This question What objects can & can't penetrate ground based shield generators? has an answer that established Star Wars energy shields to date to be kinetic - nothing can pass through it above a threshold speed. Starkiller Base, however, uses shields that has a refresh rate, oscillating between active and inactive states at a given rate.

In Star Wars, hyperspace travel is essentially normal space travel at FTL speeds. Given these facts, a few points need clarification:

  • Does Starkiller Base use the same shield technology as those used by kinetic shields during the Clone Wars & the Galactic Civil War?
  • If no, is this considered a post-Empire technological advancement, and is it a known technology to the wider galaxy?
  • If yes, then why is there both an upper and lower speed threshold to the world technology without contradicting each other?
  • Also, if yes,

    why can't you just sneak Ham & company onto the planet (the Resistance managed to sneak ships to the system to gather intelligence) and walk through the shields on foot rather than do what they did, the odds of survival are so remote? The only other person I've seen in canon jump with such proximity and precision is Anakin, a Jedi.

  • 4
    Ham & company Ooh, that Ham is a little Chewie! :D
    – Jane S
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:09
  • 4
    Just because it's oscillating at a given rate, it doesn't mean anyone can just walk through it. Plane propellers are rotating at a given rate. Try just walking through those.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:58
  • @phantom42 Nice analogy!
    – Jane S
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


Going to attempt an answer. Though must point out firstly

In Star Wars, hyperspace travel is essentially normal space travel at FTL speeds.

Hyperspace is an alternate portion of space that runs along normal space, so technically isnt normal space travel as it is outside of normal space.

Now to answer your points:

1) No it uses phased shields that stop anything travelling slower than lightspeed passing through. This is because a whole planetary shield requires so much energy. In the Force Awakens film Han refers to it as having a "fractional refresh rate" which means that rather than being a continuous energy shield, it is produced in pulses.

The shields from the prequels and OT do not work in this manner. They appear to stop things travelling ABOVE a certain speed from entering. As demonstrated by battle droids walking through the gungan shields in the film the Phantom Menace and confirmed in the novelization of the film:

The Gungan shield wall was designed to deflect large, slow-moving objects of density and mass such as artillery vehicles and small, fast-moving objects generating extreme heat such as projectiles from weapons fire. But it would not deflect small, slow-moving droids.

The rebels shield on Hoth during Empire Strikes Back appears to function the same, as the shields have to be dropped for the transports and X-Wings to leave but the AT-AT walk through them with no problem.

2) Im not sure if there is evidence if it is pre or post empire, BUT Han knows about it, so its not something that the First Order have developed in secrecy, and not only available to Starkiller Base

3) and 4) the answer wasn't yes so not valid. HOWEVER it was a whole planetary shield, so Han, Chewie et al would not be able to land anywhere on the planet as the whole planet is covered

  • Are we certain this shield is a completely new tech and not merely a new detail added to canon about existing shield tech, nor the same tech implemented in a different way from what we have seen to date because it's so much bigger? Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:29
  • @thegreatjedi i couldnt find anything thats why is said I'm not sure if it is pre or post empire. It definitely works differently to the shields employed by the Gungan Grand Army or on Hoth as these shields can be walked through therefore not stopping anything slower than lightspeed from passing Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 12:31
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    Any feedback on the down vote so I can try to improve the answer? Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 13:32
  • 1
    Not the downvoter, but there are no citations to any sources.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 14:06
  • 2
    I'm not sure what additional citations could be needed. Would info on paper be more definitive than SEEING slow-moving individuals and vehicles reach locations protected by shields, and characters stating out loud what they know about the Starkiller shields? I mean, that's information directly derived from the events of the films, not an assumption or inference.
    – recognizer
    Commented Jan 15, 2016 at 16:20

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