Friday, July 11, 2014

Opinion: The Planet That's Farthest From


When word got out that filming for Star Wars Episode VII would be taking place in Abu Dhabi the natural assumption was that the saga would be returning to Tatooine.  This was further backed up by videos of JJ Abrams on the set, as well as a whole bunch of leaked set photos.   Naturally, the Star Wars fandom is split about a return to Tatooine.  Many fans, including myself, are excited about returning to the place where, in many ways, the saga began.  While others feel that too many trips back to Tatooine will take away from it's specialness.

I can understand the view point of those who don't feel a return to Tatooine is necessary.  It has been one of the most visited planets in all Star Wars material, including the Original Trilogy, the Prequel Trilogy, The Clone Wars, The Old Republic, and countless novels and comics.  And yet, in Episode IV, Luke describes the planet by saying, "if there's a bright center of the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from."  With this in mind, why is it we keep going back there?

The simple truth is there is a lot more going on on Tatooine than Luke acknowledges.    In our visits to the desert planet we have seen that there is a lot going on.  First and foremost the planet is the center of Jabba the Hutt's crime rings and, as a result, many seedy cantinas which are havens for smugglers and bounty hunters.  The seedy underbelly of the galaxy has played a major role in the Star Wars films and will likely continue to do so, especially when the stand alone films start to come out.  So it makes sense that bounty hunters like Boba Fett, Bossk, and Latts Razzi would meet to plan their next hunt on Tatooine (like we saw in The Clone Wars episode "Bounty").

Now, it's possible Luke was simply exaggerating for effect.  The words of a bored teenager who feels they are not able to peruse their dreams because of their location cannot be taken at face value.  It's also possible that this whole other part of Tatooine is simply beyond Luke's realm.  We get the sense from A New Hope that Luke doesn't get much time away from his uncle's farm, so this whole other side of Tatooine may as well be on Coruscant for him.  Do we even know if Luke had been to Mos Eisley before he escorted Obi-Wan there for his fateful meeting with Han Solo?  The fact that Obi-Wan has to explain where they are going ("You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy") seems to indicate no.  Owen and Beru clearly shelter Luke, so to him Tatooine may feel very small and insignificant.

While these are all valid reasons to return to Tatooine, this question still remains: why did, arguably, the two most important figures in galactic history end up there.  Both Luke and Anakin spent time growing up on Tatooine.  Coincidence?  Maybe, but unlikely.  As Qui-Gon says, "Nothing happens by accident."  Perhaps the Force is unusually strong with this planet.  We have seen other planets, like Dagobah, that are connected to the Force in ways that planets like Naboo and Hoth are not.  Perhaps there is something about Tatooine that keeps drawing major events back to it.  This would explain why it would be the only planet to be featured in all three trilogies. 

Is this theory a bit far fetched?  Maybe.  But then again, the Force acts in mysterious ways.  I like to think that there is something bigger at play when it comes to Tatooine.  That the Force keeps drawing our heroes back there for something.  What that something is, I don't know.  It could be a test, or a lesson about patience and living in the here and now, or maybe there is something about Tatooine that is strong in the dark side which needs to be fought or balanced out.  

As we move forward with this new era of Star Wars films it's likely that we will be making more than one trip back to Tatooine.  Partially due to it's iconic status, but also due to the reasons stated above.  And, like I said, maybe there's something bigger going on on Tatooine that we don't know about yet.  It's a new age and anything is possible....

You can follow Dominic on Twitter: @DominicJ25
This article is an opinion piece and represents the views of the writer, and not the entire Star Wars Underworld organization.


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