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At the end of The Force Awakens, it is shown that R2-D2 only has part of the galaxy map to the Jedi temple where Luke is hiding, and there is a very clean section missing as if it has been purposefully removed.

In later interviews, it is clarified that R2-D2 downloaded the map from the Empire when he plugged into the first Death Star.

It is also shown that the First Order is missing the exact same section of the map, hence their hunt for BB-8.

Why are both the First Order and R2-D2 missing this part of the map? Did Luke hack into the Order's mainframe and delete it so he could run and hide? Or was the Empire already missing the data before they became the First Order?


ADDENDUM:

If the Empire just never got around to finishing the map, who did? The two maps fit together perfectly (with a red line and all), so it appears they were once merged.

  • In some other questions it's been said that the map isn't to Luke, it's to the first Jedi Temple. So the map having a section missing (the section showing hyperlanes straight to the temple) would have been missing it when the Empire had it, and when R2 acquired it. At least that's my understanding. – zipquincy Jan 5 '16 at 21:52
  • @zipquincy I guess that would mean Luke took up the role of cartographer after ROTJ, which I guess is possible, but wow. That's a lot of star systems to chart for one person! (Maybe his students excluding Ren helped him before they were killed?) Also, why would the Empire draw a hyperlane halfway to the temple when they're missing the rest of the data? If I'm not mistaken, half the red line is on R2's side. – user339676 Jan 5 '16 at 23:15
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On-screen (in the movie), it's never explained where R2-D2 got the map in the first place. As you point out, though, we now know R2 has this map in his data banks because he downloaded it from the Death Star way back in A New Hope. (In fact, this is why he "wakes up" when he does: he realizes he probably has the rest of the map in his memory).

The map is almost certainly a map to the Jedi Temples, which Luke was looking for. Since the map was from the Empire's data archives, the most likely solution is that they were also looking for them all, and building up a map to their locations. This map was just missing one final "section" by the time the Empire was defeated, so they never got to finish it. This explains why both copies of the map are missing the same section.

Since they never finished their map, they never found the First Temple, and their map is incomplete. That explains why no one knew where it was, and why Luke needed to go on a "quest" to find it in the first place. What the old man found at the start of the movie was just the map data for that last "sector" of the galaxy, showing where the first temple was.


See also the closely related discussion here: https://scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/113501

  • Thanks for the answer, but it looks like the part of the map was deliberately removed owing to how clean "the last puzzle" is. If it was just a sector that needed to be charted, I would assume the borders of the missing area would be much more ambiguous. Furthermore, BB-8's map fits precisely into this gap. Heck, it even has a red line that continues from R2's map into BB-8's. This makes it look like the entire map was created at once, but the missing part was removed to protect the temple or to hide Luke's whereabouts. – user339676 Jan 5 '16 at 23:10
  • In re-reading your answer, I suppose it is possible that the last part was just never completed. But then who finished it? Apparently someone did later, because the two pieces fit together flawlessly. It's not like an alternative alien map where you'd expect parts to overlap. I'll try and update this into the question. – user339676 Jan 5 '16 at 23:29
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    @user339676 it's also possible that the map was built in "sections" with that shape, for whatever reason, and there was just one whole section missing. That would mean the missing shape was some kind of standard set of bounds, That's all speculation, though. – KutuluMike Jan 5 '16 at 23:36
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It's never explained in canon, but based on the scene where it shows Luke putting his hand on R2, it's likely that he moved that part of the map to the external storage device before depositing R2 back with Leia or whatever happened to him.

I know it's speculation, but R2 had the entire map minus a hole that was the exact size and shape of what was on the external storage device.

  • I suppose that's possible, but then why is the First Order missing the same part? I swear, this movie is giving me a headache. Maybe I should just turn off my brain and enjoy it like everyone else. – user339676 Jan 5 '16 at 23:21

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