- "At least make sure you do it right this time."
- ―Bevel Lemelisk's final words
Bevel Lemelisk was an engineer and architect who designed, among other things, six superweapons with the power to destroy a planet: the Death Star prototype, the Death Star, the second Death Star, the Eclipse, the Tarkin, and the Darksaber. Starting his career by working for the Galactic Republic during the Clone Wars, Lemelisk studied under Nasdra Magrody, and worked alongside such illustrious designers as Doctor Walex Blissex. He aided Blissex in designing the Victory I-class Star Destroyer, which would remain a staple in military flotillas decades after its initial creation. When the Galactic Empire rose to power in 19 BBY, Lemelisk was tasked by Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin with the development of the Death Star battlestation, which would have the power to destroy entire worlds.
The Death Star's development and subsequent construction ensued for years, with Lemelisk working at the Maw Installation alongside designers including Frap Radicon and Umak Leth. When the station was finally completed, it was destroyed by the Alliance to Restore the Republic at the Battle of Yavin. Furious at the fact that the Alliance had been able to locate and exploit a fatal flaw in the design, Emperor Palpatine had Lemelisk executed, and subsequently resurrected in a clone body. Palpatine ordered Lemelisk to design a new Death Star, one that did not possess the same fatal flaw as the original. During development, the Emperor executed and resurrected Lemelisk a further six times.
Though he succeeded in eliminating the original flaw, the Alliance once again destroyed his creation while it was under construction at Endor. Palpatine died his first death there, effectively allowing Lemelisk to avoid yet another execution. After a brief stint designing the Eclipse, news of Palpatine's return reached the architect, prompting him to flee. He found work in the employ of the Hutt crime lord Durga Besadii Tai, who tasked him with the creation of the Darksaber superweapon. Though his designs were more efficient than they had ever been, inferior workmanship and materials doomed Durga's weapon before it had even had a chance to be used. Per Lemelisk's predictions, the weapon failed and was destroyed, with Lemelisk himself captured by the New Republic. Four years later, he became one of the few people executed by the Republic for genocide.
Bevel Lemelisk was a Human male who was born during the latter years of the Galactic Republic, and at some stage in his early life, Lemelisk was instructed by the esteemed engineer Professor Nasdra Magrody of the Magrody Institute of Programmable Intelligence. Amongst his classmates was the scientist Doctor Tolum Harous, and Lemelisk ultimately embarked upon a career as both an engineer and an architect. At some point, Lemelisk worked with the Geonosians, an insectoid species from the planet Geonosis, to assist in the production of their attack craft, and he eventually became involved in the development of the Death Star, a project for which he would become best known. The concept of the Death Star, a battlestation with the power to destroy entire worlds, was first conceived by the starfighter designer Raith Sienar as the "Expeditionary Battle Planetoid," and steps to bring Sienar's vision into a realty were first taken in 29 BBY, when Wilhuff Tarkin, commander of the Republic Outland Regions Security Force, promoted the idea to the leader of the Republic, Supreme Chancellor Palpatine. Having expressed a strong interest in the project, Palpatine appointed Lemelisk to pursue advances in hypermatter science that would be required in order to construct such a gigantic space station.
Over the next few years, progress was made on developing the initial Death Star concept. As architectural planning for the station commenced, Lemelisk ventured to Geonosis, were he worked alongside the Geonosians to resolve some remaining power-supply and structural concerns that plagued the design. As Lemelisk refined the plans for the station, he made several significant departures from Raith Sienar's intial vision, and he placed the Death Star's hangars in orientation with station's gravity systems, rather than at various angles along the station's surface as Sienar had planned. After the outbreak of the Clone Wars, a large-scale conflict between the Republic and the breakaway Confederacy of Independent Systems, Lemelisk began working directly for the Republic. In his new role, he aided the starship engineer Walex Blissex in the development of the Victory I-class Star Destroyer and also produced various other weapons of war for the Republic Military. Before the Clone Wars, Lemelisk had been forced to curb his appetite for destruction, and had kept his ideas for weapons of terror to himself. While working with Blissex, however, his ideas came to the fore to a minor degree, although he was still forced to keep quiet about what he truly dreamed of. When the Republic became the Galactic Empire following the Declaration of a New Order in 19 BBY, Lemelisk was finally given an opportunity to put his ideas into practice, devising a wide array of vastly destructive weapons.
