Star Destroyers do have deflector shields. The "ray shield" deflector types are designed to prevent energy based attacks, such as blaster or laser cannon fire. But what about other types of energy emissions?

Could the shields on a Star Destroyer stop tractor beams, communication devices, or other forms of energy aside from weapons fire? What are the limits of this? Are there canon sources that clarify this?

  • Somehow I knew this question (or one like it) was coming up.
    – Tango
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:32
  • @TangoOversway I have no idea how you could have predicted this :P
    – Beofett
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:36
  • The idea just hit me while I was in the chat room earlier today. Don't know where it came from!
    – Tango
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:43

2 Answers 2


I think the key can be found in your link the deflector shield is defined as:

A volumetric field effect extended out from the surface of the shield projector, attempting to reduce the coherency of any beam attacks and deflect physical objects.

Unless the beaming effect operated in some sort of sub-space that Star Wars does not adhear to, the particles being "beamed" would be interfered with. In other words, I wouldn't personally risk being "beamed" aboard.

As far as communication, its tricky, because things that disrupt light such as lasers, should also disrupt communication signals. However, in Star Wars they obviously communicate without discussion of lowing the shields so they can do so. Perhaps they have a technique of communication that we do not have.

  • The next sentence from that quote is "The shield itself behaved in a manner similar to that of a thermally conductive material—energy applied was quickly diffused and re-radiated back into the environment, but the shield itself could also absorb some of the energy". To me, this implies that there may have been limitations on the spectrum of energy. I'm looking for canon sources detailing the limitations on that spectrum of effectiveness.
    – Beofett
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:35
  • Again, I personally wouldn't risk it, you go first!
    – Ashterothi
    Feb 28, 2012 at 18:36
  • 1
    The shields must let beams of some sort through, otherwise they would be completely blind. IF you look out a window on the Deaths Star or any ship while the shield is on and you can see the stars, it means something has to come through the shields.
    – vsz
    Aug 15, 2014 at 9:49


In Rogue One, we see that particularly large file transmissions are affected by a planetary shield:

K-2SO: We could transmit the plans to the rebel fleet. We’d have to get a signal out to tell them it’s coming. It’s the size of the data files. That’s the problem. They’ll never get through. Someone has to take that shield gate down.

Rogue One

The novelization elaborates, making it clear that the issue is data loss due to interference from the shield (so transmissions are not totally blocked). Whether this is simply due to more opportunities for data loss in larger files, or something to do with the frequency or some such of high data-rate transmission is uncertain, but probably the former:

“We’re fine,” Cassian snapped. For a moment Bodhi heard only long, ragged breaths. Then Cassian seemed to steady. “We’re changing tactics. We’re not sure—we may not make it back for extraction, but we can try to transmit the schematics from the comm tower.”

Bodhi wanted to argue—what exactly did we may not make it back mean? But Cassian kept talking. “That’s a lot of information,” Cassian said, “and even the tower won’t be able to push it through the shield without data loss. Tell me I’m right about this, Bodhi!”

Bodhi forced himself to concentrate. Audio was one thing, but sending a data cartridge through the shield would be like trying to broadcast it across the galaxy. Too much data, too much interference. “You’re right,” he said. “You’re right.”

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Clearly such signals are not blocked altogether (probably because they’re low-energy), but they are affected.

It’s not clear how much of this applies to Star Destroyer deflector shields, but it certainly seems likely that similar effects might be in play, albeit at a smaller scale.

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