5 Star Wars Planet Environments We'd Like to See

The formula for a Star Wars planet is pretty simple: Take an environment we have on Earth, apply it to an entire world, and you're done. It was The Empire Strikes Back that really set the tone, taking its cue from the first film's desert planet, it gave us an Arctic planet, a Swamp planet, and a city in the clouds (as well as an asteroid field). They never did it as well as Empire after that, but we've gotten a forest, a Blade Runner city, an ocean, a pastoral glen, a volcano, a jungle, and Thailand. But we've also gotten back to the desert a whole bunch of times. Can't we be more original?

Well, I personally thought Rogue One did this well, with four main environments, i.e. Iceland (which is such a crazy landscape), a rocky plateau-y desert, a non-Earth world of ravines and spires, and a planet were the landscape is just a coral key archipelago. My friends over at the Film and Water Podcast didn't think those were that great, which got me thinking about Earth environments that haven't been exploited, but should (or should at least inspire Star Wars planets, I'm not proposing we destroy protected environments, nor that all of these are "accessible").

So then, here are five possible environments you can find here on Earth that would make keen Star Wars worlds...
Caves. We've had rock balls, but what lies beneath the surface? What about a world of cave systems? Face it, half the fun of these environments is seeing how the Empire adapts its technology (AT-ATs, speeders, Stormtrooper armor, etc.) to fit them. I really want to see it in such close quarters.
Salt flats (Bolivia). You want to do deserts? Fine. But there are other arid-type environments. Instead of sand, salt. The sense of a dying place where water USED to flow. The whole mirror thing is just a visual bonus.
The Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland. Looks man-made, but it's a natural result of volcanic activity and molten basalt cooling and cracking. A "crystalline" world could certainly be envisaged, and how much Force could be focused through just the right prism?
The ocean floor. Effects heavy, but in this day and age, what does that matter? On approach, the planet seems to be Sargasso seas and mangroves, but civilization thrives UNDER the surface. Yes, we've seen pond life in Episode 1, but truly exploring the ocean floor might yield anything from expansive coral reefs to rebels living in the dark near hydrothermic vents and treacherous ponds of deep sea ooze. Or take those environments, turn the water into air, and you have a truly alien environment. Watch out for flying fish.
Socatra Island, Yemen. One of the most alien places on Earth, this small island has flora and fauna that evolved independently and that look quite strange. I mean, the dragon's blood trees (above) are one thing, but the bulbous bottle tree (below) is like something out of Lovecraft.
And the Yemenites' idea of architecture totally fits the Star Wars universe.
I mean, really.
But maybe you want to get your passport stamped somewhere else? Let us know in the comments.


LiamKav said...

I actually thought the variety of planets was one thing the prequels did really well. Yeah, we go back to Tatooine far more than we should, but Coruscant, Kamino, Mustafar and Nabboo all looked great. For all of Lucus's faults, his films were always visually interesting. I know people criticised the perceived overuse of CGI, but it's just one tool in a filmmaker's box, and one that I thought those films used very well. It was especially notable when comparing them to the TFA planets, which I thought were very underwhelming and derivative (It's Tatooine, but with crashed ships!)

Siskoid said...

I keep remembering it AS Tatooine.

Jonathan Linneman said...

Yes to caves! Even if only to have an excuse to run a Star Wars megadungeon RPG campaign...

Mike W. said...

I like the cave idea too; very D&D. Come to think of it, that place in Yemen looks like it'd make a cool D&D location.


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