A well-respected architect, Lemelisk found himself constantly in the employ of Emperor Palpatine's Galactic Empire. At some point, he ascended to the position of Master of Imperial Projects. In his Imperial service, Lemelisk designed many of the Empire's more sophisticated space stations, and he became re-involved with the Death Star project, which was now under Imperial control. Wilhuff Tarkin, who now held the position of Grand Moff, was appointed with overall jurisdiction of the scheme, but though a visionary, Tarkin was in truth a man with little real understanding of engineering. With the help of many subordinate architects and engineers, Lemelisk forged a more practical form for the station from Tarkin's initial ideas at the Maw Installation think-tank, located within a black hole cluster known as The Maw. Palpatine, hoping to keep the project running, began diverting funds into the top secret project from space exploration and public works faculties.
Lemelisk took to each of Tarkin's challenges with great enthusiasm, meeting with the Grand Moff constantly. Tarkin specifically requested things such as a single weapon with the ability to destroy planets, adequate defense against capital ships and the like, and a hyperdrive unit that could send the gargantuan station from system to system. In addition to that, Tarkin wanted the station to be self-sufficient, with adequate facilities to reproduce vital supplies. Lemelisk swiftly put the ideas into practice, and although he exceeded the Grand Moff's expectations in areas, he was forced to disappoint him at times. To sustain the massive superlaser array, the station would have to forgo all but the most rudimentary shielding systems, although Lemelisk was confident that the station's surface-to-air defenses would make up for it. Lemelisk was unable to develop a hyperdrive that could allow the station to achieve great hyperspace speeds and though he believed at best he could engineer a Class 3 hyperdrive for the station, he warned Tarkin that the station might only be able to achieve Class 5 or Class 6 speeds. The Death Star was ultimately equipped with a Class 4 hyperdrive.
During the design process, Lemelisk suffered a near-fatal choking from someone (implied by Tarkin to be Darth Vader), and was forced to rehabilitate in a bacta tank for a short while. In the interim, Tarkin had a professor continue the architect's work. Eventually, his plans were altered and elaborated on by a variety of different scientists brought to the Installation by Tarkin. Amongst Lemelisk's colleagues in the Death Star development were Frap Radicon, Umak Leth, Ohran Keldor and Qwi Xux. Lemelisk also recruited the Twi'lek scientist Tol Sivron, a close associate of Tarkin, to conduct research to assist with the development of the Death Star, though in the interests of security Lemelisk deliberately limited Sivron's access to data so that the Twi'lek would not be aware that they were working on a superweapon. Lemelisk served as something of a mentor to some of the less senior participants in the station's development, such as the Omwati Xux. So as to not scare or disgust Xux with the destructive nature of the Death Star project, Lemelisk insisted that the weapon would have legitimate, peaceful uses.
At first, Lemelisk started to design a prototype, drawing his plans on reusable durasheet scrolls. After a short period, the blueprints would fade away, preventing the information from falling into the wrong hands. The Death Star prototype was built and refined at the Maw Installation, guarded by Admiral Natasi Daala. When that had been appropriately tested, Palpatine gave his blessing to a production version. Lemelisk was given the role of chief engineer, and Lord Darth Vader was attached to the project, serving as a supervisor. To better oversee the progress of the battlestation's development, Tarkin had the architect extracted from the Maw Installation.
During the Death Star's construction, Lemelisk hosted a debriefing of Insmot Bowen, an expert on the pre-Republic period from the Obroan Institute for Archaeology, on Imperial Center. Also in attendance, representing the Imperial Military, were Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, and General Arhul Kurumenga from the Imperial Department of Military Research. During the debriefing, Bowen posited his theories about the Celestials, namely their domination of the galaxy prior to the emergence of the Republic and their extraordinary capacity to "build" star systems, much to the derision of Motti in particular who was quick to dismiss Bowen's claims. Lemelisk was curious, however, and Bowen provided the example of the Corellian system and its irregular planetary orbits, along with 16 other planetary systems that exhibited the same traits. Lemelisk wanted to know just what was supposedly utilized to artificially manufacture these star systems, to which Bowen suggested that devices such as the Cosmic Turbine responsible for the Vultar Cataclysm was of Celestial origin, and that the Corellian system's Centerpoint Station would be a suitable location for further research.
Kurumenga shared Lemelisk's curiosity, but Motti continually mocked and derided the concept. Nonetheless, Lemelisk forged ahead with the debriefing, and Bowen further suggested that Centerpoint was used by the Celestials to pull stars and planets through hyperspace. Skeptical as to the level of energy required to accomplish such a task, Lemelisk contemplated the destructive capabilities of Centerpoint within Bowen's scenario, which Bowen acknowledged. He then went on to theorize that the hyperspace barrier surrounding the galaxy and the chain of anomalies west of the Deep Core might also be attributed to Celestial influence, and even went on to suggest that the entire universe was a pattern of their design, to Motti's ire. As the debriefing continued, Bowen moved on to the topic of the Celestials' adversaries, the Rakatan Infinite Empire, and their dependency on the Force. Motti was concerned that the discussion was entering treasonous territory, clashing with the doctrines of the New Order, but Kurumenga managed to assuage those fears. Lemelisk encouraged Bowen to continue, and the Obroan expert proceeded to detail the Infinite Empire's history of enslaving hundreds of worlds across the galaxy, and driving the Celestials somehow out of the public consciousness.
