Death Star Scientists
When I was reading Catalyst, it came to me how different is the story of the scientists working on the Death Star in current canon than in the EU.
Galen Erso and his colleagues are just doing their job, most of them don’t know what their work is going to be used for, that it’s going to be a weapon. Their knowledge is only on the need to know basis. They don’t have much choice, as refusing to participate is regarded at best as unpatriotic and at worst as a treason. The way they are recruited and how they are behaving is just so normal. Galen himself is a very principled man that cares about bringing positive change to the world.
In comparison, the scientists in the EU are a colourful bunch but without a shred of compassion. Bevel Lemelisk, the head architect of the Death Star, doesn’t have any moral dilemma about building a weapon of mass destruction. It’s actually something he wanted to do and the Empire gave him the green light for it. What Palpatine did to him as a punishment was both horrible and outlandish (and makes a good story imo). Lemelisk in the end was executed by the New Republic for genocide. The scientists at the Maw Installation are apathetic to morals bureacrats and only care about the advancement of their research (and bringing down each other). The only good scientist, Qwi Xux, despite her genius, was just naive as she thought the Death Star will be used to mine ores from asteroids and dead planets. The whole story of Tarkin kidnapping Omwati children and placing them in an orbital education centre where the failure on a test meant watching the destruction of their village makes a tragic backstory for her. Qwi is another victim of the Empire, taken as a child and shaped to obey and serve it with her intelligence, but when she realized the truth she felt responsible and acted to prevent the Empire from using her weapons anymore.
I’m not saying one version of the scientists is better than the other, but it’s interesting to see the differences and similarities. The canon takes a more realistic approach, while EU seems more like a fantasy, though in both some of the scientists thought their work was going to be used for good.