One of the things Star Wars does so much better than most sci-fi/fantasy movies is create a sense of place. Unlike many films in the genre, Star Wars isn’t all sterile white hallways or suspiciously Californian-looking forests–it’s got sterile white hallways, suspiciously Californian forests, snow deserts, sand deserts, swamps, spaceships, and a lot more. And you get the sense that each (inhabited) location has a history. Everything looks used, lived-in–which, like most everything about the movies, was sort of a new concept for sci-fi back in the 60s. Most film-makers thought “futuristic” technology should be all shiny and clean, but apparently George Lucas and Co. figured mud and rust would still be an issue, even in a “galaxy far, far away.” (Anyway it was “a long time ago,” so…) And the movies are better for it. All the attention to detail when it comes to sets and scenery is probably one of the biggest reasons the EU exists.
So every Star Wars location is memorable in its own way. But many of the things that make them memorable also make them…not very nice places to live. Take Tatooine, for example. It has two suns. Do you know how horrible it would be to live on a planet orbiting two suns, assuming you had normal human biology? Apparently it’s so hot and dry there that “moisture farming” is a thing. And that’s not even considering the scary Tusken Raiders and a certain giant slug who’s also a crime boss. No wonder Luke couldn’t wait to get away!
But there are a few places in the Star Wars universe that I would definitely like to visit. Here are the top three:
1) Cloud City
The Empire Strikes Back is my favourite movie in the trilogy for many, many reasons, but Bespin, a.k.a. Cloud City, is not least among those reasons. I mean, it’s a city…in the CLOUDS! It’s like a fairytale castle with better indoor lighting. And as cities in the galaxy go, it seems like a pretty cushy place to live. You know, lots of human(ish) company, great views, nice dining areas, plenty of travel opportunities, etc. As long as no Imperial troops show up, and you don’t mind being governed by a crook, you’re good! And hey, at least Lando Calrissian has better style than your average real-life crook in office.
2) The Forest Moon of Endor
If Cloud City is where I’d like to live full-time, Endor is where I’d prefer to go on my vacations. It’s beautifully green, provides the perfect cover in case I’m ever being pursued by Storm Troopers, and there are adorable little living teddy bears. Of course, I wouldn’t want to live TOO near them…all that unintelligible chatter gets old after a while, and they have this weird tendency to try and eat people. But, you know, they’d be fun to visit. And I’d definitely want to build a tree house just like theirs. Those houses are amazing.
3) The Millenium Falcon
Hey, if they had to build a set for it, it counts as a location! And the Falcon is a really, really cool ship. To me, it’s second only to the Serenity in terms of sheer awesomeness. It’s got light speed capability (most of the time), lots of handy secret compartments to hide stuff–or people–in, big space lasers to fight off the enemy, and comfy chairs. Talk about travelling across the galaxy in style! Oh, and it also comes with Han and Chewie. They’d sell more of these ships if they put that in the commercial.
Isn’t this what great speculative fiction does? It makes you feel like you’ve travelled to another world–a more exciting and wondrous world than the one you live in. That’s what Star Wars does for me, and that is why they’re among the best sci-fi movies EVER.