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Designed and constructed in secret, the Death Star is the brainchild of the sinister Grand Moff Tarkin, governor of the Imperial Outland Regions. In orbital construction yards circling a remote planet code-named Despayre, this battle station was pieced together by technicians, slaves, and titanic robot factory machines. The completed Death Star is powered by a hypermatter reactor and is capable of destroying an entire planet with its prime weapon, a horrific superlaser. This abomination is the galaxy's ultimate weapon, and the greatest symbol of the Emperor's absolute power.

Warship construction is a lengthy, complicated business. The pre-construction phase alone - original inception, funding, design, creation of production facilities, training of personnel, and requisition of materials - can, for a large ship, take years; the actual construction of the vessel usually isn't much faster. The expenses are excessive, in both money and labor. As one might expect, the pressure on the ship designers and architects is enormous; the bureaucratic infighting and political wheeling, dealing, and budgetary battling is unbelievable. Once a project is approved and work on the vessel begun, the Empire is committing itself to that vessel for the next several decades. At that point, any changes - even trivial ones - in the vessel's design can cost literally billions of credits and thousands of extra man-hours. When Lira Wessex, daughter of the designer of the Victory-class Star Destroyer, proposed that the Empire produce the Imperial-class Star Destroyer, the angry debate between the Navy's military strategists, the Imperial Military Oversight Commission, and the Senate Budgetary Committee (since disbanded) almost destroyed the Empire. Some believe the Imperial too expensive, some believed it too unwieldily, others quite simply thought it was an engineering impossibility. The Navy loved it, of course; and through a combination of bribes, political pressure, and a rash of mysteriously crushed tracheas, it slowly brought the others into line.

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