How Did The Death Star Survive To Appear In 'Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker'?

The teaser trailer for Star Wars: Episode 9 – The Rise of Skywalker hit today, and in typical J.J. Abrams fashion, it presented us with a bunch of questions. The one I want to talk right now is the location we see at the end of the trailer. We see what appears to be the Death Star, last seen in Return of the Jedi, now crashed on some planet.  Of course, fans are probably wondering how this can exist since we saw the second Death Star destroyed by the Rebellion in the Battle of Endor. Let's attempt to answer this question below.

For those of you who don't remember, here's what happened at the end of Return of the Jedi. Luke Skywalker engages in a lightsaber duel with his father, Darth Vader, aboard the Death Star, where the emperor tried and failed to convince the Jedi Knight to turn to the dark side of the Force. In the end, Vader betrays and kills the Emperor, sacrificing his own life in the process. Some fans believe this is the fulfillment of the ancient Jedi prophecy of the Chosen One who would bring balance to the Force. Moments later, the Rebel Alliance forces led by Lando Calrissian and Wedge Antilles fire proton torpedoes on the main reactor, which destroys the Death Star. We see an epic explosion and it doesn't appear that any of the Death Star survived.

But now, the trailer for this final installment of the Skywalker saga shows us a piece of the epic space station that we haven't seen for four decades.

While it's hard to believe that pieces from the Death Star could have survived that massive explosion, let's remember that those huge chunks of mass have to go somewhere. Not all of it was blown into powder, and some of it probably is still flying through space or has crash landed on one of the poor planets that got in the way.

I would also imagine that this space station was built with reinforced construction built to withstand some serious assaults. So it's very possible that this part of the Death Star survived the destruction and is still out there somewhere. Where exactly, we still don't know. Is this location Endor? It doesn't look much like the forest planet we saw in Return of the Jedi – but was that Endor or the moon of Endor? That's a debate that's been going on in Star Wars fandom for decades.

Is It Scientifically Possible?

Star Wars has never been big on hard science, so I'm not sure if the answer to this question really matters. But since nothing the size of a Death Star 2 (about 600 miles in diameter) has ever crashed into Earth, we really don't know for sure. But some human-made constructs have fallen to earth, including sky labs and space shuttles and its surprising how much of those pieces remained intact.force awakens death star underwater

JJ Abrams Wanted to Do This in The Force Awakens – Check the Concept Art

In developing The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams designed a sequence where Rey would dive underwater to loot from the remnants of the Death Star, which had crash-landed and was submerged in the ocean on a planet. We even saw concept art of Rey diving through the Emperor's throne room, which was completely submerged in the water. While the details have never come to light, I think the original plan was for her to find something, a MacGuffin of sorts, that sends her off on this adventure.

What is the MacGuffin They Are After?

Maybe the MacGuffin of The Rise of Skywalker brings Rey back to this location for some reason. What that reason is, we aren't sure, but the laugh in the trailer hints at Emperor Palpatine not being dead. This is certainly in line with what we've heard – that Abrams has created a film that ends the arc not just for this trilogy, but the Skywalker saga as a whole. Returning to this location hints that possible secrets from the Empire could be part of the core of this story.