The Death Star and the Final Trench Run (2017)
Nearly everybody points at the equatorial trench of the Death Star. Computer Graphics Supervisor Vick Schutz and Visual Effects Supervisor John Knoll were chatting about the details of our computer graphics version of the Death Star, and Knoll casually remarked that the trench run in "Star Wars" is a longitudinal line on the Death Star. We now realize that the trench with the Death Star's exhaust port weakness is not located at the equator since the equatorial trench is several times wider than the final trench, but how do we know that it's a vertical, longitudinal trench. Why couldn't it be a different latitudinal trench, parallel to the equator? Or, perhaps the equatorial trench narrows on the 'far' side of the Death Star, the side of the Death Star we never see? In reality, the X-wings start their attack run down the trench much later in the sequence, but this shot is visually striking, and subtly suggests the attack run takes place down the equatorial trench. "You'll notice that after the Death Star appears in the animation, it rotates toward you to show the north pole, supposedly the location of the exhaust port, before rotating back to zoom in on the point the pilots were to enter the trench much further south for their approach." I love the method Cuba took to help tell the story here: he's using the rotation of the camera to first indicate the location of the port, then the location of the best place to enter the trench. The original Atari Star Wars arcade game also strongly implies the equatorial trench is where the final run takes place.