So I was watching the Clone Wars Season 2 episode 16 titled "Cat and Mouse". In this episode, the senator Bail Organa has been trapped on the planet Christophsis by a Seperatist blockade lead by Admiral Trench. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-wan are sent to help the senator.

Now at some point after the first encounter, Admiral Trench commands two droids to "Recycle the shields...".

What does that even mean? Does he mean charge the shields, 'cause that would make more sense. And how do shield systems work in Star Wars, because a few moments after lowering the ship's thermal shields, Trench, now worried of an incoming Anakin (and a couple locked-on torpedoes), commands his tactical droid to raise the shields, to which the droid replays "We cannot, the shields are still recharging". So does this mean that the shields have to fully recharge before they can be turned on again? Does that make sense? Why not allow a ship to turn on a partially charged shield, you know, to save their lives!

OK, so my questions are:

  • What does the phrase "recycle the shields" mean? And is this phrase used anywhere else in any Star Wars material (canon and/or legends).
  • How do shields work in terms of recharging after use? Is there a cooldown time? And how is this cooldown applied when the ship lowered the shields intentionally (That is, the shields didn't go down because of taking too many shots).
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    I would assume that "the shields are still recharging" refers to minimal charge necessarily to raise shields (or the minimal charge necessary for practical use), not the fullest possible charge.
    – Misha R
    Oct 29, 2018 at 4:45
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    Please, ask one question per post. Please consider taking the Tour. If for no other reason, it will get you another badge. Oct 29, 2018 at 5:25
  • @MishaR that makes sense. Your explanation also fits in well with one of synonyms to the keyword "recycle": recover. Oct 29, 2018 at 13:42
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    @MeatTrademark Well, MishaR's answer kinda answers my question and it's only got one full stop. Oct 29, 2018 at 13:45
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    He says "recycle the shields, and reset the cannons to a full charge", indicating that he's taking advantage of the respite to get his ship back to full strength. Recycling the shields would probably mean recharging them, or "re-cycle" as in "re-start" or "refresh" the shields to get them back to normal after the battle. Just a guess though, I can't find anything else beyond that, so this doesn't really meat the standards of an actual answer.
    – Liesmith
    Oct 30, 2018 at 21:26

1 Answer 1


Let's first mention that this episode is based on sub-genre of submarine movies, which usually portray sub vs destroyer or sub vs sub duel. Such movies most often belong to WW2 era, but "Cat and Mouse" has guided torpedoes, cloaking devices and hit by own torpedo, so closet resemblance would be with The Hunt for Red October.

Anyway, recurring motif in this sub-genre is temporary vulnerability of submarine when firing torpedo, and opponent's plan to use this. We could see this motif both when Anakin attacks with torpedoes, and when Trench attacks with his "tracking torpedoes" (as opposed to regular torpedoes).

To create such opportunity, writers of this episode invented new rules for deflector shields , or more precisely for thermal shields used by admiral Trench. These shields could deflect both laser fire and torpedo blasts, but apparently they needed more energy and need to be "recycled" occasionally, would not allow even friendly torpedo to go trough them (which seems logical) and could not go up without being fully charged.

This last rule is created for this episode and especially for these kind of shields. Other types of shields had shield generators that simply pumped energy into field that created the shield without noticeable delay, like for example planetary shield generator on Hoth:

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