Bowen utilized a holoprojector for the next part of his demonstration—he believed that the Celestials had "survived," as common motifs appeared in the ancient art of civilizations that were in contact with them. Lemelisk identified some of the reliefs from the ancient districts of Imperial Center, but was curious as to what exactly had become of the Celestials. Based on the grimoires of the Gree Enclave, Bowen's theory was that the Rakatans, when originally enslaved by the Celestials, had risen up against rival species such as the Killiks and the Kwa, and reached a level of technological advancement that was only rivaled by that of the Celestials themselves. However, a plague tore through the Rakatan populace, and while their own slave species, such as the humans, the Devaronians and the Gossam were able to reverse-engineer Rakatan technology to not require the Force, the Rakatans themselves dwindled to a minute number. Catching on to Bowen's drift, Lemelisk suggested that those species built their own respective empires with the Rakatan technology, which Bowen agreed with. Despite the extensive discussion, Motti still did not see the relevance to the issues of the Empire at the time, to which Bowen posited his final suggestion: that although the Celestials had disappeared in the wake of the uprising, there was no evidence that they had been conquered. The possibility of their return, Bowen believed, still existed.
When construction on the Death Star itself came to fruition, Tarkin and Lemelisk began moving the project from site to site to avoid sabotage attempts from the Alliance to Restore the Republic. Eventually, construction was taken to the Horuz system, where Tarkin kept constant watch over his pet project. Lemelisk employed Imperial Masticators, spherical craft refined from a Geonosian masticator design, to break down asteroids in the system and smelt ore to be pressed out as hull plates for the station, and to maximize efficiency, he designed the spheres so that they themselves could be easily dismantled and smelted down for use in construction. To make crew training easier, Lemelisk made use of existing standard Imperial designs for the station's interior. Deadlines loomed, however, as Palpatine wanted the station complete in time for his planned disbandment of the Imperial Senate.
Lemelisk found the penal workers on Despayre, the planet the Death Star orbited while being built, to be inadequate, and made sure Tarkin knew his feelings on the matter. The Grand Moff had the entire work crew executed as a result, and then took the architect along with him to a "recruitment drive" on Kashyyyk, home of the Wookiees. Lemelisk was not particularly familiar with the Wookiees, but since they had built the Maw Installation, he was aware of their enormous strength. He watched on as Tarkin's men fired on a Wookiee village, incarcerating the children while taking the men and women as slaves. Back at the construction site, the Wookiees were reluctant at first to work, but with sufficient punishment, drugs, and sonic negative-stimulation transmitters, they were soon brought to heel, speeding production up. When production slowed down once more, Vader visited Tarkin and Lemelisk, hoping to "inspire" the workers. He executed two foremen, to the architect's shock, and had their bodies put on display for all the other workers to see. Though he was appalled at the Sith Lord's methods, Lemelisk could not deny that the work from the slaves was more satisfactory after that incident. Even as the building of the weapon ensued, research continued, with Lemelisk doing some of his work at a facility in the city of Trid on the planet Danuta.
Flight and death
- "I am most displeased with your performance, Lemelisk."
The station was completed, but Lemelisk was given little time to rest, as he was quickly reassigned to work on the development of Torpedo Spheres. The Spheres, inspired by the Death Star, had been commissioned by Palpatine himself. Shortly after finishing work on them, Lemelisk was summoned to Eriadu by Tarkin, who hoped to give him a tour of the completed battlestation. The pair were en route to the Horuz system when their shuttle, piloted by Tarkin's slave, Ackbar, fell under attack from Alliance BTL Y-wing starfighters. Ackbar, who had arranged the attack as part of a defection scheme, lowered the shuttle's shields, and as a result, the craft was pummeled by the Alliance attackers, knocking Lemelisk and Tarkin around the ship's cabin. Thinking quickly, the pair jumped into the shuttle's escape pod, and were retrieved shortly thereafter by Admiral Motti, who had planned to escort them to Horuz. They then received word that the Death Star plans had been stolen by the Alliance at the Battle of Toprawa, but Tarkin was unconcerned, believing that the Rebels would be more fearful of the station if they had a full understanding of what it could do.
