50

It always made me curious to hear:

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away ...

Which implies that the Star Wars universe is in a separate galaxy to our own. Then I was reading Are there Star Wars medical doctors and can/do they scan for midichlorians? which included this image in one of the answers:

R2D2 and C3PO are gazing out at what appears to be a galaxy that the ship (I presumed) was approaching. That seemed to suggest that 'galaxy hopping' was as practical as 'star hopping'. But if you view the image at full size (or have good eyes) it becomes clear that there are stars between the observer and the galaxy in the background, so the droids are simply viewing a (very close) galaxy from the outskirts of the current galaxy, and it is not evidence of intergalactic travel.

This leads me back to the question:

Are any ships in Star Wars capable of intergalactic travel (in the age depicted in the movies)?

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    I don't think it's likely they are inside of another galaxy viewing that one: for one thing stars can exist outside of a galaxy; and then you'd also expect to see lots more stars in the sky and for the pull of the two galaxies to be distorting one another... – Zorawar Aug 28 '15 at 12:47
  • Pure speculation, but perhaps The Ravager – Kik Aug 28 '15 at 14:45
  • Nah, you can see it moving. That means it's got to be pretty small, i.e., moon-sized, and super-insanely dense. That doesn't preclude some Star Wars magic, however... – Chris B. Behrens Aug 28 '15 at 15:14
  • Could it be possible that the image is not depicting an entire galaxy, but instead a supermassive black hole that just so happens to have a lot of stars and other gases orbiting around it? – Ellesedil Aug 28 '15 at 16:55
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    That's not a galaxy; it's an early solar system. It's just one star with some gas that hasn't yet coalesced into planets. – Ryan Reich Aug 29 '15 at 2:42
46

Kind of... In theory, all ships are intergalactic*, but all of them would run out of resources before they got anywhere worthwhile.

In the Expanded Universe, there was one attempt at intergalactic travel, The Outbound Flight Project; however, it was stopped before they could leave the galaxy.

*There is no mention of the Outbound Flight having any kind of special hyperdrive or other kind of special engine. It was just 6 Dreadnaughts and a space station.

There is one race of aliens from the EU capable of travelling between galaxies, the Yuuzhan Vong. However, their journey took them entire millennia, because their "engines" couldn't get a good lock-on on another galaxy's gravity well. The Yuuzhan Vong have been infilitrating the Star Wars Galaxy for decades before the invasion, even before the Order 66.

There is an energy barrier surrounding the galaxy and preventing safe hyperspace travel, but it can be penetrated. After that, you should be golden (see Phyneas' answer, part about YV, Silentium and Abominors).

That image from the movie is most likely just a not-well-thought-out backdrop. "Rule of cool" and such. You would have to get really god-damn far away (5 or 7 times the diameter of it) from a galaxy to have such a clear and nice view, and yet there were stars around them.

However, Leland Chee (SW "canon master") said that the Rebels had to flee the galaxy to find safe haven (Star Wars message boards, 2003), which is an inconsistency. In other sources, this object is identified as a cluster called the Rishi Maze (2002, Episode II DVD Exclusive Content). In the The Complete Star Wars Trilogy Scrapbook (1997), it's simply identified as a spinning star cluster. Wookiepedia even has exact coordinates.

So yeah. According to EU and Leland Chee, SW-universe ships are capable of intergalactic travel. The reasons why it's not usually done are related to resources and environmental dangers, rather than the lack of technology.

  • 2
    Great answer! I prefer to just think of it as the Rishi Maze. Problem solved. – Omegacron Aug 28 '15 at 13:51
  • There is non-EU evidence of intergalactic travel. See my answer. – ThePopMachine Aug 28 '15 at 14:42
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    @ThePopMachine I wouldn't exactly call "Episode V: Empire Strikes Back" EU... – Petersaber Aug 28 '15 at 15:28
  • @Phyneas FTL, like, a standard hyperdrive? Yes, they had it. One per Dreadnaught. – Petersaber Aug 28 '15 at 17:48
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    This answer is funnier if you read EU as "European Union". – o0'. Aug 28 '15 at 23:17
32

There is another answer which doesn't rely on the Extended Universe.

As you can see from this highly upvoted (+155) answer to this question

Are E.T. and Star Wars in the same universe?

there is ample evidence that these aliens in the Galactic Senate enter image description here

are the same race as E.T. (Honestly, just read the linked answer.)

Therefore the species officially called The Children of the Green Planet from the planet called Brodo Asogi travelled intergalactically to Earth since we know the Galactic Senate of the Republic on Coruscant is in a galaxy far, far away.

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    It seems to me that there is no evidence that the E.T.s possessed intergalactic travel ability during the time of the SW conflicts. Don't forget the part of the quote "A long time ago.." – Andrew Thompson Aug 28 '15 at 14:43
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    That answer relies heavily on Legends material, though. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial probably isn't Disney canon. – August Janse Aug 28 '15 at 14:44
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    @AugustJanse - We Are The Rebels. We Don't recognize disney canon tyranny. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 28 '15 at 15:03
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    @ThePopMachine E.T. takes place in modern times. Well, relatively. Star Wars takes place a long, long time ago (as we are reminded in each intro) - so E.T. doesn't take place in "the age depicted in the movies", which the question explicitly asks about – Petersaber Aug 28 '15 at 15:30
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    " We have seen that species in two different galaxies. Therefore they have traveled intergalactically" We've also seen humans in two different galaxies. By your logic, that means they've traveled intergalactically as well. – phantom42 Aug 28 '15 at 18:53
9

Are any ships in Star Wars capable of intergalactic travel (in the age depicted in the movies)?

To answer your question directly, yes, but it depends on what you mean by intergalactic, and any answer is constrained by my second and third points below.

