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Can Someone Explain the Map to Luke Skywalker?

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I’ve watched this movie three times, and the map still doesn’t make sense to me.

The map that Po retrieves from Jakku is a fragment of a larger map. Threepio says it doesn’t match any of the Republic’s records, so this is apparently uncharted space (at least as far as the republic is concerned).

Artoo has been in low power mode since Luke left. Later, Artoo revives and reveals he possesses the complete map of Luke’s journey, complete with a line showing which planets he’s been to. There’s a convenient blank spot in the map, in which the earlier map fragment fits.

This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me because

A - If the first fragment doesn’t match any known records, then at least the parts of Artoo’s map (if not the entire thing) surrounding that gap would also have to be uncharted. It’s like saying “we have a map of the United States, but there’s a mysterious gap between Utah and Kansas.”

B - So clearly somebody charted all this space, but we don’t know who. Possibly Leia’s agents, but it seems like they’d be relaying this information back to her on a regular basis. We know this can’t be the case because the first fragment doesn’t match their records. Maybe this will be explained in later movies?

C - If Artoo has been shut down since Luke left, how can he be in possession of a map tracking his journey? Furthermore, if he had the map this whole time, why didn’t he tell anyone? Sure, it wouldn’t give Luke’s precise location, but they would still be given a major clue. Going back to my US map analogy, you wouldn’t have Colorado mapped out, but you at least know he’d be between Utah and Kansas.

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Here’s my logic:

Luke finds an ancient map of all the Jedi Temples with a line showing their migration, keeps it a secret because look what happened to Jedha. After Kylo Ren betrays him, he goes into hiding by separating the map, giving half to R2 and half to Max Von Sydow, and follows the trail of the migration of the Jedi back to Space Ireland.

So it’s not that the map fills in a section of uncharted space, it could very well be charted, but imagine that in your example that its more like finding a guy standing between Utah and Kansas and you’re looking with the naked eye from Mars. As the scholar says:

“Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist, but that’s just peanuts to space.”

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I’ve always seen SW as more of a fantasy saga. So while, in the real world, it wouldn’t necessarily jive with our concept of maps (which cover everything), in a mysterious fantasy galaxy, its a bit different. Lots of spots in the galaxy are uncharted, just like lots of spots on a map of the earth in a medieval fantasy film would be, or any other sort of older setting (like the wild west or the high seas or something).

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It is also said by Kylo that the part of the map in R2’s memory was from the records of the Empire, presumably downloaded while on board the Death Star. This would mean that either the piece held by Sydow was charted later, or the yellow line marking the path to the temple was the only information yet to be discovered at that time. Perhaps Luke copied that small section of map from R2 then deleted it so that nobody in the Resistance could even start looking for him, then when he discovered the route to the temple, he gave the route to Sydow.

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Cthulhunicron said:
A - If the first fragment doesn’t match any known records, then at least the parts of Artoo’s map (if not the entire thing) surrounding that gap would also have to be uncharted. It’s like saying “we have a map of the United States, but there’s a mysterious gap between Utah and Kansas.”

I don’t think that analogy really works. The gap between star systems is exponentially bigger than the size of the gap between Utah and Kansas. Unless you know exactly where that star system is you’re probably going to miss it if you go into that uncharted territory blind.

C - If Artoo has been shut down since Luke left, how can he be in possession of a map tracking his journey? Furthermore, if he had the map this whole time, why didn’t he tell anyone? Sure, it wouldn’t give Luke’s precise location, but they would still be given a major clue. Going back to my US map analogy, you wouldn’t have Colorado mapped out, but you at least know he’d be between Utah and Kansas.

These are good questions and I’m thinking perhaps it may be tied to Rey being present but I don’t even believe that with strong conviction.

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A bit of a tangent, but what was the purpose of finding Luke anyway (other than being the macguffin of the movie)? He’s been gone 30 years, and now he’s needed all of a sudden. Why? Is it to help fight the First Order? I don’t recall that the movie ever explained this.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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Erikstormtrooper said:

A bit of a tangent, but what was the purpose of finding Luke anyway (other than being the macguffin of the movie)? He’s been gone 30 years, and now he’s needed all of a sudden. Why? Is it to help fight the First Order? I don’t recall that the movie ever explained this.

