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The Resistance eventually

made it to Crait, but only after several hours of sub-light travel. When they came out of hyperspace, we know then that it was within a radius of Crait of that many hours of top sub-light speed.

Even if the ships were travelling half the speed of light, they would've been really rather close to

Crait, such that no other planetary destination (except perhaps another planet in the same system) could have possibly been their intended destination.

Why in the Star Wars universe did they jump

so close to the planet rather than exiting right next to it.

(Out of universe, of course, this is in the same vein as Episode I's "it's pretty far, but I think we can make it").

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    Somewhat unrelated question: is it Crait, Krait, or Krayt? I see the first two used in this discussion, but I assumed it was the last one because of Krayt dragons. Dec 18, 2017 at 19:25
  • @JustinLardinois - Crait.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2017 at 22:52

3 Answers 3

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We know from the film's Visual Dictionary that Crait was the fleet's original destination, somewhere so immensely desolate and distant that under normal cirumstances, it would be impossible for them to be found by anyone who didn't know where to look.

"THE LAST GASP of hope for the Resistance is the otherwise uninviting mineral planet of Crait, tucked in a remote sector of the Outer Rim Territories. This has been Leia Organa and Amilyn Holdo's secret endgame - bunkering down on a former rebel world that had fallen off most modern starcharts. The Resistance's penchant for using old rebel-era caches and facilities is part of Leia's strategy, for she alone has a store of navigational information from the early days of the Rebellion that she has never shared."

As to why they came out of hyperspace so far from the planet, there are a few possible explanations, all equally likely (and probably it's a combination of all three).

  • The navigational data is decades old, which means that lining up with the planet on exit would be difficult. Better to come out early and travel at sublight for a few hours than risk hitting the planet head-on.

  • An excess of caution. Better to come out in open space, scan the system ahead for signs of the First Order than come out near the planet into an ambush.

  • The system lacks decent hyperspace exit points and in the absence of a mapping expedition, Leia uses the only safe, known hyperspace exit point in the Crait system.

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    It's frustrating because these are all feasible in-universe answers but we'll never know because the bloated script left no room for a single line of dialogue to clarify the situation. Jan 9, 2018 at 9:39
  • @Rapscallion - It'll almost certainly be addressed in the novelisation/s
    – Valorum
    Jan 9, 2018 at 10:22
  • You're probably correct, but until it is addressed these are just out-of-universe rationalisations for a wonky plot. I don't mean to come across as disrespectful; I think your efforts to address these questions are admirable. Jan 9, 2018 at 11:54
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I don't think Crait was their original destination: before they knew about the First Order's hyperspace-tracking capabilities, their intent was to jump to the middle of nowhere, so that the likelihood of someone accidentally finding them would be infinitesimal. They'd then be able to regroup, rest up a bit, and come up with a better plan for their next step.

(The visuals of that scene reinforce this idea: the Resistance ships appear in the middle of a totally uniform field of stars, no standout features whatsoever. So when the First Order ships appear shortly after, it's a total shock.)

I don't think the Visual Dictionary quote is as clear-cut as Valorum makes it out to be: "end game" is not the same thing as "intended destination". When they made that jump, there's no indication that anyone thought they were getting to end-game levels of desperation.

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    Based on the Visual Dictionary description of Crait; scifi.stackexchange.com/a/176721/20774
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2017 at 18:28
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    I disagree with the idea that their intent was to jump into the middle of nowhere, but I also disagree that Crait was always their final destination. It makes strategic sense to jump within proximity of an old Rebel base, and to keep doing so just in case you have to hole up in an emergency, just as we witnessed. Just because it's their LAST GASP doesn't mean it was their FIRST IDEA.
    – vynsane
    Dec 18, 2017 at 18:29
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    @vynsane - You can disagree with it all you like. That doesn't make it any less true :-)
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2017 at 18:35
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    @vynsane - They don't have a better provisioned base. They're on the run with the hounds of hell on their heels.
    – Valorum
    Dec 18, 2017 at 22:54
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    The entire plot doesn't make any sense, from why they jumped so far to the actual destination to the ridiculous chase. The Empire could have destroyed the fleet in a matter of minutes but for some misterious reason they decide to wait for it to run out of fuel?
    – algiogia
    Dec 19, 2017 at 11:17
-1

The entire plot doesn't make any sense, from why they jumped so far to the actual destination to the ridiculous chase. The Empire could have destroyed the fleet in a matter of minutes but for some misterious reason they decide to wait for it to run out of fuel?

@algiogia The three provided scenarios above provide perfectly acceptable justification for the Resistance jump near and not to Crait - reasons that fall perfectly within the logic of the established Star Wars universe and are easy enough to assume with that pre-existing knowledge.

As for the reason the First Order did not destroy the Resistance outright en route, it's in dialogue. The Resistance ships are faster - enough to outpace the larger star destroyers in a sublight race. Also, consider that lasers' powers diminish over space traveled, just as a bullet loses height and velocity. Combine that distance factor with the fact that the Resistance ships still have shields, and it's clear why the First Order can do literally nothing but keep firing in hopes that the shields will eventually fail or their fuel tanks run dry. As for jumping ahead of them and cutting them off, there are reasons in the established universe as to why this is impossible, as well. This is definitely a Star Wars movie where a deeper knowledge of the universe pays off.

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  • This doesn't answer the question at all. Did you mean to make this a comment? Jan 9, 2018 at 9:41

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