Part A

Within the overall Galaxy there were seven satellites galaxies as part of the main galactic disk (the hyperspace disturbance mentioned below was outside of this whole construct) and there was travel to and from these satellite galaxies:

  • The Nagai accomplished it, coming from the Firefist galaxy.

  • In the era of the movies, the Rebel Alliance had a base in the Rishi Maze.

Part B

As a supplement to Petersaber's answer, there is also something of a constraint on travelling outside of the SW galaxy, and it is called the Hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy. This is an energy barrier that apparently makes travelling outside the galaxy impossible. The Outbound Flight Project, which did not succeed (thanks to Darth Sidious/the Chiss as described here), was an attempt by the Jedi to penetrate this barrier (using the Force).

The Yuuzhan Vong, however, succeeded in finding a way around this barrier at Vector Prime and apparently the Silentium and Abominor, two extra-galactic droid races, must have as well since they came from the same galaxy as the Yuuzhan Vong and settled in the Unknown Regions of the SWG.

Part C

To expand on Petersaber's point about running out of fuel; unlike Yuuzhan Vong ships that used gravity for propulsion (gravity doesn't run out, though it is never explicitly stated how the dovin basals use gravity other than the mention of micro black holes, so we don't know the exact physics of it), ships in the SWG depended on hyperdrives (a technology they had reverse-engineered from the Rakata and which they did not fully understand) which employed hypermatter and some form of reactant fuel, usually antimatter, for propulsion.

I can't find any evidence of how they actually mined hypermatter (which is only found in hyperspace) or that they had some sort of antimatter scoop technology, both of which would presumably be required for them to refuel their ships along the way. When you consider this, alongside the vast amounts of fuel used (the Venator-class Star Destroyer's main reactor annihilated the equivalent of 40,000 tons of matter each second as quoted here), there were most likely real constraints within the SWG of effectively accomplishing true intergalactic travel.

N.B.1. Although it apparently had FTL capability and consumables for 10 years, I have no idea how Outbound Flight was supposed to accomplish its second mission - to seek out extragalactic life - unless they had a more conservative idea of what that meant, for instance finding Ship in the intergalactic void, or they just didn't know what they would find.

N.B.2. It isn't entirely clear how far away the Yuuzhan Vong galaxy is, for instance, only that it took the Vong millenia to travel the intergalactic void at sublight speeds, and that the living planet Zonama Sekot apparently arrived before they did, though whether it arrived as a seed or a whole planet I do not know, nor what propulsion system it used. The Langhesi shaped Sekot to possess a hyperdrive but it is unclear what propulsion system it may have used before that.

N.B.3. With reference to the picture that you quote, the galaxy that they are looking at could be the Rishi Maze, or it could be the SWG itself seen from the Rishi Maze. I don't think the issue is entirely settled, and an interesting discussion on it can be found here and here. In any event, as travelling to and from satellite galaxies was possible/accomplished, it does not impact the substance of the question.

  • Didn't Vongs travel at sublight speed because their dovin basals bollocks couldn't get a lock-on on SW Galaxy? – Petersaber Aug 28 '15 at 15:31
  • @Petersaber - Yes, the hyperspace disturbance prevented the Vong's from locking on to any point in the SWG, the Vong only discovered Vector Prime after they arrived. I can't find much information on how the Vong did FTL other than 'superluminal' transit using dovin basals (handwavey gravity-powered), but according to the darkspace article, dovin basals had the same limitations as hyperdrives, so it would make sense that the disturbance affected them the same way it affected galactic ships. – Phyneas Aug 28 '15 at 15:47
  • It'd be good to note that Sidious and the Chiss disrupted Outbound Flight because they thought it might succeed (among other reasons) – Petersaber Aug 28 '15 at 17:12
  • @Petersaber - Good point, I will reference the sequence of events in my answer. – Phyneas Aug 28 '15 at 17:39
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    @AndrewThompson - Thanks :), and I will edit N.B.3. to make clear that I am only referencing the distinction between travelling to satellite galaxies and other galaxies not part of the main galactic disk - I should have been more explicit about that. – Phyneas Aug 28 '15 at 17:59
3

Disney Canon:

Possibly, but it isn't relevant, because intergalactic travel is seen as a death sentence.

Even some areas within the galaxy are avoided by sane people:

It lies at the margins of the Western Reaches, flung so far into the galaxy she’s not really sure if they’re even in the galaxy anymore. The system is close to Unknown Space—the uncharted end of the galaxy, beyond which lurk terrible nebula storms and gravity wells. Those who have tried to traverse the space outside the galaxy have never returned, though distorted, half-missing communications have come back—messages warning of geomagnetic anomalies and slashing plasma winds.
- Star Wars: Aftermath: Life Debt

In another canon novel, Star Wars: Bloodline, a pilot reacts to a story about ancient warriors leaving the galaxy as follows:

"Which means they spent eternity wandering around in the void of space... Who names themselves after those guys?"
- Star Wars: Bloodline

Building an intergalactic ship would be like installing a diving board over the Sarlacc Pit: sure, you could do it, but you'd die if you tried to use it.

  • I just deleted a comment, given you could change the opening to "Effectively no, because.." which would make it on-topic. That minor quibble aside, up voting. – Andrew Thompson Jul 21 '16 at 7:38
0

The hyperspace disturbance beyond the edge of the galaxy was at the very edge of the galaxy, which did not include the galactic halo and the seven satellite galaxies. But this disturbance did not hamper all travel, because there was the yuzon vong entry point, and the hyperlane that leads to the Rishi Maze dwarf galaxy from the planet Rishi in the main galaxy.

  • 1
    Hmm. Can you provide support for this? – Adamant Nov 20 '16 at 3:08

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