The Oldest Trope In Star Wars Is Wearing Very Thin — But There's A Way To Fix It

Is jumping to hyperspace played out?

Originally Published: 
The Falcon in hyperspace in 'Solo.'

Punch it! In the Star Wars galaxy, slamming into hyperspace is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card; often literally, considering how often our heroes operate on the edges of the law. Din Djarin is perhaps the ultimate example of a lovable Star Wars rogue, and accordingly, he loves a good last-second jump to hyperspace.

But in The Mandalorian Season 3, the trope of jumping to hyperspace has solved major plot points in three of four episodes so far, including the big Grogu flashback in “The Foundling.” It’s not a new solution, but we’re reaching a point where jumping to lightspeed seems trivially easy.

Mando Season 3’s Hyperdrive Problem

In three episodes of The Mandalorian Season 3, last-minute jumps to lightspeed have defused tense situations. All of this instant safety comes across as effortless, but if you think hard about these escapes, you begin to wonder why our heroes don’t use this little trick sooner, or why there aren’t more countermeasures in place to stop them.

Mando in hyperspace, an image we’ve seen a lot lately.


Jumping to hyperspace feels like Indiana Jones just shooting that goon with the big sword in Raiders of the Lost Ark. In Episode 1, “The Apostate,” Mando has a dogfight with some space pirates, but realizes they outgun him and decides to slam into hyperspace. Why did he bother with the fight at all?

Ditto Episode 3, “The Convert,” in which Din and Bo-Katan encounter a bunch of TIE Fighters. Instead of just ditching the vacant N-1 starfighter, Mando hops out, grabs the ship, helps out with a cool dogfight, and then both ships jump to safety the moment things get too dicey. Clearly, future scripts need Mando to keep his sweet ride, and what is Star Wars without a space battle from time to time?

Fair enough, but these jumps to hyperspace have no tension. Mando didn’t invent this trope, but other Star Wars movies dampened it. In A New Hope, Han has to get coordinates from the nav computer before jumping, which takes a hot second. In The Empire Strikes Back the hyperdrive is damaged, which challenges our heroes to invent new tricks. And in Return of the Jedi, the Rebels have to bring the fight to the Empire, so retreat isn’t an option.

Even the prequels create plot points out of hyperdrive problems. In The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala’s Naboo Starcruiser suffers damage to its hyperdrive, and half the movie focuses on fixing it. In fact, that technical hiccup is the whole reason Qui-Gon meets Anakin Skywalker on Tatooine, and the rest is history. Hyperdrives are a storytelling tool, not a foxhole the characters can always hop in.

In “The Foundling,” Jedi Master Kelleran borrows a Naboo ship to take Grogu away from Coruscant, and hyperspace jumps away from the galactic capital with ease. There are a million canonical ways to explain this flashback, but it seems like sheer ineptitude that Palpatine didn’t introduce any planet-wide flight restrictions during Order 66. If anyone can just hop on a starship and punch it to safety, then it’s a wonder half the Jedi Order didn’t escape. This could have been a problem for Kelleran to solve — maybe he uses a Jedi mind trick, or maybe he gets help from the diplomatically immune Naboo — but instead it just happens. And so hyperdrive feels like The Mandalorian’s laziest storytelling tool.

Meanwhile, Andor Fixed Hyperdrive

In Andor, Luther earns his hyperspace escape.


Contrast this with Andor, in which Luthen has a nail-biting moment in “Daughter of Ferrix.” Its jump to lightspeed is tense, because it employs context and technological limitations. First, Luthen tries to fake his identity. If he jumped to hyperdrive the moment the Empire hassled him, they would know he was a Rebel. When that fails and the fighting begins, Luthen has to foil a tractor beam and survive a dogfight long enough for his computer to complete “hyperspace calibration.” Yes, hyperspace gets Luthen out of trouble like it bails out other Star Wars characters, but he had to work hard to escape. The scene highlighted the fact that Luthen is clever and resourceful, not that he has a magic plot button.

The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker also tried to limit hyperdrives. In The Last Jedi, the First Order had a hyperspace tracker, which renders the classic jump move pointless. This makes sense; after decades of Rebels just speeding away, the First Order would naturally want a countermeasure.

In The Rise of Skywalker, Palpatine hid an entire planet, using trickery to make it impossible to reach via hyperspace without the aid of a special (and evil!) compass. Both wrinkles to hyperspace canon shape the plots of these films. Their efficacy is up for debate, but at least the sequels tried to shake up the hyperdrive status quo. The Mandalorian, meanwhile, refuses to do anything interesting with it.

The Mandalorian can still fix this trope

What planet is this?


The main reason anyone jumps away in science fiction is to hide. In Star Trek: Picard Season 3, the USS Titan is trying to run from Starfleet by perpetually jumping into warp, but they know they can’t keep this up forever and will need another way to hide. With that in mind, the way to temper the trope is clear: make sure this stops working at some point.

The biggest mystery in Mando Season 3 is also about hiding. What planet are these Mandalorians hiding on, and why can’t anyone find it? If the Empire comes to this hidden planet, hyperdrive will feel less foolproof. Or, if flashbacks reveal that Grogu and Kelleran were tracked by the Empire, that could reassert some hyperspace realism.

As of now, The Mandalorian has pushed hyperspace to the limit. Hopefully someone’s hyperdrive will break soon, and the suspense of space travel will return.

The Mandalorian is streaming on Disney+.

This article was originally published on

Related Tags