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In Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, the following exchange takes place:

PORKINS: I've got a problem here.
BIGGS: Eject.

I don't understand how ejecting would be preferable to being killed outright. If the mission failed, the Rebel attack fleet would presumably be routed or entirely destroyed, and the ejected pilot would be left to wait around until he was spotted by the Imperial forces and, I assume, killed on the spot.

A rescue also seems totally out of the question - before the photon torpedoes enter the exhaust port, all resources have to be directed at getting a torpedo into the port, not rescuing stranded pilots. Once the torpedo enters the exhaust port, there simply isn't time for a rescue.

This being the case, why would anyone suggest ejecting?

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  • You're mistaking the Death Star for a moon. If Porkins ejects, it'll be into space. He can then make a run for Yavin, hopefully gaining enough distance to be outside the blast radius of the Death Star.
    – Valorum
    Nov 28, 2015 at 19:34
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    Maybe Biggs is giving the order out of reflex/habit? Alternatively, maybe he's thinking 98% chance of death in what appears to be a shielded ejector seat beats 100% chance if he stays on target? Nov 28, 2015 at 19:52
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    related, possible dupe: How do ejection systems operate for Rebel pilots?
    – phantom42
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:12
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    Not a dupe, in my opinion, since none of the answers tells us anything about the X-Wing - quite the contrary, in fact: "A similar ejection mechanism may exist for the X-wing, where the entire cockpit is ejected. I can't find canon to support this notion aside from Biggs' quote and the ejection harness, though. Below is a cross section of an X-wing, which does not show any ejection mechanism."
    – Wad Cheber
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:18
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    Biggs hated Porkins, always sweeping nachos crumbs from his control panel.
    – Zikato
    Nov 30, 2015 at 12:15

2 Answers 2

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Canonically, we don't currently know, however, in the Legends continuity, "Magnetic Fields" were used to create temporary atmospheres.

Emphasis mine:

Magnetic fields were used throughout the galaxy to contain the atmosphere within starship hangars, as well as to protect pilots who were forced to abandon their vehicles while in realspace and did not have the benefit of environmental or vac-rated life-support enviro-suits.

If he can survive the destruction of his X-Wing, there's a chance he'll be rescued. A small chance is better than no chance.

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  • I hear eJECT, but +1 for thinking outside the box, and for having any idea what Porkins' first name was Nov 28, 2015 at 19:57
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    PORKINS I’ve got a problem here… my converter is running wild… BIGGS Eject, eject, Blue Six, do you read? PORKINS I’m all right. I can hold it. Give me a little room, Biggs. - Revised fourth draft of the script.
    – Wad Cheber
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:02
  • @WadCheber Edited.
    – Rogue Jedi
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:02
  • So he was calling Blue Six to rescue him?
    – SQB
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:17
  • @SQB - at that point in the script development, Porkins was Blue Six, and Wedge was Blue Three. They later became Red Six and Red Three respectively. "BLUE LEADER (V.O.) Break off, Luke. Acknowledge. We’ve hit too much interference. Luke, I repeat, break off! I can’t see him. Blue Six, can you see Blue Five? WEDGE (V.O.) I’ve lost Luke. There’s a heavy fire zone on this side. My scanner’s jammed. Blue Five, where are you? Luke, are you all right. BIGGS (V.O.) He’s gone. No wait. There he is. Fin damage, but Luke’s all right. The kid’s fine."
    – Wad Cheber
    Nov 28, 2015 at 20:22
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This was addressed by Leland Chee (AKA Lobot) in Star Wars Insider #102. In brief, there's a slim chance that portly Porkins might get rescued and live to fight another day. A thin prospect of survival is better than no chance at all.

Q. In A New Hope, Biggs suggests that Porkins eject from his X-wing. Had he been able to do so, how would Porkins have survived in space and escaped the battle?

Ask Lobot: Anyone who saw poor "Goose" buy it in Top Gun knows that ejecting from any fighter craft in the heat of battle is a risky proposition but yes, the X-wing is equipped with an ejection system. Of course, had he survived the launch of the ejection seat he would have had to pray that an Alliance retrieval vehicle would arrive to pick him up. The likelihood of that happening, with space around the Death Star crawling with TIE Fighters and about 20 minutes to go before Luke blows the Death Star to smithereens are probably worse than the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field.

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