Star Wars: The difference between a wayfinder and a holocron

Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX.
Finn (John Boyega), Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Rey (Daisy Ridley) in STAR WARS: EPISODE IX. /

Why did they use a wayfinder to locate Exogol in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker instead of a holocron? The visual dictionary has an explanation.

One major complaint some fans have expressed about Star Wars:The Rise of Skywalker is that the movie felt rushed — and not in a good way. Things moved so quickly, especially in the beginning, that small details went over many viewers’ heads.

The release of a visual dictionary to accompany the film didn’t seem to soothe everyone’s concerns. But others have found its supplementary extremely beneficial, especially when explaining new tools and technology used prominently n the film.

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Around the time of the film’s release, for example, there was a lot of confusion — and therefore, criticism — around the use of a Wayfinder instead of a holocron to guide our protagonists to Exogol.

It turns out a Wayfinder isn’t just another name J.J. Abrams gave to holocrons — the two names are not interchangeable. The two objects actually serve completely different purposes. So let’s clear up any lingering confusion on this topic once and for all.

The below video explains the history of Wayfinders in detail — you can also find this info in The Rise of Skywalker’s visual dictionary. But here lies the key difference between a Wayfinder and a holocron: Holocrons are like books, and Wayfinders are like maps or compasses.

Holocrons typically store information that requires specific manoeuvers to access depending on their purpose.

A Wayfinder, on the other hand, serve as guides to specific locations with the data stored within them. Hence, they’re like compasses, pointing you in a certain direction.

You might compare a Wayfinder in the Star Wars universe to an unfinished map in a time before Google Earth in our universe. Before the establishment of clear hyperspace lanes, ships might be able to jump from location to location, but you couldn’t always plot a direct course to where you wanted to go.

So as you traveled, you might bring along a Wayfinder to store the data pertaining to where you were going — perhaps as a way to get back to where you started in the short-term.

Wayfinders, as we now know, can also keep certain locations secret if only the holder of the wayfinder knows where it has been.

It’s likely we haven’t seen the last of wayfinders in the Star Wars universe. Because they date back so far in the galaxy’s history, perhaps certain upcoming projects could bring them back to the big screen.

The mention of Wayfinders in this film wasn’t meant to confuse or “undo” a previously existing device. These tools have specific purposes, and in The Rise of Skywalker, ended up being the key to locating Palpatine.

Why do some Sith Wayfinders look like holocrons? Well, they just do? Maybe the Sith like that shape. It doesn’t help visually differentiate the two, especially in such a fast-paced film that doesn’t leave much time for exposition when it comes to these details.

For this one, the visual dictionary’s info — hey, it’s kind of like it’s own kind of holocron, isn’t it? — is just going to have to provide the answers you’re looking for.

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Have you found any useful information in the visual dictionary? Is there anything you didn’t understand while watching the film that the dictionary helped explain?