Despite the apparent setback, Lemelisk was on board the Death Star to observe the Destruction of Alderaan. Before Tarkin took the station to hunt down the Rebel base, however, he and his fellow designers were dropped off at Carida. This was fortunate for Lemelisk, since the Death Star was subsequently destroyed at Yavin 4. The Alliance, studying the stolen plans, had found a flaw in Lemelisk's design—the station's two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port—and had exploited it by having one of their pilots fire a proton torpedo into the opening. The station exploded as a result, killing Tarkin in the process. Fearing for his life, Lemelisk went into hiding, taking refuge in his private retreat on Hefi. However, later reports suggested that Lemelisk's flight to Hefi may have been mere rumor, and might not have occurred at all.
Despite his best efforts, agents from Imperial Intelligence located him and took him back to Imperial Center. By the time of his arrival on Imperial Center, however, Lemelisk had no knowledge of the Death Star's failure, and began preparing himself for a commendation from Palpatine. As he stood before the Emperor, a cage dropped around him, while Palpatine informed him that the Death Star had in fact been destroyed. To the architect's initial surprise, Palpatine did not want him executed, at least not permanently.
The Emperor was greatly disappointed with the failure of the superweapon, and chose to use Lemelisk as an example to others who would fail him. Furthermore, the design flaw exploited by the Alliance had stemmed from the architect's own work. Lemelisk could do nothing as a swarm of flesh-eating piranha beetles came up through holes in the floor. As soon as one of them bit the architect, all of them began to eat him, slowly tearing away at his flesh. They entered his ears and slashed his eyes, blinding him and putting him in excruciating pain for an hour. As a result of his critical wounds, Bevel Lemelisk died.
Death Star II
- "The only way for a Rebel to reach the power core is for him to fly to it before we finish construction. And even that won't be an option in a few more weeks, once we seal the armor hull."
- ―Bevel Lemelisk
Lemelisk awakened shortly afterward in a clone body, his consciousness transferred by Palpatine's dark alchemy. The Emperor realized that a man of Lemelisk's talents could not be wasted, but he had felt the need to teach the architect a lesson. While Lemelisk was recalling vivid memories of his own death, Palpatine made clear what he did want: a new Death Star, one that would not possess a single design flaw. Amazed at the fact that he was allowed to live, viewing the new project as an intellectual challenge, and motivated by fear, Lemelisk set about his task, making sure the new station fit Palpatine's requirements perfectly. Making a point not to replicate the flaws of the first battlestation, he focused on the new project entirely. Instead of the comparatively large thermal exhaust port that had allowed the Rebels to destroy the original Death Star, Lemelisk designed millions of millimeter-wide heat dispersion ducts. The ducts served the same purpose as the exhaust port, but were virtually invulnerable to blaster or torpedo attack, due to the addition of emergency baffles that would dissipate the energy of any successful hit.
With the flaws eradicated, Lemelisk set himself about improving on the original Death Star in other ways. To start with, he enhanced the station's superlaser targeting system and rate of fire. This allowed it to target and destroy moving targets, such as capital ships. The architect also made the station significantly larger in size, to accommodate the larger power supply units needed to operate the enhanced weaponry and systems. To fend off starfighter attack, Lemelisk inserted many batteries that could create a blanket of anti-starship fire. When completed and carrying its full TIE Fighter complement, Lemelisk believed that the new battle station, dubbed the second Death Star, would be invincible.
During production, Lemelisk was executed by Palpatine a further six times whenever the Emperor perceived any slowness or lack of enthusiasm from the architect. Using the dark side of the Force, Palpatine shuttled Lemelisk's consciousness through six new clones, testing the process to see if he himself would be able to survive it one day. Lemelisk's deaths took on a different form each time—he was thrown out of an airlock, lowered into a vat of molten copper, and trapped in a vault with clouds of acid mist, amongst a variety of other methods of execution.
While working on the Death Star II, Lemelisk was assigned by Palpatine to build the Tarkin, which was essentially a stripped-down version of the Death Star featuring only the destructive superlaser. Construction of the station commenced near to the planet Hockaleg, and Lemelisk used the station as a testbed for refining the ship-mounted superlasers for the Empire's under-construction Eclipse-class dreadnought superweapons. At some point he also recalled the experience of his first death to the anthropologist Mammon Hoole, who would eventually publish it over a decade after Lemelisk's final death. During the station's development, he found himself on Kuat, where he was the subject of a kidnapping attempt undertaken by the Trandoshan bounty hunter Bossk, who was working for the Zann Consortium. He would eventually escape and return to the Empire.
