"Traveling through hyperspace ain't like dusting crops, boy! Without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova, and that'd end your trip real quick, wouldn't it?"

Something I've never really understood is how Han can seemingly manually pull out of hyperspace at exactly the right instant. You see him moving the controls back to pull out of hyperspeed.

In The Force Awakens:

Han pulls out of hyperspace seemingly manually at the exact moment to get within a planetary shield, without crashing into the planet. This is an incredibly small margin of error.

Is there even an in-canon explanation for how this is possible?

Hyperspeed in Star Wars is fast and it seems, even for someone such as Han Solo, it'd be impossible to successfully time the exit correctly. I understand that it looks cooler to see Han move a control to exit (than just a computer controlled exit) but it really seems implausible.


5 Answers 5


He... erm ... pre-programmed it.

As the wide-eyed Finn scrambled for a seat and harness and found himself wishing for a number of very large, soft pads, Chewbacca groaned his readiness. Han studied the readouts before him. The Wookiee raised a hand over his own console. “And…” Han followed the declining fractions intently. “Now!”

Human and Wookiee hands flew over the main console, supplementing as best they could the approach and landing information they had preprogrammed into the Falcon’s instrumentation. Not unexpectedly, more than one last-second override was required in order to make the ship do something that was against its nature and perform maneuvers for which it had never been designed.

SW: The Force Awakens - Official Novelisation

Most of his work at the console seems to be aimed at stopping the ship from aborting the approach rather than actually timing the landing.


I am not aware of any canon source explaining the manual exit from hyperspace, but I have an answer:

Manual hyperspace exits at a precise moment aren't as difficult as it looks. The movie never showed that Han didn't do pre-jump calculation. Han just needed to manually override during last seconds.

The manual exit should be computer-aided. Starships use famous Fly by Wire technology of 60s. When Han Solo pulled the controls, it wasn't like he pulled a lever which was connected to engine with gears, ropes and pulleys. The pulling of control signalled the computer to start the procedure of exiting hyperspace. So, it shouldn't be thought that Han Solo pulled the control just after the Falcon passed the shield.

As for how Han Solo was able to pull the trigger precisely during the last seconds (even with computer aid, the margin of error is high), the answer is gut feeling. Here, experience matters and this is what movie tried to show. What's special about Han Solo? He has got lots of experience with reckless things.

  • This would be like me telling you "see that 0.1mm long wide spot on the road up there? make sure to shift exactly as your front tire crosses that spot as you travel at 70mph" -- I don't care how good of a car driver you are, you will never consistently accomplish this.
    – enderland
    Jan 18, 2016 at 1:51
  • @enderland The cars you are talking about don't have Fly by Wire technology. Read the answer again. He never needed to pull the controls after crossing the shield.
    – user931
    Jan 18, 2016 at 17:48
  • The pulling of control signalled the computer to start the procedure of exiting hyperspace <-- I fail to see how that's any different. Whether you press a button or pull a lever, it's nearly the same reaction time needed..
    – enderland
    Jan 18, 2016 at 17:49
  • @enderland In case of lever, you need to pull it exactly when ship crosses the shield (so reaction time is unachievable). But, in case of computer aided control, you'll talk in last seconds thing. Although this will be difficult, it won't be impossible. You can see such reactions in baseball or cricket. Nobody sees the coming ball during the last seconds (due to limitation of eye coverage area), but they hit it anyway.
    – user931
    Jan 18, 2016 at 17:56
  • Try hitting a baseball traveling at lightspeed. Quora suggests a ship traveling at lightspeed is traveling at 6 quintillion meters/hour. This means... that the ship is traveling at 10^18/60/60/1000 km/second (277,777,777,778 km/second). I think it's pretty clear that there is no chance he can time an exit of maybe 1000km or less correctly. Even if the quora answer is off by many orders of magnitude it's still impossibly precise for Han to trigger.
    – enderland
    Jan 18, 2016 at 18:03

There hasn't been any explanation in Legends or canon why manual start/stop controls for hyperspace travel exists. However, a few possible reasons for why Han used manual mode in the Millenium Falcon can be inferred through analysis.

  • I trust my fate only to my own hands and to luck: That's a very smuggler-like mentality. Don't be fooled - Han was never confident in can survive - that's why he never elaborated to Leia why crazy he is up to now. He only proceeded with this almost-definitely-suicidal approach because he can't think of any other way to bypass Starkiller Base's shield alive and undetected.
  • The galaxy isn't at the pinnacle of technology yet: The hyperdrive is only 4 millenia old. Ever faster hyperdrives are being developed all the time, and interdiction technology is still in its infancy. What's to say automatic controls are still in development or expensive like all new inventions?
  • Han Solo is an expert pilot who prefers everything manual and customised: This seems most likely to me. Think of it like a F1 driver where the vehicle is stripped down to the barest essentials for speed and the driver is responsible for handling much more controls of the vehicle that aren't automated. The same can be said of the Falcon - he stripped away parts for speed and for smuggling cargo space, and he probably prefer to have the controls being manual in the first place. Don't forget, he is the fastest pilot on record for the Kessel Run, a hyperspace route that involves a lot of jumps and very fine-tuned navigation. Don't underestimate Han. It IS possible he is really able to manually do what he did.

Most importantly, HAN IS NOT HUMAN. He is a different species which we, the viewers, call humans out of convenience to our popular culture. In-universe, he isn't one of us. I have personally seen a toddler win tower defence games on smartphones these days - What makes you think space-faring species can't evolve to adapt to the demands of hyperspace-dependent civilisation?


Han Solo is an extremely good pilot.

If you have ever drive a manual gear car, you "know" that is impossible to change gears without pressing the clutch, isn't it? Well, in fact it is possible to do it, if you are a really good pilot. You only have to guess the right speed in which the gears are sincronized and boom, you have a clutchless change that seem like magic to the ones who only drive automatic.

Space is not as full of stars and supernovas as somebody could think. A good pilot know that and he can pull the trick of his hat with a lot of wishful thinking, a little lack of moral and no fear of death, which are known qualities of Han Solo. The fact that he can do it is not a validation of his ability, but just a confirmation of his good luck... so far.

  • 1
    This would be like me telling you "see that 0.1mm long wide spot on the road up there? make sure to shift exactly as your front tire crosses that spot as you travel at 70mph" -- I don't care how good of a car driver you are, you will never consistently accomplish this.
    – enderland
    Jan 18, 2016 at 1:45

Yes, the Solo family is also strong with the force, they just didn't ever produce a Jedi.

It explains why Han Solo is constantly able to get out of sticky situations.

  • 1
    But isn't Kylo Ren son of Han Solo?!
    – user54256
    Dec 24, 2015 at 17:12
  • And doesn't that help reinforce that the force is strong with the Solo's as well?
    – Escoce
    Dec 24, 2015 at 17:13
  • Yes, but your statement "they just didn't ever produce a Jedi" is false
    – user54256
    Dec 24, 2015 at 17:16
  • 1
    @NicolaBastianello He wasn't really a Jedi though, was he? Also how do we know Kylo's affinity for the force came in part from Solo? Could it not have wholly come from Leia? I mean HER family sure does have a strong connection to the force.
    – Keeleon
    Dec 24, 2015 at 17:21
  • My assertion comes from Han's ability to get out of trouble. Ben is not a Jedi.
    – Escoce
    Dec 24, 2015 at 17:25

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