In TLJ, a big deal is made about how the First Order is able to track the Resistance (lead) ship

through hyperspace.

Everyone seems surprised that this is possible.

Rose and Finn comment that the tracking mechanism must be similar to other, pre-existing tracking mechanisms, which is why they know what to destroy, but they don't seem to know where this new ability comes from.

Is it ever made clear how the First Order is doing this? Or is it just "new technology"?

  • 1
    I think because the "How" doesn't really matter. The films don't focus much on the "How" of the technolog, although I wouldn't be surprised if something is developed for some companion wor (Visual Dictionary)
    – Skooba
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 14:37
  • Shucks I really wanted to ask this...
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 15:03
  • They put the Trace on them. :p
    – JohnP
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 15:25
  • They had an explanation but it was too technical/complicated to understand without a second viewing.
    – Goose
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 17:04
  • 2
    My guess: it's based on Starkiller Base technology. That was a weapon that shoots through hyperspace, they must've developed some way of looking through hyperspace in order to aim it. But really, hyperspace is fictional, I'm guessing "it just works" is probably the best explanation we're going to get. Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 21:30

2 Answers 2


This is addressed in the film's Incredible Cross-Sections tie-in factbook. In short, it's a combination of unheard-of levels of computer processing power (using hyperspace as a way of compressing processing time) as well as advanced hyperspace sensors and records of millions of previous hyperspace transits.

It's still a guess, but a guess based on trillions of probability calculations.

The First Order tracks targets through hyperspace using a combination of technological advances and brute-force data crunching. The shipboard tracking control complex boasts the data-sifting power of a planetary intel hub, linking huge computer arrays to databanks loaded with centuries of combat reports and astrogation data.

A static hyperspace field generated around the machines then accelerates their processing power to unheard-of levels. A targets last known trajectory yields trillions of potential destinations, but the system can assess them with terrifying speed.

For a bit of fun, it's worth pointing out that we see the system in its infancy in Rogue One, one of the research projects with data on file at the Scarif base.

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  • 5
    Ooh, nice easter egg find
    – Machavity
    Commented Dec 18, 2017 at 15:08
  • As above, why do Hux an Snope discuss it if the tech is accepted?
    – Todd D
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 2:59
  • Sounds like the First Order has a working quantum computer.
    – scott
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 15:22
  • 1
    @Scott - Technically, if you could slow time down over a specific area, a ZX81 could out-perform a super-computer
    – Valorum
    Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 16:11

It's new technology. There's a scene (no screenplays to quote so running off memory here) where they're plotting the whole shut-it-down bit and Poe notes it's new stuff. Given the fact that

The First Order and the Rebellion are buying military stuff from the same people

it's entirely possible this came through back-channels or intelligence

  • 3
    I'm sure OP was aware that it's new technology, the question is how did they do it?
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Dec 15, 2017 at 21:26

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