Presenting his new designs to the Emperor, Lemelisk boasted that the second Death Star could only be destroyed while it was under construction. While Palpatine believed the claim and had his workers begin construction on the new station, Mon Mothma, leader of the Alliance, also understood that the station would be vulnerable. She was able to amass a fleet over Sullust, and launched an attack on the station while it was being built over Endor. In the resulting battle, the station was destroyed, and Palpatine died his first death. Lemelisk was relieved, as he could not imagine just what the Emperor would have done to him had he survived the Death Star's failure. Palpatine would later return in a clone body, and replace Lemelisk as Master of Imperial Projects with Umak Leth.
Life after Palpatine
- "I am most displeased with your performance, Lemelisk."
- ―Durga Besadii Tai
In spite of his return, Palpatine was widely believed dead. In the wake of the Endor fiasco, Lemelisk traveled to Kuat, and joined the Imperial design team there, where the Eclipse, the first of the gargantuan Eclipse-class Star Dreadnoughts, was under construction. Lemelisk applied his superlaser expertise to the ship, granting it the power to crack a planet's crust. The New Republic, successor to the Alliance, captured Kuat, forcing the Eclipse team to retreat to the Deep Core. Lemelisk, however, chose not to follow them, as he had begun to hear rumors of Palpatine's resurrection and wanted to give his former master as wide a berth as possible. Instead, Lemelisk chose to fall in with Durga Besadii Tai, a Hutt crime lord, who controlled both the Besadii clan and the Black Sun crime syndicate.
Durga intended to have Lemelisk build him a superweapon that could match the Death Star for power. In order to generate adequate resources for the project, Lemelisk also designed Automated Mineral Exploiters—large cargo containers with moving mechanical mouthparts on one end that would seek out high concentrations of valuable metals in asteroids, and then retrieve them. Durga was adequately impressed with the machines, and put them to use in the Hoth asteroid field. During a test of the machines, however, two of the Exploiters turned on and eventually destroyed each other, incurring Durga's wrath. Though Lemelisk had asked not to be disturbed as he was working on a complex three-dimensional crystal-lattice puzzle, he was brought before the Hutt lord.
Discovering what had happened, Lemelisk tried to soften the blow of losing the two Exploiters by retroactively labeling them "prototypes." He reasoned that delays were to be expected, and he would be able to reprogram the machines so such a thing would not occur again. The architect then urged Durga to refocus on the construction of a new superweapon, for which Lemelisk would need the original Death Star plans to work from. Durga stole the plans from Coruscant, giving them to Lemelisk to incorporate into his superweapon design. Lemelisk tackled the project with the same relish and enthusiasm he had when he had designed the first Death Star.
In his new design, Lemelisk stripped away everything from the Death Star plans, until he was essentially left with just the superlaser complex, much like his design for the Tarkin. Although the station itself was smaller, Lemelisk increased its power, since the reactor core would essentially only have to power the weapon itself. Instead of choosing a spherical design, Lemelisk went with a cylindrical one. As the weapon looked much like a gargantuan lightsaber, the architect dubbed it "Darksaber." Durga was adequately impressed with the plans, and gave the go-ahead to begin construction on the superweapon.
Construction commenced in the Hoth asteroid field, with the hive-minded Taurill being used to build the superweapon. The Taurill were an idea of Durga's, and one that the architect initially deemed inspired, but many years later historian Voren Na'al would erroneously credit Lemelisk himself with the decision. The architect spent hours explaining the project to the Taurill, and though he was at first apprehensive, he soon understood that the primates would be able to complete the task with speed and enthusiasm. While Durga was away on Nal Hutta briefly, the project was overseen by General Sulamar—a boastful Imperial officer whom Lemelisk despised. Pleased to see his project take shape, Lemelisk would observe construction from Durga's Orko SkyMine ship. Sulamar claimed that he would be able to obtain surplus Imperial computer cores for the project, but Lemelisk severely doubted the general's ability to do so.
The only real problem Lemelisk had with the Taurill was that they were easily distracted by things such as asteroids colliding. When they returned to their work, they were often in different positions to where they had been beforehand, effectively creating flaws in the station. One day, while observing the construction, Lemelisk noticed that a large portion of the Darksaber's framework was in the wrong position. Incredibly frustrated, he reprimanded one of the Taurill, which was all he needed to do; due to their hive-mind, the entire colony would get his message. Lemelisk ordered them to tear apart the incorrectly built section and start again, hoping that neither Durga or Sulamar would notice the error.
