As Star Wars returns to its origins on Tatooine, complaints have rolled in about its continued focus as the galaxy’s central location, but the backlash is only going to get worse as Disney expands the franchise. Partially drawing from the bleak, isolated sand-covered world of Frank Herbert’s Dune novels, George Lucas set the home base of his space epic, Star Wars, on the desolate planet of Tatooine. Notable as a crime-stricken Outer Rim Territory in Star Wars’ legacy, Tatooine has little influence over the galaxy apart from the many characters whose stories begin there, yet it continues to be the franchise’s most consistent backdrop.
Star Wars rarely leaves behind Tatooine as a setting, with each grand film series and TV show eventually touching down on the planet’s surface. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope saw Luke Skywalker’s beginnings around Mos Eisley, Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace similarly explored Anakin Skywalker’s early life on the planet, Star War: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker concluded at Luke’s ancestral home, The Mandalorian has repeatedly returned to the desert locale, and The Book of Boba Fett season 1 explores the criminal syndicates controlling Tatooine. After so much focus on a relatively inconsequential planet, Star Wars viewers have become tired of its overwhelming presence in the past 45 years when there’s such a vast, interesting galaxy the franchise has barely touched on.
Complaints about Tatooine’s constant presence have noted that Star Wars’ obsession with the planet proves the franchise is trapped by its own history, noting that the characters themselves tend to loathe the locale, with Anakin’s infamous “sand” quote/meme being the most famous in-universe gripe. For how extensive and diverse the lore in Star Wars has become, the newest films and TV shows have struggled in on-screen worldbuilding. Star Wars’ Disney+ TV shows offered an incredible opportunity to explore unseen or little-storied locations on a less intensive scale, similar to the new planets that The Mandalorian has dabbled in, but the franchise chooses to return to its most boring and thoroughly hashed-out backwater planet. The backlash about Star Wars’ refusal to leave Tatooine isn’t new, but it’s only going to increase in volume as the majority of upcoming TV shows take place in the same region.
Considering the war against the Pyke Syndicate is only beginning, there’s no suggestion that The Book of Boba Fett will be leaving Tatooine anytime soon, as supported by the notion that the iconic bounty hunter is vying to maintain his control over the planet. The success of Boba Fett is bound to earn it a season 2, meaning Tatooine will remain a fixture for one of Star Wars’ oldest characters. The most highly anticipated upcoming project for Star Wars is 2022’s TV show Obi-Wan Kenobi, which, unsurprisingly, will follow Ewan McGregor’s Jedi Master as he exiles himself on Tatooine and watches over a young Luke Skywalker. While Ahsoka and Andor offer alternate looks at less explored planets, Kenobi has far more pull with viewers, meaning Tatooine criticisms will be overwhelmingly represented compared to the kudos for unexplored areas.
Star Wars’ biggest shows taking place on Tatooine also introduces another universe problem—all their stories take place in past timelines. It may have been more interesting to repeat Tatooine as a significant Star Wars backdrop if it took place after Rey dons her yellow lightsaber in Rise of Skywalker, exploring the planet’s future, but viewers already know Tatooine’s general progression past Kenobi and Book of Boba Fett’s timelines. As Star Wars expands its existing character history, the galaxy only feels smaller when every major story comes back to Tatooine’s backwater planet.
- Rogue Squadron (2023)Release date: Dec 22, 2023
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