How come Admiral Holdo was able to make the jump to hyperspace inside of another ship? Some fans can’t deal with this, but Star Wars: The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson continues his stalwart defense of the maneuver. According to him, despite your complaints, what’s known as the “Holdo Maneuver” isn’t really a plot hole at all.
On Wednesday, Slashfilm published an excerpt from a forthcoming episode of /Filmcast, in which they interviewed Rian Johnson about the Holdo Maneuver. He explained that just because we haven’t seen it before, that doesn’t mean it was previously impossible. Johnson notes that there are ways the Lucasfilm Story Group could build it back into canon, suggesting that it might just be an outlawed military maneuver that Holdo “pulled out of her butt” as a “spur of the moment thing.”
“It’s this idea that she gets and she sits down and fucking does,” Johnson rationalized, “and it obviously takes everybody completely by surprise. It takes Hux by surprise. The fact that Hux doesn’t see it coming means it’s probably not a standard military maneuver.”
It might even be some kind of galactic war crime.
Holdo’s maneuver, of course, happens rather late in The Last Jedi, when she’s alone on the Resistance cruiser and makes a self-destructive jump to lightspeed directly at Snoke’s ship, the Supremacy, ripping the thing in half in one of the film’s most stunning scenes. It’s a total spectacle and a horrifyingly effective military maneuver.
But it also left a lot of people wondering why we haven’t seen people do this before in the Star Wars universe? If it’s such a brutally efficient tactic, then you’d imagine that the Empire or the First Order would rig ships to jump to lightspeed right into any major threat. Therein lies the assumed plot hole, because space warfare in Star Wars might never be the same.
Keep in mind that real-life physicists have said it’s totally possible, but what does the canon of fake Star Wars science say?
When ships jump to or from hyperspace, they reach speeds faster than light and enter an alternate dimension that allows them to travel great distances in shorter amounts of time. But hyperspace and normal space still interact with each other on the celestial level. Official canon says that large objects create “mass shadows,” which is why Han Solo once said, “Without precise calculations, we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova!”
The point here being that regardless of what we’ve seen before, transitioning between hyperspace and normal space requires that a ship manipulate hypermatter to drastically increase its speed before actually entering hyperspace. Holdo probably calculated the distance precisely so that the Resistance ship would collide with the First Order ship before making the jump but after its speed increased.
A much shorter explanation comes when you just accept that with The Last Jedi, Johnson preferred artistic form over function. He’d rather give us a visual spectacle with his Star Wars movie, one that respected his artistic integrity more than an obsession with canon. Maybe we should all learn to be okay with that.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi is out now in theaters.