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In Revenge of the Sith, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Palpatine were trapped by a ray shield on the Separatist ship the Invisible Hand:

60 INT. BRIDGE-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER

BODYGUARD: General, we found the Jedi. They're in hallway 328.

GENERAL GRIEVOUS: Activate ray shields.

61 INT. HALLWAY-TRADE FEDERATION CRUISER

They run down the hallway. Suddenly, ray shields drop around them, putting them in an electronic box in the middle of the hallway.

ANAKIN: Ray shields!

OBI-WAN takes a deep breath to express his total disappointment.

OBI-WAN: Wait a minute, how'd this happen! We're smarter than this.

It seems as if this shield was purposefully built to trap individuals (since the projected shield is an "electronic box"):

enter image description here

But why would the ship's designers put a ray shield in the middle of a random, unimportant hallway 328? Was the shield actually built to trap individuals or for something else?

If I had to guess, I would think that a ray shield in the middle of a ship's hallway might be useful for defending the ship against a boarding party...but this shield doesn't block the entire hallway, it just blocks the middle of it. Or can the shield generator project a planar shield so that it forms a wall? But even then, why not just use a blast door like the ones used on the Death Star?

Are there any other ships in the Star Wars universe that used ray shields in their hallways and, if so, what did they use them for?

  • Were they really meant to trap individuals?
  • Were they used to help defend the ship against a boarding party?
  • Were they just crappy plot devices used to force the Jedi to introduce us to General Grievous, poke fun at the dumb Jedi for getting trapped, and break plot consistency?
  • Were they used for something else?
  • 5
    I'll take "Crappy Plot Devices" for $800, Alex! – Lexible Sep 4 '15 at 21:00
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    You're assuming that the ray shields need to be installed at a fixed location and cannot be projected at a distance. I'm not sure that's necessarily a sound assumption. It might be that a single ray shield generator can be used to capture individuals at any point inside the ship, as well as providing defense against outside attack - though presumably only one or the other at a time. – Harry Johnston Sep 4 '15 at 21:33
  • Your question also speciously implies the ray shield could not be spread out to accommodate more than two targets. A good technology covers the area it needs to do the job an nothing more. It seems like a simple enough anti-boarding party technology. – Thaddeus Howze Sep 4 '15 at 22:17
  • @HarryJohnston That would be a good explanation, if you could find any evidence for it. If you find such evidence, please post it as an answer and I will happily accept it. – Null Sep 5 '15 at 1:32
  • @Thaddeus My question considers the possibility that the shield generator could form different shapes, such as a "planar shield so that it forms a wall". But I can't think of evidence of that, or accommodating multiple targets, etc. The point of my question is whether any such evidence exists, otherwise we are all just speculating. – Null Sep 5 '15 at 1:35
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The original corridor "ray shields" (as described in the script and novel) created exactly the sort of force-field box that you would expect to see used to defend the ship against boarding parties.

Having it go around our hapless heroes (like a bubble) seems to have been a stylistic choice on the part of the Director:

A sheet of shimmering energy suddenly flared in front of them, blocking the corridor on the far side of the intersection they were trotting across, and Obi-Wan stopped so short that Anakin almost slammed into his back. He reached over and caught Palpatine by the arm. “Careful, sir,” he said, low. “Better not touch it till we know what it is.”

Obi-Wan unclipped his lightsaber, activated it, and cautiously extended its tip to touch the energy field; an explosive burst of power flared sparks and streaks in all directions, nearly knocking the weapon from his hands. “Ray shield,” he said, more to himself than to the others. “We’ll have to find a way around-“

But even as he spoke another sheet shimmered into existence across the mouth of the corridor they’d just left, and two more sizzled into place to seal the corridors to either side.

They were boxed in.

...

Obi-Wan nodded, scowling darkly at the ray shield box as though seeing it for the first time; after a moment, he took out his lightsaber again, ignited it, and sank its tip into the deck at his feet. The blade burned through the durasteel plate almost without resistance-and then flared and bucked and spat lightning as it hit a shield in place in a gap below the plate, and almost threw Obi-Wan into the annihilating energy of the ray shield behind him.

Please note that while we do see other "ray shields" being used (on the external Bay entrance, for example) this is the only time we see them used inside a ship to hamper boarders.

  • Is the quote from the novelization? This is a good find. +1. It makes much more sense to have shields blocking the entire corridor, and having the Jedi boxed in because they are in an intersection. That would suggest use against boarding parties. However, the shield below the floor doesn't seem useful for most boarding parties...only for boarders who happen to be Jedi with lightsabers that can cut through durasteel. Thus it still seems contrived. – Null Oct 19 '15 at 14:00
  • @Null - To the best of my knowledge, this is the only time we see ray shields used to hamper boarders. – Valorum Oct 19 '15 at 14:05

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