Even Lucasfilm's FX Team Didn't Realize This About The Death Star

It might've come out in 1977, but Star Wars: A New Hope still has a few secrets left to tell all these years later.

Visual effects guru Todd Vaziri, who worked with Industrial Light & Magic on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, recently broke down his revelation of how he figured out where Luke Skywalker's iconic trench run on the Death Star actually took place. After talking to fans, and even some fellow FX gurus working with Lucasfilm, Vaziri said he was under the impression the trench run was through the equatorial trench that cut horizontally across the space base. But, that's not accurate. It all became clear while working on the Death Star for Rogue One.

Just looking at the Death Star, it'd be easy to just assume the trench run takes place in the gigantic trench that cuts across the station. But, as Vaziri notes, the details don't hold up under scrutiny. The equatorial trench looks completely different than the trench Luke flies through, while Luke's trench is also much more narrow than the larger one at the heart of the station. Turns out, that equatorial trench is actually the Death Star's launch bay for TIE Fighters, and not the narrow path to a well-hidden exhaust port.

The actual trench run exhaust port runs vertically on a longitudinal line that cuts through the entire base. If you need confirmation, just look back at the briefing General Jan Dodonna gives to the Rebel pilots while preparing for the assault. The briefing includes a brief bit of actionable blueprints, which clearly show the smaller trench running vertically through the station.

If you've gotten it wrong all these years, don't worry, so did a lot of fans. Some of the dogfight scenes in A New Hope made it seem like they X-Wings were headed for the center trench — and even Legoland's massive Death Star exhibit thought it was the equatorial line.