I find the withdrawal scenario seems pretty reasonable. Emperor Palpatine doesn't seem like someone who relies on subtlety. His influence was probably very heavy-handed and its removal like a kick to the brain.
On a side note, I kinda wish Death Star had been a collection of short stories rather than a novel. Short stories would have allowed the reader to experience the perspectives of many characters, and not just a few. Help describe life on board the station, at every level.
Personally I loved Death Star but I would love to read the short stories idea you mentioned for the reasons you mentioned