Director Krennic orders the Death Star to fire on the Holy City of Jedha.

Given that:

  1. The Death Star consumes kyber crystals in order to power the superlaser beam, and drains the crystals.
  2. Kyber crystal resources are not easily located sometimes requiring secret maps, and reportedly rare (Lothal, Illum/Starkiller Base, Jedha).
  3. The Empire was in the process of mining enormous quantities "all they can get" of kyber crystals from Jedha.
  4. Synthetic kyber crystals are too unstable.

Then, I'm guessing that you need a continuous supply of kyber crystals for the Death Star to operate.

Destroying Jedha means sacrificing a finite amount of kyber crystals. This seems like a bad move.


For the first point, I am relying on the details from another question (showing the url https://scifi.stackexchange.com/q/148320/550).

Yes, Krennic's character is puzzling to me. According to this Luceno interview, he has a reputation of being manipulative. To quote,

Orson Krennic prides himself in being able to get his way through manipulation and whatever devilish things he can come up with. He also has the ability to stay on his feet even when punches are being hurled at him. He can change strategies in the middle of things. This, combined with his innate volatility, makes him a very different kind of villain.....

And continues with

You have to take a little bit of a leap in terms of who we see on the screen versus who we get in the book. In his case, he gets even more brash and more volatile.

With his over ambitious nature, and reputation he has made an enemy of Whilhuff Tarkin. Described here (https://www.wired.com/2016/12/rogue-one-prequel-novel-clues/)

The two military officers, one a battle-hardened favorite of the Emperor and the other an overseer of engineers

We know in the film despite the successful superlaser demonstration, Krennic doesn't impress Lord Vader, even remotely. It seems that the delays, and previously undelivered promises began to call into question Krennic's management.

In article

the scope of the project is palpable in Catalyst, from construction setbacks on Geonosis to illegal seizures of protected planets (in order to mine them for materials). The political, bureaucratic, and environmental nightmare involved in building the Death Star is only matched by Galen’s slow progress unlocking and harnessing the boundless energy of the kyber crystals.

From the film

When the battle station is finished, Governor Tarkin, the Senate will be of little concern. When has become now, Director Krennic. The Emperor will tolerate no further delay, you have made time an ally of the Rebellion. I suggest, we solve both problems simultaneously with an immediate test of the weapon.


And I thought it prudent to save you from any potential embarrassment. Your concern is hardly warranted. If saying it would only make it so. All Imperial forces, have been evacuated, and I stand ready to destroy the entire moon. That won't be necessary. We need a statement, not a manifesto. The Holy City will be enough for the day. Target Jedha City, prepare single reactor ignition. - Sir, we're in position, ready to... - Fire!

On calculated error, my opinion is that Krennic made a magnificent blunder. He's having this pissing match with Tarkin, and this is so close to his moment of glory. But all he gets is insults and ridicule. In a hotheaded state, not thinking it through and boasting to destroy the entire moon (when the battle station is not finished). The part I see the error. At the same time, I wasn't sure whether he already planned this as the way to eliminate the extremists under Saw Gerrera, together with the Jedi temple, in one master stroke. So this would be the calculated angle. In which case, I cannot think of him as simply temperamental in that moment.

  • 1
    Who says it consumes the crystals? They focus the power. No consumption involved. You don't see Jedi replacing their saber crystals do you?
    – cde
    Jan 7, 2017 at 5:02
  • The mere fact that they would destroy a source of a rare fuel as a manifestó (then scaled down to a statement) shows that they don't consider it particularly precious. If it was consumable, they would park a fleet and blockade the planet. He didn't get so high in the empire or the Emperors good side by being an idiot.
    – cde
    Jan 7, 2017 at 5:10
  • Also what is a calculated error? Do you mean strategic error? Calculated risk?
    – cde
    Jan 7, 2017 at 5:19
  • The crystals have unlimited powwwwwer! That’s why the Death Star’s output is so great.
    – Obie 2.0
    Jan 7, 2017 at 5:31
  • 1
    The zap at the end of the film would destroy only the city, not the planet. I assume the mines were far enough from the city that they could reinstate mining operations after rebuilding the infrastructure.
    – b_jonas
    Feb 17, 2017 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


Aside from my comments above, the movie answers it with a single line. They are taking all the Kyber crystals they can. The movie presents no pressing need for them to abandon the mountain they were somehow hovering a star destroyer above. No attack or anything.

Logic dictates they mined it clean, and it no longer held any strategic importance. Their leaving says they were done with what they needed. Either they had enough crystals to focus the reactors for the full power Death Star beams, or they had everything they could take. If they needed more, and there was more, they would take more, even if it took longer.

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