If there’s one thing Star Wars fans — specifically, the hardcore ones — love to do, its one up each other with their knowledge of a galaxy far, far away. 40 years after the franchise was first brought to life, you would think that there would be nothing left to discover about Star Wars (I’m talking about the original trilogy here), but according to one Industrial Light & Magic employee, fans have been dead wrong about a particular Death Star detail all this time.
Todd Vaziri, who was involved in the dailies for Rogue One, recently blogged about a discovery he made one morning while working on the film that in retrospect struck him as incredibly obvious. He looked at a picture of the Death Star and asked himself: “Can you point to the rench that Luke and the Rebels flew down to fire upon the exhaust port that would ultimately destroy the space station?” Simple, right? It’s the equatorial trench of the Death Star. Nope, that’s totally wrong. As Vaziri points out, the trench is actually longitudinal and runs north-south.
It seems obvious thinking about it now, but as Vaziri reminds us, the equatorial trench is, “where the hangar bays are located.” Remember, this is the place that we see the Millennium Falcon enter via tractor beam, so we know it can’t be a massive trench. The embarassing part is that the film actually shows us where the longitudinal trench is. During General Dodonna’s briefing, the graphics shown to the Rebel pilots clearly show the trench’s location, running north-south in the upper portion of the Death Star. If you’re slapping yourself silly right now for never noticing this, Vaziri says it’s okay because there is a perfectly logical explanation for the error.
First of all, there are only two major distinguishing features on the Death Star from a distance: the dish and the equator. When the trench is shown up close during the climax of the film, these two features are the only elements our brains really associate with the surface of the station. “Our brains want to connect this new trench with something we’ve seen before, and because of their similarities, and the simplicity of that connection, it’s not a big leap for us to (incorrectly) deduce the two trenches are one and the same,” Vaziri reasons.
The second reason, according to Vaziri, has to do with the composition of the shot of the X-wings preparing to draw fire. This show, when lined up with a second shot of a fighter beginning its descent into the trench, leads our brains to connect it all to the Death Star’s equator. That being said, we really shouldn’t feel all that bad about it, since it’s something that even Legoland messed up.
Source: AV Club