star Wars trivia contest, you're now fully informed!  

Did you originally think the trench was at the equator, or are you too cool for school?

(Via io9)