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So the Mandalorian — and others in the bounty hunter guild — get work by agreeing to take on a bounty. And that seems to involve meeting with a middle man (such as Greef Carga as played by Carl Weathers) and getting some kind of tracking fob/beacon.

But how the heck does that even work? How can it even track a specific person? Is there some kind of genetic signature involved?

For example, in episode 3 of The Mandalorian when the Mandalorian rescues that Yoda baby, suddenly everyone’s beacon for that Yoda baby starts bleeping like crazy. How did that work? I mean how do those beacons know that the bounty target is no longer in custody? What changed between the baby Yoda’s captivity with Imperial agents to the Baby Yoda being carried away by the Mandalorian?

Tracking fob/beacon in action.


Looking for in-universe, canonical explanations; not armchair speculation and theories. If none (currently) exist, legends explanation would suffice. Regardless, please provide references and context.

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  • 1
    I took the episode 3 beacons at the end to be for someone else...not the original asset. Doesn't really matter in the scheme of things or affect your question
    – NKCampbell
    Nov 24, 2019 at 2:23
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    I'm pretty sure these tracking fobs are new to The Mandalorian. Given the lack of care the Disney writers show in their world-building and consistency, I won't be surprised if we just have to accept them as plot beacons and move on. IMO, they really cheapen the whole job. If all you have to do is follow the beeping, why couldn't they all find the kid?
    – Harabeck
    Nov 24, 2019 at 19:42
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    @Harabeck They all could find the asset. That was part of the Mando's problem, getting out once he secured it.
    – Skooba
    Nov 25, 2019 at 13:30
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    My unsupported assumption was that Werner Herzog realized what was happening and re-activated the contract on Baby Yoda, which Carl Weathers was happy to do because he felt the Mandolorian violated the Code (of bounty hunting, presumably). As to the specific mechanics of the tracker, it's probably space magic like most things in Star Wars. No biologically based tracking could possibly work between star systems.
    – Dallium
    Nov 29, 2019 at 18:43
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    @Dallium Even more importantly, if it can home in on some sort of biological signature, how the heck could they have enough data to do that, but not know what the Child was.
    – T.J.L.
    Dec 3, 2019 at 18:09

1 Answer 1

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Per the Star Wars Book, The tracking fob contains a description of the target's 'biometric data' and 'biographical details, known as a chain code. The tracking fob uses a short-range sensor to locate individuals with that precise profile.

The puck or posting lists the details of the bounty: the amount offered, the circumstances (or crimes) that warranted the bounty, the operational jurisdiction allowed for pursuit, and specific conditions required to collect (for example, “dead or alive.”) If the bounty hunter agrees to take on the assignment, he or she gets access to the target’s chain code—an identification marker that describes certain biographical information. This code drives the parameters of a tracking fob, a short-range sensor attuned to this biometric data. Upon the capture and delivery of a target, the Guild operative runs a sensor check on the body and compares it to the chain code data on the fob, confirming the identification of the acquisition.

It's not clear what biometrics exists in the Star Wars universe that can be sensed at distance, but in the pilot episode of The Mandlorian, we learn that the final four digits correspond to the target's precise age. This is (apparently) sufficient to track them, although we can assume that Mando's issue with this is that he'll have to wade through a whole passel of false positives if the target isn't at or near to the last location.

Din Djarin: What's the chain code?

Client: We can only provide the last four digits.

Din Djarin: Their age? That's all you can give me?

Client: Yes. They're 50 years old. We can also give you last reported positional data. Between that and the fob, a man of your skill should make short work of this.

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  • Yes! Some nice pile of hokey nonsense! Makes me wonder when Din Djarin took off his mask to get it scanned at the Imperial base to get info on where they took Baby Yoda if he’s now a target since his data is in the Imperial computer network. Feb 4, 2021 at 8:06

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