Sequel TrilogyThe Force Awakens

Speculation: Thawing the sand planet assumptions. Tatooine or not Tatooine?

This is one of those things that really makes it hard for Star Wars fans to firmly make a stance on. When you see a sand planet in a Star Wars film, its a logical assumption to think the planet is Tatooine. Five of the six live action Star Wars films feature the sand planet in drastically different ways and each time the planet is Tatooine, home of Anakin and Luke Skywalker. So when we saw the first official look at sand planet in the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser, most people writing on the topic did not want to firmly say it was or was not Tatooine. If you say it isn’t Tatooine and it ends up being Tatooine you seem kind of stupid. But when you say a sand planet isn’t Tatooine, the Star Wars fan community calls you out… for being stupid.

We have had fans analyze the teaser trailer and prove that there is only one sun in the final teaser shot with the Falcon. Okay, I thought, that’s pretty good. Solid! But then a lot of justifications came in like maybe the other sun is below the horizon or maybe the shots aren’t finished. I don’t buy that but I also won’t discount the possibilities as they are truly endless.

More than one person has insisted we’re getting all new planets in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and these are friends I trust a lot. That’s why I reluctantly become a doubter and play devil’s advocate when I say “what if it really means all new planets except for the given planet, Tatooine?” But I take them on their word and believe that to be the case.

Here’s what I have to contribute to the sand planet not being Tatooine discussion. The sand planet has a lot of concept art, obviously. In all depictions of the planet, there are never two suns. However, in various pieces we see the sand planet at night and the planet always has two moons. Tatooine has three moons. If this was an error it would not continue as frequently as it does. So basically the suns and the moons are telling us this is not Tatooine.

Here’s another interesting thing about the design of the film. I can’t tell if the artists are just obsessed with The Empire Strikes Back or what. But there’s a sand planet with Hoth Wampa skulls, Wampa lightsabers, Tauntaun skulls being used as scary shaman type headpieces and AT-AT walkers downed all over the place. It seems more likely the artists are obsessed with Empire Strikes Back references but there are so many, its like Hoth thawed out. Is this a sand planet in the Hoth system that thawed out? I doubt it but one has to ask that question out loud at least once.

Right now I’m looking at designs for moisture vaporators that are meant to evoke Tatooine but not replicate them exactly. That’s another hint this sand planet in Star Wars: The Force Awakens is not Tatooine. There are designs for “Water Droids” which could be meant for different plants than the sand planet as the brown background isn’t exactly definitive as the sand planet. But it kind of says they looked into how the people on the planet got their water and it wasn’t always using the same methods as we’ve seen on the fictional Tatooine.

The pendulum swings both ways on this issue. Right now, for me, the pendulum is firmly in the “not Tatooine” side of things. There’s just more evidence for “not Tatooine” right now. There can be more than one sand planet in a galaxy as vast as Star Wars. Hell, we have lots of deserts here on Earth. Hopefully we get a name for this planet sooner than later and put this to bed once and for all!


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Jason Ward (EIC)

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