When the defected Imperial pilot (Bodhi Rook) was on the ship during the Battle of Scarif, he

plugged in the cable to make the data transmission possible, but the ship was blown up.

How was

the data transmitted if the ship blew up?

Was it not necessary? If not, why did he

have to plug it into the ship?

  • 9
    The pilot did not transmit the data. The pilot told the rebels to take down the shield so that the data could be transmitted, which occurs later. I do not understand how the pilot was able to send a signal through with the shield still up, but the novelization which I do not have probably explains this.
    – J Doe
    Jan 5, 2017 at 17:44
  • 3
    @JDoe "The problem is the size of the data." The request to take down the shields was probably a much smaller transmission than the plans to the Death Star.
    – Devsman
    Jan 5, 2017 at 20:12

3 Answers 3


Bodhi wasn't transmitting the plans

That was his initial intention, because the communications tower is theoretically capable of transmitting with the Shield Gate still up:

"To get a signal out, with the shield gate shut? We need to connect to the communications tower; that's the whole point of the thing, to let the Citadel keep talking to the rest of the Empire without opening the defenses"

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Official Novelization Chapter 19

Unfortunately, the Death Star plans were too complicated to transmit through the shield gate, as the novelization makes clear:

Even the Citadel's communications tower could not transmit an entire data cartridge with the shield gate in place. But Cassian had already taken measures, through Bodhi Rook, to open the gate.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Official Novelization Chapter 19

"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.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Official Novelization Chapter 20

Instead, Bodhi connected the terminal to the Citadel tower to send an audio message to the Alliance, instructing them to:

  • Open the Shield Gate by any means necessary
  • Get a ship in position to receive the data transfer

When the console readouts updated to indicate a connection between the ship and the Scarif communications tower, he wanted to weep with joy.

Instead, he hunched over the unit, adjusted his frequencies, and prayed someone would hear him. "Okay, okay," he began. "This is Rogue One calling the rebel fleet!"


He heard voices in the background—bridge officers, maybe, debating how to respond. Bodhi powered through. "You have to get in position, get ready to receive. And you have to take down the shield gate. It's the only way to get through!"

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Official Novelization Chapter 20

Bodhi and his commandeered ship are destroyed soon after this, but by that point it no longer matters; the Alliance have received their instructions.

  • I would like to ask something similar...the movie shows clearly that the antenna gets destroyed after Jyn sets it but before she transmits the data. If that antenna was so important to be reset why did the data transfer take place after its destruction? Jun 19, 2017 at 19:25
  • 3
    @ArghyaChakraborty The thing that gets destroyed is a control unit for the dish, not an antenna; once Jyn uses it to set the alignment, it serves no further purpose Jun 20, 2017 at 15:58

From what I remember, after seeing the movie a second time. The need to jack into the comms tower was so that the ships outside the shield could be relayed the need to destroy the shield.

The actual comms tower wasn't necessary in sending the plans, only needed to communicate outside the shield.

It was only after the destruction of the shield with the Star Destroyer was it possible for Jyn to send the plans


Broadcasting from the comm tower wasn't original plan. Remember: this was a one-ship invasion. Their (probably impossible) plan was to infiltrate the archives and leave with the plans.

But the unexpected arrival of the Rebels fleet prevented their escape.

Cassian Andor: Rebel fleet has arrived.

Jyn Erso: What?

Cassian Andor: There's fighting on the beach, they've locked down the base, they've closed the shield gate.

Jyn Erso: What does that mean? We're trapped?

We could transmit the plans to the rebel fleet. We'd have to get a signal out to tell them it's coming.

Cassian Andor: 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.

Bodhi. Bodhi, can you hear me? Bodhi, tell me you're out there. Bodhi!

Bodhi Rook: Hello, I'm here...

Cassian Andor: The rebel fleet is up there. You've got to tell them to blow a hole in the shield gate so we can transmit the plans.

Not even the comm tower can transmit enough data through the shield to transfer the Death Star designs...but a lower bandwidth connection from the shuttle to the comm tower can get through, to update the fleet on the situation.

Bodi Rook: I can't get to the shuttle, I can't plug in!

Cassian Andor: You have to! They have to hit that gate. If the shield's open, we can send the plans!


Bodhi Rook: This is Rogue One, calling any Alliance ships that can hear me! Is there anybody up there? This is Rogue One! Come in, over.

Admiral Raddus: This is Admiral Raddus, Rogue One, we hear you!

Bodhi Rook: We have the plans! They found the Death Star plans. They have to transmit them from the communications tower! You have to take down the shield gate. It's the only way to going to get them through!

The shuttle and defected pilot are destroyed soon after.

Because of their message, the outnumbered rebel fleet need not focus on engagement, or retreat. Instead, they move their full attention to the shield gate, knowing that success would follow seconds after its destruction.

See also During end battle of Rogue One, why did Bodhi try so hard to establish comms with the Alliance Fleet just to tell them something they already knew?

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