It seems like considerable losses could have been avoided if communicators were used between the rebel strike team on the ground on the surface of Endor (disabling the shield generator) and the Rebel fleet attacking the Death Star.

The idea of relying purely on timing for coordination of an attack with so many unknowns (including how, specifically, the strike team would disable the shield generator and thus how long it would take) seems incredibly risky unless absolutely necessary. It also seems that just building in sufficient margin so that the fleet engaged with the Death Star well after the shields would have been assumed to be disabled isn't tactically sound either, since this would give the Death Star time to realize its shields were down and prepare the Imperial Fleet to repel an attack.

Is there a canon (or even Legends) explanation for the lack of communication between the Endor team and the Rebel Fleet?

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    Welcome to SciFi.SE! It might be better if you posted your theories as answers, instead of putting them in the question; it would help focus it on what you're actually asking. There's nothing wrong with posting answers to your own question.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 13, 2019 at 11:54
  • Maybe the way I structured my question was unclear, but I meant to include those as problems that need answering in order to answer the overall question (why not use an imperial frequency? why not transmit even if it tips off the imperials, since it's better than the alternative? etc), rather than as possible answers. I'll try restructuring the question to make this more clear. Thanks for the tip! Jul 13, 2019 at 12:05
  • It's definitely worth adding your theories as answers, not part of the question.
    – Valorum
    Jul 13, 2019 at 15:42
  • @Valorum that makes sense - thanks for editing to conform to the appropriate format! Jul 13, 2019 at 16:25
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    For the record, a canon is a body of works by an author. A cannon is a big metal tube that goes Kaboom!
    – Valorum
    Jul 13, 2019 at 16:47

1 Answer 1


They aren't just relying on the strike team. They also have the capacity (they think) to determine if the shield is still up when they come out of hyperdrive. In the event that the ground team fails to achieve their mission, or just plain get themselves killed, the fleet will still be safe because they can just jump in, detect that the shield is still up and then jump back out again without suffering any losses.

LANDO: We've got to be able to get some kind of a reading on that shield, up or down. [beat] Well, how could they be jamming us if they don't know if we're coming?

[Lando shoots a concerned look out at the approaching Death Star as the implications of what he's just said sink in. He hits a switch on his comlink.]

LANDO: Break off the attack! The shield is still up.

As to why the ground team were unable to warn the Fleet that it was a trap, this may be down to the fact that the shield emitter is covered by its own shield. As we've seen in Rogue One, these have a tendency to block outgoing transmissions.

“The shield generator is, of course, protected by its own shield. Even if we could get our starfighters close enough, they’d have little chance of knocking it out. However, the moon itself is covered by a thick forest. Perfect for a stealth mission.”

Return of the Jedi: Beware the Power of the Dark Side!

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    Regarding jumping in, checking for the shield, and jumping back out if it's not down, this doesn't address problem of the margin of time required to wait before the shield could safely be assumed to be down before jumping in to check (since they'd only get one try at that), giving the Imperial fleet plenty of time to realize their shield had been disabled and prepare to fend off an attack - not ideal if communications to coordinate more precisely were an option. Jul 13, 2019 at 16:58
  • Regarding the shield blocking communications, the plan could have been simply: if you hear from us, it means the shield is down and no longer blocking communications, you're safe to jump in. If you don't hear from us the shield is still up. Jul 13, 2019 at 17:00
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    There are also some strong arguments made for why jumping out would have been time consuming and incurred heavy losses here: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/68720/… Jul 13, 2019 at 17:01
  • @airshanemode - Again, they weren't expecting the Imperial fleet to be in orbit or they wouldn't have gone for a mass attack.
    – Valorum
    Jul 13, 2019 at 17:04
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    Also.......it’s a HEAVILY FORTIFIED Imperial installation. They are highly likely to be jamming any and all methods the Rebels would have to communicate, not to mention easy triangulation of transmission and location of rebel troops on the moon. It’d make better sense to observe radio silence and timing rather than give yourself away with communications transmissions. During the battle, everything was out of the bag at that point. you e also gotta remember the Alliance doesn’t have half the fancy resources the Empire does and so they won’t have the fancier comm tech. Jul 14, 2019 at 3:21

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