In the original Star Wars, the trash compactor walls were magnetically sealed and when Han Solo tried to blast the wall, the blaster bolt ricocheted off the walls until it hit some detritus in the garbage water. I never understood how this worked or if it was ever explained in another Legends or Canon source. It appeared again in one of the latest The Bad Batch episodes. I tried to think of it that the walls were magnetically charged and since a blaster bolt is made of plasma surrounded by a miniature magnetic bottle, the magnetic forces repel one another. Yet I'm also not entirely sure if plasma and magnets do that.

  • 5
    That is presumably the idea, but like most of Star Wars, real world physics do not apply
    – OrangeDog
    Commented Apr 26 at 8:35

1 Answer 1


There are no canon explanations of the technology. It's designed to block blasters and (now to some extent) lightsabers.

In Legends, a "magnetic seal" more or less functioned like a Star Trek force field, but only from a weapons standpoint. Wookiepedia's Legends page says

The magnetic seal, also called a vacuum seal or magseal, was a technology that utilized fields of electromagnetism to lock metal parts together. It was often used in locking mechanisms for boxes and chests as a security measure, either to keep a container from being opened and stolen from or to seal in hazardous materials.


Magnetic seals were designed to repel any particles that tried to penetrate them, rendering traditional weapons useless against them—blaster bolts would simply bounce off. One of the only ways to bypass a magseal was to disable the electrical feed that powered the electromagnetic lock, usually by slicing the lock.

The non-canon video game Knights of the Old Republic II depicted them like this

Magentic lock in video game

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.