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J.J. Abrams and the rest of the Star Wars team have been pretty tight-lipped when it comes to divulging any tangible information on the newest Star Wars film, The Force Awakens. So while some of the fandom waits for leaked or official information, the science side of the Star Wars community has sprung into action, and has worked to discover how fast the speeder Daisy Ridley rides in the teaser can actually travel. Spoiler alert: it’s pretty damn fast.
The ultimate verdict? Daisy Ridley's character, Rey, travels about 85.7 mph on her speeder. What is even crazier is the acceleration that Rhett Allain over at Wired.com calculated. According to some of his calculations, the acceleration of Rey’s speeder could be as much as 911.9 m/s squared. That’s 92.9 g’s, which is more than enough to kill a person. However, it stands to reason that there is a bit of a break between when we first see Rey and when she speeds off. Allain mentions the fact that Rey goes from not wearing goggles to wearing them, which is probably a sign that some time elapsed. If that interval time was 2 seconds (the 92.9 g’s is the result of .042 seconds of interval), Rey’s speeder would zoom off with an acceleration of 2 g’s. That’s a lot less than 92.9, certainly, but it would be quite the intense ride, making it tough to hang on for the average human.
If watching the show Mythbusters has taught us anything, science and Hollywood don’t always mix. So Rey’s speeder could travel faster and have an acceleration too intense for an actual human to survive with no further explanation. However, it could also be that Rey is a Jedi, so she has a bit more strength (mental and physical) than your average human. Again, we know absolutely nothing about Rey apart from the fact that her name is Rey and she knows how to commandeer a speeder (we don’t even know if the speeder belongs to Rey), so at this stage, Allain’s calculations are the closest things we have to actual facts.
The actual speed of Rey’s speeder is impressive, but the way in which Allain calculated the numbers is the real feat here. Allain really didn’t have a lot to go off of as he worked to figure out the speed of Rey’s speeder. Really, all he knew for certain was that the craft was being piloted by Daisy Ridley. More than that, the speeder zooms off at an odd angle in the teaser, making it a tougher analysis for Allain. Still, Allain soldiered on. In the immortal words of Yoda himself, "Do or do not. There is no try." Ready to face any challenge, Allain began his calculations by using Ridley’s approximate height--or at least what Wikipedia lists as her height--to estimate the approximate size of the speeder. Ridley is approximately 1.7 meters tall, which would make the speeder about 2.8 meters long.
I’ll be honest, this is about where Allain starts to lose me. There is a reason why I am a writer and not a scientist or mathematician. Basically, Allain is able to use the wonders of math, science and a variety of programs he has at his disposal to completely break down Ridley’s brief appearance in the Force Awakens trailer. He measures the angular size and distance the speeder travels, he collects video data on the angle shots of the speeder, and he even creates a model to help him break it all down. While Allain did have to use some guess work to nail down an acceleration and speed for Rey’s speeder, his conclusions come from some pretty strong math. Maybe his numbers aren’t exact, but anything with that many graphs and models has to be pretty close to the actual number.
You can see Rey’s speeder in action in the above trailer, and again when The Force Awakens hits theaters on December 18.