What if all the Ewoks were killed at the end of ‘Return of the Jedi’? You don’t have to think about it. Really, you don’t. But someone thought about it—Dave Minton, a physicist at Purdue University.
Now before you start thinking Minton hates all things cute, he performed some interesting research into what the reality would be like if the second Death Star really did explode near Endor.
Yes, if we did think realistically, it makes a lot of sense that the Death Star’s destruction would have a deadly impact on Endor.
However, Minton was able to extract the diameter, velocity and orbital path of both Endor and the Death Star by analyzing a hologram that pops up in ‘Return of the Jedi’. He calculated his measurements under the assumption that Endor has the same gravity as Earth.
At the end of the movie, the shield generator on Endor gets destroyed ultimately demolishing what Minton assumes are the repulsor lifts on the Death Star. So, assuming that the Death Star isn’t vaporized, in reality a lot of rubble would be hurled toward Endor. Yikes.
The remains would be insanely massive and strike the moon at a speed of over 6,000 mph. This would be akin to a giant asteroid hitting Earth, one powerful enough to wipe out, let’s say, the dinosaurs. According to Minton this impact would leave a crater that’s 700 km in diameter—four times larger than the Chicxulub Crater in the Yucatán Peninsula, an impact crater often linked to the extinction of dinosaurs.
Sadly, Minton writes, “No Ewok could withstand an impact of this magnitude.”
And the lush forests and water sources don’t fare any better. The destruction would cause the atmosphere to heat up making the water quickly evaporate and the surface succumb to a firestorm.
Well, that’s a bummer.
But remember, it didn’t happen! Here’s a reminder.