In two days, the Taurill were able to disassemble and reassemble the erroneously built superstructure. At one point, Lemelisk thought Sulamar would discover the mistake, but the general failed to notice the problem. While the Taurill were still fixing errors in the construction, Lemelisk was contacted by Durga and summoned to Nar Shaddaa, where he was to inspect Sulamar's surplus computer cores. It was a trip that Lemelisk did not want to take, and he was fearful of any possible encounters with the lowlifes that walked the Vertical City's streets, but he grudgingly set out to do his duty.
To his amusement, the computer cores turned out to be archaic, and designed for use with sewer systems. Lemelisk surmised, however, that he would be able to make them work with the Darksaber's systems, after heavy modification. Durga surprised him by appearing during the architect's inspection of the modules, but Lemelisk assured him that units would be up to the task, before returning to the construction site. Despite the architect's claims, the modules would constantly crash and fail during construction.
Failure and capture
Development and construction was further hindered by Durga's reliance on inferior materials, dooming the project before it had even been completed. Working with Sulamar to overcome delays, Lemelisk faced threats from Durga, who insisted that he would suffer the same repeated deaths he had sustained under Palpatine. Lemelisk, however, doubted that Durga could pull off the feat as the Emperor had, and found himself fearing a botched job more than yet another death. Nevertheless, Durga planned to use the Darksaber to extort protection money from star systems across the galaxy. His actions caught the attention of Chief of State Leia Organa Solo, who dispatched General Crix Madine on an investigation mission.
As construction neared completion, Lemelisk took up residence on the Darksaber itself. While observing the Taurill at work, he spotted a ship entering the system and nearing the superweapon. Naturally, the Taurill were distracted, forcing Lemelisk to personally inspect their further work to see if it was following his design. The inspection depressed Lemelisk, as he realized that he actually had little real hope for the superweapon, and that Durga's reliance on inferior materials would prove to be his undoing. The architect also came to the realization that the station was more likely to destroy itself than anything else, if the construction had not followed his designs exactly.
Soon after construction was finally completed, Lemelisk, Sulamar, and Durga met to plan their extortion strategies. Before they could, alarm klaxons went off, and an explosion wracked the superweapon's engine room. Durga's subordinates reported that the Darksaber had been infiltrated, with one saboteur killed and another captured. In a fit of rage, Durga began ranting and raving about executions, causing Lemelisk to reminisce about his many deaths at Palpatine's hands. The captured saboteur was revealed to be Madine, who was brought before Durga.
Madine immediately recognized Sulamar from his days in the Empire, and revealed that the "General" was in fact little more than an incompetent technician. Lemelisk greatly enjoyed the revelation, and as Sulamar spluttered in rage, Durga ordered him to surrender his blaster and sit in the pilot's chair. As Madine shed further light on the truth of Sulamar's activities, the embarrassed "General" insisted that they execute the saboteur in an elaborate fashion. The bemused Lemelisk, who had been constantly bullied by Sulamar, scoffed at the man's suggestions, claiming that Palpatine came up with far better ideas in that regard. After a brief exchange between Madine and Durga, the crime lord nonchalantly shot the Republic general.
As Lemelisk enviously watched the permanently dead Madine being carried off the Darksaber's bridge, Durga ordered Sulamar to power up the engines. When the Hutt mentioned that he planned to begin using the weapon as soon as possible, Lemelisk began to panic, insisting that the Darksaber needed to be tested first. Durga ignored the architect, forcing Lemelisk to abandon his new master and look after himself. Claiming that he was leaving the bridge to inspect the superlaser complex, Lemelisk stole away to the Darksaber's launching bay and hijacked an inspection scooter. Piloting it away from his latest compromised creation, he decided he would take his chances out in the open of the Hoth asteroid field.
Before he had died, Madine had been able to send out a distress signal to General Wedge Antilles, who responded by bringing in his fleet to attack the Darksaber. They engaged the superweapon, but it was ultimately destroyed when two large asteroids hit it simultaneously in a sandwiching effect. Lemelisk's scooter was picked up by Antilles' frigate, the Yavaris. On board the frigate was Qwi Xux, one of Lemelisk's colleagues from the Death Star development. Xux immediately recognized Lemelisk, and accused him of deceiving her at the Maw Installation, as he had insisted that the weapons they designed would not be used for destruction. When Lemelisk responded in disbelief that despite her brilliance the Omwati was extremely naïve, Antilles told him that he would likely be tried for war crimes and executed, a fate Lemelisk accepted and resigned himself to.
- "…I have no doubt we've got sufficient evidence to order your execution as a threat to galactic peace."
"Ah, well. If you're going to kill me, at least make sure you get it right this time."
