The newly released Star Wars novel, A Test of Courage, finally sheds light on how “wayfinding” works for both the Jedi and the Sith in the galaxy far, far away.
Justin Ireland’s book is part of the Star Wars: The High Republic publishing initiative, narrating the story of how a small group of survivors, stranded in a shuttle in deep space, try to find a way to navigate the star systems. This is due to the Great Disaster, a mysterious incident that causes spacecraft all over the galaxy to abruptly jump out of hyperspace. Among the cruiser’s crew are two Jedi, Vernestra Rwoh, and a padawan named Imri.
As their air runs out and so do their options, Imri suggests using “wayfinding” to get them to safety. As the excerpt from A Test of Courage reads:
“‘I could maybe try wayfinding,’ Imri said, voice hesitant. ‘Through the Force. Master Douglas was showing me how it is done.’ Seeing Avon and Honesty’s confused expressions, the boy elaborated. ‘I, um, should be able to detect someplace that has a lot of life, and if there are creatures living there on the planet it should be safe enough for us, as long as I have a good idea of what I am looking for. Right, Vern?’
‘Yes,’ Vernestra said, nodding. ‘Good idea.’ It was a long shot. She had only heard a few stories of wayfinding. It was something mostly done by seasoned Jedi Masters who had practiced the skill their entire lives.”
It stands to reason that Palpatine also used the Force to construct the Sith Wayfinders we see in The Rise of Skywalker. In fact, Star Wars canon has already revealed that the Emperor didn’t originally know about Exegol. It was sometime during the events of the Prequel Trilogy when he actually visited Jakku and established a Sith Observatory there. This served as a hub from which he could study the Unknown Regions, and ultimately, locate the ancient Sith stronghold.
What’s more, Luke Skywalker may have utilized the same method to find the first Jedi Temple on Ahch-To. After all, the Resistance had to go through hell to get their hands on a secret map of the galaxy in order to chart the location, meaning that the Last Jedi must’ve used unconventional means to discover his place of exile. In a way, then, the Sith Wayfinder may work as a conduit for the Force to pinpoint an exact location, even though the plot of the last movie in the Skywalker Saga merely used this as a convenient MacGuffin to push the story forward.