• Mattie Stu

How Did Pilots Escape Tractor Beams in Star Wars Canon?

If Star Wars has taught us anything it's that tractor beams are NO JOKE! Whether it be Tantive IV and the Devastator, or the Millennium Falcon and the Death Star, once a ship was caught within the grasp of another much larger vessel or battle station, there was simply no escape – or so it would seem. In reality, skilled pilots could somewhat easily resist the “irreversible” grip of a tractor beam... And here's how!

Once ensnared by a tractor beam – Imperial or otherwise – pilots were left with one of three options: surrender, attack, or act like a complete madman in hopes of being set free. Firstly, if surrender wasn't an option, pilots would often open fire, depending on which vessel possessed the greater weaponry, how quickly he or she could destroy the enemy's tractor beam projectors, and whether or not their shields could withstand a close-proximity battle. It is worth mentioning, however, that whilst the grip of a tractor beam failed to deactivate a ship's weapons systems, firing a torpedo at point-blank range was, let's just say, rather idiotic.

As for the second option – AKA act like a complete madman in hopes of being set free – well, providing they were up against an experienced crew with fast reflexes and a desire to live, pilots could purposefully accelerate towards the enemy until they disengaged the tractor beam. Of course, this method was incredibly dangerous, often resulting in heavy sustained damage or, even worse, complete destruction. But thankfully, there was a marginally safer option. Instead of accelerating blindly into the opposing craft, skilled pilots could actually reverse the tractor beam's draw to snap-roll free and make an escape. They did so by facing the enemy head-on, diverting power to their thrusters and shields, before making a close-pass trajectory past the tractor beam projectors. Admittedly, this final method could severely strain and damage a vessel's shield generators, not to mention prove extremely difficult to pull off. Yet it was easily the safest and most reliable way to avoid the ever-deadly grip of tractor beams...

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