- ―Wedge Antilles and Bevel Lemelisk
By the time his career as a scientist and architect had ended, Lemelisk had created no less than six superweapons—the Death Stars and their prototype, the Eclipse, the Tarkin, and the Darksaber— that each carried the ability to destroy planets and entire populations. In New Republic custody, he was tried for crimes of genocide on Coruscant, and held on Orinackra for four years, although he was briefly given the opportunity to study the worldcraft owned by the late Lord Hethrir. He was also charged with using slave labor, prisoner labor, exploiting planetary populations and sometimes destroying them in the process, and committing other crimes in the process of constructing superweapons. He became one of the few individuals to be executed by the New Republic for war crimes, offering little more than defiant indignation in his final moments, requesting that his firing squad make sure they "do it right this time."
Personality and traits
- "How could this happen? In all my years serving the Empire, with thousands and thousands of people under my command, we performed the dirtiest, most difficult deeds. But I never had such a disastrous act of sabotage occur. Not while I was in charge."
"Well, there's a first time for everything."
- ―Sulamar and Bevel Lemelisk
An ambitious and ingenious man, well-respected for his work, Bevel Lemelisk was proud of the technical achievements he had made, especially breakthroughs in things such as superlaser technology. Though he feared Palpatine, he was confident enough to make boasts about the vulnerability or lack thereof concerning his improved Death Star II. He was not a perfectionist, however, and did not have to be due to his connections to high-ranking Imperial officials. With those connections he was safe in the confidence that he would always have a job, and so his work did not always have to produce designs and solutions that were premium. At the same time, he disliked failure, and would not tolerate it even from himself. Nevertheless, he was a practical man, and would always caution against impractical designs or technologies.
When presented with a particularly difficult challenge, Lemelisk went giddy with excitement, as he generally relished such opportunities when designing. He presented a jovial side of his character to the public, constantly joking or complementing others. But he was never truly happy unless he was designing weapons of mass destruction, forcing himself to restrain his dreams and aspirations during his work for the Galactic Republic. While working for the Empire, however, Lemelisk was allowed to make his dreams become reality, and jumped at the chance to do so. He viewed his work on the second Death Star as a test for his intelligence, displaying his amoral side by caring little for the deaths of innocent people that could have been caused by his creation. The engineer believed that those deaths and the subjugation of the entire galaxy were "irrelevant."
Lemelisk was so focused on his work that he cared very little for his own health, and grew corpulent over the years. He did not like to be disturbed while working on projects or puzzles, and would grow indignant when interrupted. While working for Durga, he found himself constantly cowering before the Hutt lord. Contemptuous of Durga, he eventually attempted to talk down to the Hutt during his meetings, but would often be humbled by his new master's violent temper. He would also clash frequently with Durga's military supervisor, Sulamar, often calling into question his suitability for the role he had been given.
The architect did not like certain non-Humans, such as the Mon Calamari. While touring the first Death Star with Tarkin, Lemelisk sat in a shuttle piloted by the Grand Moff's slave, Ackbar. Simply being near the Mon Calamari made Lemelisk sick to his stomach. Although he respected the Wookiees for their strength, he found their refusal to embrace modern technology contemptuous. During construction of the first Death Star, Lemelisk was far more concerned about deadlines than the well-being of others.
Lemelisk was also a forgetful man, neglecting to remember things such as the need to eat, or shave, or the fact that the Death Star had failed at Yavin. To pass the time when he was not designing or overseeing construction, he would work on puzzles that tested the limits of his intelligence, and would grow exceptionally angry if interrupted. Lemelisk was also a curious man when it came to galactic history—he was notable more curious and open-minded than the likes of Conan Antonio Motti, and was willing to humor the theories of experts such as Insmot Bowen. Lemelisk stood at a height of 1.67 meters, and had white hair and brown eyes.
Behind the scenes
Bevel Lemelisk was first mentioned in 1990's Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi, written by Michael Stern. Galaxy Guide 5 gave minor details about Lemelisk's involvement in the original Death Star project, and more significant ones about his involvement with the Death Star II. Bill Slavicsek's Death Star Technical Companion, released the following year, expanded Lemelisk's role with the original Death Star, and embellished upon his personality. After brief mentions in 1994's Jedi Search and 1995's Children of the Jedi, Lemelisk made his first appearance in Kevin J. Anderson's Darksaber, as a supporting character. The subplot concerning the construction of the Darksaber is mostly told from Lemelisk's perspective, intertwined with multiple flashbacks further fleshing out the architect's work on the original Death Star.
Bill Smith's The Essential Guide to Vehicles and Vessels, published in 1996, retroactively tied Lemelisk to the Tarkin superweapon. The Tarkin had first appeared 1981's Star Wars (1977) 51, nearly a decade prior to Lemelisk's creation.
