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In The Force Awakens, Poe and Finn steal a TIE Fighter to escape the Star Destroyer Finalizer. When they begin to argue, they are shot and tumble down to the surface below.

Later, we see they crashed fairly close to the merchant village Rey frequents to sell scavenged parts and to which she has brought BB-8.

Being that the craft appeared to be damaged beyond control, is there any explanation given in the movie or in other sources (the novelization, TFA Visual Dictionary, etc.) on why they crashed within walking distance of BB-8 other than pure luck?


NOTES: This question may feel nit-picky, but I feel that the Star Wars has a trend of tying up even the most mundane loose ends, especially when it comes to where and and why things happen. Therefore, an explanation may be available in an alternate medium.

It can also be argued that a similar incident happens in A New Hope when C-3PO and R2-D2 just happen to crash in the same part of the planet where Obi-Wan Kenobi lives.

This can be rationalized, however, as their escape pod was still fully functional, and Leia could have informed R2-D2 of Obi-Wan Kenobi's general location. This is supported by Artoo's later actions as he tries to convince Threepio to walk with him in a specific direction.

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    The only explanation I can think of is that Unkar Plutt or Niima the Hutt (see starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Niima_Outpost) may have put a fat magnet or tractor beam near the village to collect falling orbital debris for easier salvaging, although this feels like an apologetic stretch. – user339676 Jan 4 '16 at 4:29
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    The Force can guide the outcomes... – I Love You 3000 Jan 4 '16 at 5:22
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    Nothing in the novelization or film script. As you correctly noted, TIE/se was fully disabled and out of control. However, it's not like it's the first or last time J.J. Abrams conviniently makes everything close, space- or time- wise (Takodana sees Hosnian explosion with naked eye, Han HAPPENS to be around to pick up Rey and Finn, R2D2 HAPPENS to have 30 year old Imperial map and HAPPENS to wake up/reboot at the right time. Poe HAPPENS to get to Tekka before Kylo Ren did. Deus ex Abrams. – DVK-on-Ahch-To Jan 4 '16 at 7:08
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    My impression was that Poe was heading there to find BB-8. – PointlessSpike Jan 4 '16 at 9:04
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    +1 to @PointlessSpike's comment. It wasn't a coincidence, Poe was aiming for BB8's last known position. – Valorum Jan 4 '16 at 10:48
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In the scene before their TIE-fighter gets hit, Poe appears to be plotting some king of trajectory onto his computer screen. A few seconds later he turns the ship towards the planet.

Presumably he was aiming for BB-8's last known position when he turned. After being hit, they'll have carried on in much the same direction before crashing.

enter image description here

The fact that Finn practically falls over the droid a few hours later is only a small coincidence, and one that can be easily explained by airily referring to the "will of the Force" guiding Rey.

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    This is the best plausible explanation I've heard so far. Thanks. – user339676 Jan 4 '16 at 15:42
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    @user339676 - Pictures are always instructive :-) – Valorum Jan 4 '16 at 16:00
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No canon explanation given.

As you are well aware, what we see in the film with regards to the TIE fighter's crash landing appears to be too coincidental for comfort.

I consulted Alan Dean Foster's official novelization of The Force Awakens in the hopes that it would clarify what we see. The relevant chapters of the novel, VI and V, offer no further explanation of the scene: miraculously, the TIE fighter simply lands within walking distance of Rey's outpost.

The only explanation I can think of is that the Finalizer (General Hux's star destroyer) may have been in a geostationary orbit over Lor San Tekka's massacred village on Jakku. The outpost where Rey works must be near to this village, simply because BB-8 had rolled himself between these two locations. The TIE figher, having departed from the Finalizer, may have plummeted along a more or less direct line to a position near the village or outpost.

This is probably the best that we can do in the absence of any official explanation.

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    Okay, thanks. I don't have the novelization, and it has continually surprised me how many of the movie's loose ends are explained therein, so I figured it was worth an ask. I'll leave this question open for now in case there is an explanation in another work. – user339676 Jan 4 '16 at 5:10
  • @user339676 : No worries. :-) – Praxis Jan 4 '16 at 5:13
  • The shuttels in the beginning flew quite downwardish so an orbit above the village is reasonable. additionally from what we see from the planet it looks like all habitats are near each other – Thomas Jan 4 '16 at 7:02
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From what we've seen so far, there's no reason to believe it anything but coincidence. And not in a bad way — it's just what happened, and because it did, that's the way the story goes. If there's crashed somewhere else, BB-8 would have had to find some other way off-planet. Maybe Po would have found her faster — who knows! Finn might have gone into hiding and stated a new life as a scavenger at some other merchant village. Rey might have stayed her whole life, waiting for what she was waiting for.

But they did crash nearby, so... this story. I mean, what if, in A New Hope, Han Solo was elsewhere at the time and Ben Kenobi had contacted some other lowlife smuggler to take them to Alderaan?

  • I see your point, but according to Wookiepedia (starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Jakku), Niima Outpost is the only town on Jakku. I suppose it is possible (and likely) that it's just a coincidence, but falling right next to a small tent village on an Earth-sized planet jabs a bit at the suspension of disbelief. – user339676 Jan 4 '16 at 5:27
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    This is part of the silliness of single-ecosystem planets, really. – mattdm Jan 4 '16 at 5:30
  • Most terrestrial planets and moons in our own solar system are "single ecosystem" (i.e., desert or ice). Earth itself was once an ocean planet and then later an ice planet. :D – user339676 Jan 4 '16 at 5:38
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    Also, the difference between Han just being at the Cantina and BB-8 being at Niima Outpost is that Luke/Obi-Wan weren't looking for Han; he's just a part of the background that gets sucked into their escapade. Finding BB-8, on the other hand, was their target objective all along. – user339676 Jan 4 '16 at 5:39

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