Lightspeed Skipping and the Rule of Cool

Jake Christie
9 min readJan 8, 2020

Or: Another nerd yelling “You can’t do that in Star Wars!”

In J.J. Abrams’ latest nostalgia injection The Skywalker Rises: A Star Wars Story, he introduces a new method of transportation to the Star Wars Cinematic Universe: “lightspeed skipping.”

Han Solo once explained that hyperspace travel is no joke, that “without precise calculations we could fly right through a star or bounce too close to a supernova”; but apparently he just wasn’t as good a pilot as Poe Dameron, who can no-scope a hyperspace jump just by peeking out of the cockpit to check for any stars or supernovas that look like they’re too close.

Or maybe Han was that good, because at some point his one-time protegé Rey learned about “lightspeed skipping” — something we’ve never heard about before, and never hear about again — enough tell Poe “the Falcon can’t do that,” just so he can shrug because he just did it anyway.

A lot of people are out there writing about a lot of problems with this movie. The “how is Palpatine alive” question. The Rey-Palpatine Connection. The “Chewie in a second ship on the sandy knoll” Switcheroo. The Jannah-Lando Fandango. The Incredible Disappearing Rose Tico. But for me, lightspeed skipping was the canary in the spice mine that dropped me out of the movie super early.

This is a fun kids movie about space wizards and talking puppets and funny robots and laser swords, so maybe it shouldn’t be taken too seriously – but this just bothers me as a writer, because unlike some of the other issues, this one breaks the rules of the universe in a way that other choices don’t.

These are VERY serious movies.

This isn’t undoing things that have happened in the previous movies, like Rey suddenly being a Palpatine after learning the opposite in The Last Jedi. That’s fine, I guess. This isn’t introducing new things, like Force healing or Force projection or using the Force to fly through space. I’m totally okay with those. This is looking at the…