In 1998, Lemelisk was given his first visual depiction, in Star Wars: Rebellion. The picture of Lemelisk, however, conflicted with descriptions in Darksaber and the Death Star Technical Companion, particularly concerning the color and style of his hair. This was later remedied in 2000's The Essential Chronology, which featured a drawing of Lemelisk by Bill Hughes that more closely followed the earlier descriptions.
Lemelisk was originally going to appear in the prologue of 2012's The Essential Guide to Warfare. Author Jason Fry wrote of Lemelisk, Admiral Conan Antonio Motti, an unnamed general representing the Imperial Department of Military Research, and Dr. Insmot Bowen discussing various mysterious events within the galaxy, with Bowen positing that they were the result of ancient Celestial technology. However, the prologue was replaced with Grand Admiral Osvald Teshik's account of the Battle of Andalia. Del Rey editor Erich Schoeneweiss felt that an account of a battle from a witness would better allow the reader to become involved with the work, and Fry begrudgingly agreed.
Anderson created a contradiction concerning Lemelisk's biography, specifically that he was not aware of the Death Star's destruction at Yavin when he was brought before Palpatine. The earlier Galaxy Guide 5 had established that Lemelisk was well aware, and had fled to Hefi to escape retribution. In 1998's Star Wars Encyclopedia, penned by Stephen J. Sansweet, Lemelisk's flight to Hefi is mentioned as being "possibly apocryphal." However, it is presented as fact once again in the Encyclopedia's 2008 update, The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, retaining the discrepancy.
A Death Star Is Born
- ―Bevel Lemelisk, suggesting a new name for the Deep-Space Mobile Imperial Battle Station
In the early stages of the Death Star's production, Lemelisk joined Wilhuff Tarkin and Tol Sivron on a journey to Imperial Center, where they met with Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine to discuss some details of the Deep-Space Mobile Imperial Battle Station. To start with, Palpatine wanted the name changed. Despite suggestions from both Lemelisk and Sivron, the Emperor went with Vader's suggestion of "Death Star," much to Tarkin's ire. After making a failed request to have safety rails installed in the battlestation's interior, Palpatine pointed out that the thermal exhaust port was "too freakin' big," and as a result, Tarkin had Lemelisk and Sivron contract it to approximately two meters in width. Leaving the meeting, Lemelisk accidentally left the holoprojector of technical readouts to the "Death Star" behind. Vader retrieved them and urged Tarkin to be more careful in the future... but the last panel implies Vader only returned an unrelated holoprojector the team had brought by mistake, and kept the one actually containing the plans for himself.
- Death Star Designer (Mentioned only)
- Death Star (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: X-Wing (Mentioned only)
- Hammertong: The Tale of the "Tonnika Sisters" (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Rebellion
- Star Wars Missions 19: Bounty on Bonadan (Mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption (Appears only in non-storyline event)
- Jedi Search (Mentioned only)
- Champions of the Force (Mentioned only)
- Children of the Jedi (Mentioned only)
- Darksaber (First appearance)
Notes and references
- The New Essential Guide to Characters
- Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi
- Children of the Jedi
- Alliance Intelligence Reports
- Star Wars: The Ultimate Visual Guide
- Rogue Planet
- The New Essential Chronology
- Death Star Owner's Technical Manual
- Death Star Technical Companion
- Dark Empire Sourcebook
- Jedi Search
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic
- Death Star Designer
- Star Wars Missions 19: Bounty on Bonadan
- Death Star
- Star Wars Encyclopedia
- The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia
- In Darksaber, Lemelisk has no knowledge of the Death Star's destruction when he is brought before Palpatine, which directly conflicts with Galaxy Guide 5: Return of the Jedi, which establishes that he did know of the failure
- The Essential Guide to Alien Species
- Rebellion Era Sourcebook
- Star Wars: The Official Starships & Vehicles Collection 9
- The Essential Chronology
- Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption
- The kidnapping of Bevel Lemelisk in Star Wars: Empire at War: Forces of Corruption is entirely optional in the game, hence its ambiguity as a Legends occurrence
- "A Death Star Is Born" — Star Wars Tales 4
- Aside from the numerous visual discrepancies of Lemelisk's description and portrayal in various publications, and his rendering in A Death Star Is Born, the Tales comic also shows Sivron involved with production before the station was named, which conflicts with the Death Star Technical Companion. Since Tales comics are labeled as Infinities and are only possibly part of Legends continuity when they do not conflict with established continuity, this article treats A Death Star Is Born as non-canon.