Why is the TIE fighter that Poe and Finn steal tethered to the Star Destroyer?

When Poe and Finn try to escape they jump into a TIE fighter that is tethered to the dock. Is this a safety feature, or was it something like a fuel hose and they stole it into a mid refuel? Or was it a security feature to stop them being taken without authorization? As, it is noted on what seems to be the bridge that an "unsanctioned departure" was occurring

Anyway, was there anything that stated what it was that was tethered to it?

  • 9
    Plot. It's too long to protect against tumbling. Likewise it's too long as an anti-theft measure. If it's purpose is to supply something to the fighter (power, fuel etc.) it's built way too strong for the mission and it should be breakaway anyway so you don't get a mess if there's an emergency launch of the fighters. Oct 10, 2016 at 19:04
  • I would say its because some of their ships get stolen by important characters, but then I remember that 2 Jedi once Hijacked an entire Capital ship and realized there is no point.
    – Ryan
    Oct 10, 2016 at 19:13
  • 5
    It's just another non-nonsensical plot-convenient-but-absurd-in-reality thing JJ threw in for some additional "wow" factor. Don't try to read too far into these things, because there is no real reason other than "because JJ thought it would be cool".
    – SnakeDoc
    Oct 10, 2016 at 20:20
  • It was important to linger in the hangar and destroy the fighters that could potentially pursue them, but since it would take awhile for Finn to figure out how to shoot them, the screenwriters had a tether slow them down. Plus it was way more exciting!
    – scott
    Dec 18, 2017 at 21:18

1 Answer 1


Power (and possibly support)

The script for The Force Awakens implies that they are charging cables.

The TIE Fighter LIFTS OFF from the bay, rips CHARGING cables! Stormtroopers UNPACK and aim MEGABLASTERS.

In addition, if we look at the image of the TIE fighter from The Force Awakens: Incredible Cross Sections, we see that the cable appears to be attached to something called a “phase one converter,” lending further credence to this theory:

enter image description here

On the other hand, according to the novelization, the tethers are “support lines”:

Working only semi-familiar controls, he persuaded the ship to lift. Unfortunately, it was still tethered to support lines. Cables twanged as they went taut, holding the TIE fighter to the deck.

The Force Awakens (novelization)

As such, they may be intended to stop unwanted movement, say TIE fighters (for example) tumbling all over the place if the ship is hit, though it is also possible that “support” is meant in a more general sense and they are merely charging cables.

  • 9
    One would think that charging cables for a vehicle would be of the breakaway variety, to prevent damage to the cable or the ship should a legitimate pilot or support crew forget to remove it, much like the fuel hose on today's gas pumps.
    – Irishpanda
    Oct 10, 2016 at 12:50
  • 4
    I like these names. I now want to see an artist's rendering of a Stormtrooper's MEGABLASTER. So mega that it must be spelled in all caps!
    – TylerH
    Oct 10, 2016 at 14:23
  • 6
    If I was going to tie down a tie fighter, I would make the tether quite a lot tighter. I'm imagining a sort of giant Newton's Cradle of tie fighters here. Oct 10, 2016 at 15:12
  • 7
    It offers no protection against tumbling because it's way too long. Oct 10, 2016 at 19:02
  • 11
    @Irishpanda I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that while a breakaway variety would be nice, it also might not be physically feasible (even given sci-fi physics). Charging an electric car requires a fairly thick cable just to carry the amount of current needed; charging a flying space ship will presumably require at least a slightly thicker one.
    – tonysdg
    Oct 10, 2016 at 23:57

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