I think he owed Han money or something.

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It’s very simple. Luke Skywalker is the MacGuffin of the movie and so there is a map to him.

“That Darth Vader, man. Sure does love eating Jedi.”

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If the space nazis are taking over, it might be a good idea to try to find the only fully trained Jedi in the galaxy, especially if he happens to be your brother.

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Lord Haseo said:

Cthulhunicron said:
A - If the first fragment doesn’t match any known records, then at least the parts of Artoo’s map (if not the entire thing) surrounding that gap would also have to be uncharted. It’s like saying “we have a map of the United States, but there’s a mysterious gap between Utah and Kansas.”

I don’t think that analogy really works. The gap between star systems is exponentially bigger than the size of the gap between Utah and Kansas. Unless you know exactly where that star system is you’re probably going to miss it if you go into that uncharted territory blind.

C - If Artoo has been shut down since Luke left, how can he be in possession of a map tracking his journey? Furthermore, if he had the map this whole time, why didn’t he tell anyone? Sure, it wouldn’t give Luke’s precise location, but they would still be given a major clue. Going back to my US map analogy, you wouldn’t have Colorado mapped out, but you at least know he’d be between Utah and Kansas.

These are good questions and I’m thinking perhaps it may be tied to Rey being present but I don’t even believe that with strong conviction.

I guess that does make sense. I think the reason this all struck me as being odd is that first they say “this map doesn’t match anything we have” then R2 comes out and all of a sudden, it matches. Which means that R2 has a different map than what C3P0 was looking at. It just seemed like kind of a major plot point to just gloss over. Maybe it will be explained in later movies, but I have this horrible feeling it won’t.

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Yeah , unless R2 conveniently waking up ties in with something of major significance it probably will be glossed over. Plus there are many things Episodes VIII and IX need to explain like:

  • Rey’s inherent talent for the Force

  • Who Snoke is

  • The political landscape after the Hosnian system was destroyed

  • How Maz got her hand on Luke’s original saber

  • Who Rey’s parents are

so something like this is low on the list.

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DominicCobb said:

I’ve always seen SW as more of a fantasy saga. So while, in the real world, it wouldn’t necessarily jive with our concept of maps (which cover everything), in a mysterious fantasy galaxy, its a bit different. Lots of spots in the galaxy are uncharted, just like lots of spots on a map of the earth in a medieval fantasy film would be, or any other sort of older setting (like the wild west or the high seas or something).

I agree. My issue is that they state that Max Von Sydow’s map doesn’t match anything in their records. Then R2 rolls out at the end, and it matches. So R2 had a map that no one else in the galaxy had. So evidently all of that space was uncharted until some mysterious person made the map and gave it to R2, apparently WHILE he was turned off. It seems odd that no one reacts to this. At least when they find Luke’s lightsaber, characters at least wonder aloud where it came from.

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Cthulhunicron said:

DominicCobb said:

I’ve always seen SW as more of a fantasy saga. So while, in the real world, it wouldn’t necessarily jive with our concept of maps (which cover everything), in a mysterious fantasy galaxy, its a bit different. Lots of spots in the galaxy are uncharted, just like lots of spots on a map of the earth in a medieval fantasy film would be, or any other sort of older setting (like the wild west or the high seas or something).

I agree. My issue is that they state that Max Von Sydow’s map doesn’t match anything in their records. Then R2 rolls out at the end, and it matches. So R2 had a map that no one else in the galaxy had. So evidently all of that space was uncharted until some mysterious person made the map and gave it to R2, apparently WHILE he was turned off. It seems odd that no one reacts to this. At least when they find Luke’s lightsaber, characters at least wonder aloud where it came from.

How do you know it happened that way? It could have easily been given to R2 BEFORE he was turned off. There are a million possible explanations as with the lightsaber - and as with the lightsaber, the explanation isn’t really all that important to anything.

And there’s nothing to say that no one else in the galaxy had this map - in fact Kylo Ren says the opposite. Just that the Resistance doesn’t have it. Again, if you think in terms of modern day, this doesn’t necessarily make sense. But there’s nothing to suggest that the GFFA has internet, or even the ability to communicate across long distances. If you’re looking for technological logic in relation to our universe, you won’t find it anywhere, and that’s because it’s not sci-fi, it’s fantasy.

