Holdo sacrificed her life by ramming the First Order capital ship with the Raddus (using the light-speed trick),

why didn't she use auto-pilot? Or use a droid?

  • 8
    She couldn't send a droid because the Resistance treat droids like people
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 20:24
  • 3
    Fair comment. But you'd have thought that the rebels would have non-sentient no-brain droids (like toasters, washing machines or vacuum cleaners) who could work some levers after a certain time has passed.
    – squire55
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 20:38
  • 2
    I think the bigger question is why didnt the first order see this obvious tactic - oh I dont know - at any point during the ships slow rotation?
    – Kai Qing
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 23:01
  • 2
    @T.E.D. very meta ! :) I'll join you and put my cynical hat on and say: This event was used by the screen-play writers to punish the toxic masculinity (alpha male, cocky, fly-boy) of poor Poe, by heaping the death of Holdo onto his shoulders.
    – squire55
    Commented Dec 21, 2017 at 4:25
  • 4
    @squire55 - I've seen that said a lot. To me what it looks like they are doing instead is setting Poe up to be a leader in the next movie, by showing him learn some lessons the hard way. That makes sense. Promoting the guy (in the next movie I'm assuming) and saying nice things about him behind his back after he organized a mutiny that likely got quite a few people killed isn't exactly a very feminist message.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Dec 26, 2017 at 20:47

3 Answers 3


She didn't have time

By the time she decided to use The Raddus in a hyperspace kamikaze attack, the Resistance transports were already being wiped out. There would not have been time to set the auto-pilot and escape before more (perhaps all) of the transports were destroyed.

Before sacrificing herself, the point of staying behind was to ensure the First Order was distracted by the larger ship. The First Order might have noticed that the ship was on auto-pilot, but with a human pilot at the helm, she can navigate, make turns, and otherwise convince the First Order that The Resistance was still on board.

  • 3
    When she powers up the hyperspace engine and Hux is informed, he exclaims, "it's empty!". The First Order knew the Resistance was not on board. Commented Jan 10, 2018 at 16:09
  • 1
    @KyleStrand Only because DJ betrayed Finn and Rose by telling the First Order of the Resistance getting on transports. Without his betrayal, the bad guys would have been unaware of how empty the Raddus was
    – Karaelfte
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 16:22
  • @DuffautM By the time Holdo makes her decision, the First Order has already started firing on the transports, so it's clear that this answer's claim that she can "convince the First Order that The Resistance [is] still on board" isn't correct. Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 16:35
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    @KyleStrand I don't follow you. When Holdo decided to stay on board, the First Order did not notice the smaller transports getting away. There is a scene where we clearly see her alone on deck watching the Resistance fleeing with a smile on her face while the Raddus was the only target, showing that her plan worked. The next scene is the betrayal of DJ and a First Order officer claiming that after verifications, he was telling the truth. Next scene was the turbolaser aiming and shooting at the transports vessels and Holdo dropping her smile.
    – Karaelfte
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 16:45
  • @DuffautM You're right-- I didn't notice when responding to your comment that the second paragraph of this answer is talking about her decision to stay on board, not her decision to turn the ship around and jump to hyperspace. Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 17:39

There were no transports left.

By the time the First Order stopped firing on the The Raddus and started destroying the smaller transports, there were no other transports aboard the cruiser because they had already been evacuated.

  • 1
    And no escape pods?
    – Valorum
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 22:53
  • 1
    Indeed. And surely these ships have sophisticated auto-pilots. Set ramming target to FO, then hop into an escape pod.
    – squire55
    Commented Dec 20, 2017 at 23:59
  • 2
    @squire55 A sophisticated autopilot would not allow itself to be programmed to do something that would violate the precepts of being a good spacer, let alone something that would lead to the destruction of the ship. It simply wouldn't be an option in the software, because it isn't safe.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 16:44
  • @TJL Surely, "being a good spacer" is saving lives. In this example Holdo was. So a sophisticated auto-pilot ought to have special overrides.
    – squire55
    Commented Jan 6, 2018 at 21:49
  • @squire55 No, in this example Holdo is ramming another vessel - she's taking lives, not saving them.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 15:20

Maybe autopilots don't exist?

I say this because I'm pretty sure I recall a debate on the First Order bridge where someone says that there's no point paying attention to The Raddus because "there's only one person on board". How could they know that, if autopilots are a possibility (in universe)?

  • 1
    Scanning for signs of life?
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Jan 4, 2018 at 10:12
  • @TheLethalCarrot, yeah, possibly.
    – Benjol
    Commented Jan 5, 2018 at 6:45
  • Before Holdo decides to turn the ship around, she's just walking around the bridge, not touching any of the controls. So clearly the ship can keep flying without a pilot physically piloting it. Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 17:40

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