In The Force Awakens, after the First Order are alerted to BB-8, Rey, and Finn's presence at the cantina, an aerial bombardment of the compound begins. They also deploy ground troops.

Wouldn't it have been better to not have an aerial bombardment and simply have the troops surround the cantina, keeping as many people as possible bottled up inside it while they searched both the interior and surrounding area for BB-8?

Instead of a surgical extraction, the strategy that they chose seemed to create chaos and even risked destroying BB-8.

Perhaps this was a sign of the inexperience and emotionally-charged state of Kylo Ren, but General Hux seemed to have more direct authority over the deployment of troops and fighters.

So what was the strategy behind these tactics?

  • 9
    Maybe it just worked so well on Jakku, they decided to do it again. Dec 22, 2015 at 19:05
  • 23
    Because JJ. Abrams could show cool explosions with WHOOOOOSH TIE sounds. Is that canon enough for an answer? :) Dec 22, 2015 at 19:13
  • 1
    The Empire did something similar to what you're proposing when searching for R2D2 at Mos Eisley in Ep IV. The stormtroopers went door to door politely knocking and asking civilians for information. And R2D2 still escaped. I guess the Empire had a soft touch compared with the First Order. :)
    – RobertF
    Dec 22, 2015 at 19:31
  • @RobertF: the difference is that the Empire tried to keep a face that the general population would accept and avoid rebellion and riot (the Rebels are not called the Resistance, or Fighters from Freedom, or anything like that). The First Order just don't care.
    – Taladris
    Dec 23, 2015 at 0:30

1 Answer 1


Good catch!

However, your one guess was right on the nose: they were perfectly happy to destroy BB-8. Their main goal was preventing it from reaching the Rebels, catching it was secondary.

According to the Alan Dean Foster novelization of The Force Awakens, earlier in the story, back on Jakku (well, on Star Destroyer above it), we see Whiney Ren and General Hux discussing recovering the droid after Finn and Poe escape:

“The Supreme Leader made it explicit that the Resistance not acquire the map to Skywalker. Capture the droid if we can. Destroy it if we must.”

Ren paused to consider the general’s words. “A simple enough task, or so it would seem. Find one droid. Just how capable are your soldiers, General?”


Ren interrupted the general’s impassioned defense. “Keeping the map out of the hands of the Resistance shouldn’t be a problem, then. Yes?”

Note that First Order military is quite happy to destroy the droid, and Ren acquiesces.

  • 3
    +1 for "Whiney Ren" (also because the same exchange happens in the movie).
    – Andres F.
    Dec 23, 2015 at 0:17
  • 4
    @AndresF. Kylo Ren is a horrible villain. And when he takes his mask off, it’s like the big reveal is he’s the whiny teenager from The Simpsons. Dec 23, 2015 at 0:28
  • 8
    I actually thought Ren was done well. Vader was cold, collected, and uncaring, his presence is enough for you to know exactly what's about to happen. Ren is the opposite, he has strong emotion - violent outbursts and his indecisiveness makes him even more dangerous - you don't know which action he is going to make until he does it. Sure, the 'rebelling teenager' is a tough sell, but overall I think the character has some great qualities.
    – Robotnik
    Dec 23, 2015 at 4:24
  • 1
    Plus I guess there might be an element of wanting to punish the place that’s harbouring wanted fugitives, to spread fear and such. Dec 23, 2015 at 15:30
  • 1
    A very similar exchange happens in the movie as well. Hux made it clear that destroying the droid was acceptable, though Ren definitely wanted to catch it. Dec 23, 2015 at 15:31

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