In Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), when the protagonists find themselves on Tatooine to repair their ship and hide from the Trade Federation, it is established that governor Sio Bibble's distress call from Naboo is a trap to lure them into responding, thereby establishing a connection trace that would allow the Trade Federation to track them down.

BIBBLE : ...cut off all food supplies until you return...the death toll is catastrophic...we must bow to their wishes, Your Highness...Please tell us what to do! If you can hear us, Your Highness, you must contact me...

AMIDALA looks upset...almost nervous.

OBI-WAN : It's a trick. Send no reply... Send no transmission of any kind.


QUI-GON : It sounds like bait to establish a connection trace.

Obi-Wan confirms that no reply was sent

OBI-WAN : ...the Queen is upset...but absolutely no reply was sent.

In the very next scene, we learn that the Sith have somehow traced them back to Tatooine:

DARTH SIDIOUS and DARTH MAUL look out over the vast city.

DARTH MAUL : Tatooine is sparsely populated. If the trace was correct, I will find them quickly, Master.

So, what gives? The logic put forward was that they ought not to reply in order to avoid being traced, then we learn that no reply was sent, only to find out that they were traced anyway. How did that trace occur? Has this been officially addressed?

  • 3
    Maybe Darth Maul read the script.
    – Ghotir
    Dec 11, 2017 at 15:00
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    Perhaps the Force? We learn in the film how Qui-Gon could sense the Sith presense, so maybe Darth Maul is equally sensative and just got lucky when he narrowed locations down? The only other thing I can think of is maybe they didn't actually need to send a message--maybe even just downloading it gave a connection trace??? Dec 11, 2017 at 19:25
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    @DarthLocke It isn't the force. If you read the script quote above, you will see that Maul specifically references the trace as the reason for bringing up Tatooine in the first place. Dec 11, 2017 at 19:56
  • Ya, you're right! I'll keep digging--I have some episode one materials, such as a few issues of Star Wars magazine from that time. Maybe there is something more concrete there??? Dec 11, 2017 at 22:43

1 Answer 1


Because Amidala was necessary for their plans—the queen needed to sign a treaty that would legitimize the illegal occupation of Naboo—Sidious dispatched Maul to find the queen and the Jedi. Maul traced a distress call from Sio Bibble, the governor of Naboo, which Queen Amidala received on Tatooine. With his master's blessing, Maul traveled to Tatooine to locate the queen. http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Darth_Maul

Ok so accordig to Wookieepedia it appears that he was able trace the call from Bibble to Amidala and she didn't need to reply to the call like Qui-Gon suggests. (I'm still going to look harder though and see if I find anything else).

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