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It’s hard for me to believe that if the Empire and the First Order had a map of that region of space, but the Resistance didn’t. After the fall of the Empire, the Rebels would have had access to many imperial bases, ships, computers, records, etc.

Also, I don’t see how R2 could have had the map before Luke left because the map has a line showing which planets Luke has been to. I mean, maybe it’s a map that Luke found, and the line is showing the migrations of the ancient Jedi or whatever, but that’s never stated in the film. I also don’t see why he would leave that in R2 before he left if he was trying to prevent anyone from following him.

This seems like a pretty big plot point to me, since the entire plot of TFA revolves around one fragment of this map. I mean, who knows, maybe this is all explained in the next movie…but if it’s not, I think it’s a major plot hole.

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Honestly none of that seems very “major” at all. I hope they don’t waste their time “explaining” it in the next film.

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How is not major? It’d be like if the original Star Wars never explained what the Death Star weakness was.

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Cthulhunicron said:

It’s hard for me to believe that if the Empire and the First Order had a map of that region of space, but the Resistance didn’t. After the fall of the Empire, the Rebels would have had access to many imperial bases, ships, computers, records, etc.

That still doesn’t mean they would learn literally everything about The Empire. I’m quite sure Palpatine would have wanted such information to be harder to access than most information one could salvage from The Empire. Could be very few places where these maps (or the pieces) were stored and the other places could have been simply destroyed. Also I’m not sure if you’re aware that The First Order was an Imperial Remnant so they had access to archives of The Empire as Kylo said which is how they found how they recovered part of the map. The New Republic may have had access to more sources of Imperial intelligence but it doesn’t really matter as the early version of The First Order also had the means to obtain knowledge.

Also, I don’t see how R2 could have had the map before Luke left because the map has a line showing which planets Luke has been to. I mean, maybe it’s a map that Luke found, and the line is showing the migrations of the ancient Jedi or whatever, but that’s never stated in the film. I also don’t see why he would leave that in R2 before he left if he was trying to prevent anyone from following him.

Or he could have plotted where he was going on the map and given the information to R2. You’re overthinking it dude lol.

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Cthulhunicron said:

How is not major? It’d be like if the original Star Wars never explained what the Death Star weakness was.

STAR WARS never explained how the proton torpedo defied the laws of physics and got “sucked” into the narrow exhaust port which lead to the destruction of the first Death Star. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day.

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DominicCobb said:

Cthulhunicron said:

How is not major? It’d be like if the original Star Wars never explained what the Death Star weakness was.

Not at all. It’d be like if the original Star Wars never explained why Leia couldn’t just beam the plans directly to Yavin.

Fuck, that hadn’t even occurred to me. Why would you do such a thing to me?

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Obviously they couldn’t because they didn’t, so it warrants absolutely no thought.

Keep Circulating the Tapes.

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Lord Haseo said:

DominicCobb said:

Cthulhunicron said:

How is not major? It’d be like if the original Star Wars never explained what the Death Star weakness was.

Not at all. It’d be like if the original Star Wars never explained why Leia couldn’t just beam the plans directly to Yavin.

Fuck, that hadn’t even occurred to me. Why would you do such a thing to me?

No, see that’s exactly the point. The universe of Star Wars doesn’t operate at the same progression of technology as ours does. Think of the galaxy as if it were more like hundreds of years ago in some ways. You couldn’t contact someone so far away, and not every map would contain the same information.

It’s the same reason R2-D2 and C-3PO exist when most of their jobs could be solved with an advanced, duked-out smart phone.

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Look, I’m fine with certain minor things in the Star Wars universe not making complete logical sense. I mean, it seems like it’d be a lot easier if astromech droids just spoke English (Arabesh? whatever…) rather than bleeps and whistles, but who cares?

The movie straight up tells us that the resistance does not have a map of that region of space, so the fragment from Lor San Tekka is meaningless without context. Then R2 spontaneously reactivates and reveals he has the full map minus that one fragment. It seems to me like something that needs an explanation.

Either someone (possibly Luke, possibly someone else) knew where Luke was going and put an incomplete version of the map in R2 (why?). Or someone tracked Luke’s journey, created the map, and put it in R2 without telling anyone else in the Resistance (again, why?).

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