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Star Wars Planets: Tatooine – Background and Importance

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BY April 30, 2020
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In the Star Wars universe, several planets play host to crucial moments for central characters. If you consider the most important planets in the various stories told of a galaxy far, far away, there’s no denying the importance of Tatooine. The desert planet is consistently present in the story of The Skywalker Saga. More recent additions to the Expanded Universe also utilize the desolate planet as the setting for defining events and encounters. Let’s take time to explore one of the most important Star Wars Planets: Tatooine.

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine Climate and Landscape

star wars planets: tatooine Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

The Outer Rim is comprised of several planets lacking in resources and residents. Tatooine is one such planet. At some point in its history, the planet featured numerous oceans and rainforests. For reasons unknown, Tatooine eventually transformed into a scorching desert. The planet has three moons: Ghomrassen, Guermessa, and Chenini. More famously, Tatooine orbits two twin suns, Tatoo I and Tatoo II. The shot from A New Hope of Luke Skywalker looking out to this planetary anomaly is an iconic shot from the original trilogy. Because of the desert heat and desolation, a very small part of the planet’s northern hemisphere serves as the only hospitable area. The rest of the planet features sand dunes, mountains, and canyons, none of which neighbor a body of water.

The landscape of Tatooine makes the planet’s native species unique. Krayt dragons submerge into the sand, swimming through the planet’s surface like an ocean. Other common species include the ram-like bantha and camel-like eopie.

Non-Human Inhabitants

The two primary native non-human inhabitants of Tatooine are the Jawa and the Tusken Raiders. According to the planet’s early history, the highly reflective surface of the desert sands attracted explorers. The lack of water actually led to many settlers passing the planet by, believing it to be a third sun. By the time colonies emerged and eventually failed due to the planet’s hostile climate, crime reigned supreme. Smugglers set up operations for their criminal activity, which provided isolated settlers a place to attempt to sell resources. As mining for surface minerals became a popular practice, the native Jawas erected bases and shelters.

Jawa don robes, hiding the physical properties of their bodies. At around one meter tall on average, the tiny natives reportedly feature an animal-like musk to them. Although some believe they are devolved humans, it’s more likely that they resemble giant rodent-type creatures. The more-dangerous Tusken Raiders are also sentients native to the planet and earned their name for frequent attacks on locals. It’s a disgrace for Tuskens to display their flesh, so we don’t necessarily know what species they are. They wear cloth wraps, hiding everything from onlookers. It’s rumored that both Jawa and Tuskens share a common ancestor: the Kumumgah.

The Ancient Kumugah

According to Knights of the Old Republic lore, which is not canon but considered “legends,” the Kumumgah lived on Tatooine before the planet became a desert. They achieved technological feats like space travel and began colonizing planets. Humans too are understood to share ancestry with this species, but the spread of the Kumumgah led to different evolutions. According to Star Wars Legends canon, the Rakata attacked the Kumumgah on Tatooine, and the attack changed the planet’s climate significantly. Over time, ecological damage likely led to the emergence of desert properties like sand and intense heat.

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine and the Clone Wars

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

By the time of the events in the prequel trilogy, a massive city, Mos Espa, emerged on Tatooine. The home to gamblers, traders, and a black market for things and human slaves, the city operated under the ownership of Jabba the Hutt. The planet’s degraded standards for law and order created a lucrative slave trade. Two slaves were Shmi Skywalker and her son Anakin. The arrival of Queen Padmé Amidala, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, and his apprentice Obi-Wan Kenobi expose Anakin’s promise with the Force. Jinn obtained Anakin’s freedom in order to enroll the boy in the Jedi Order.

Anakin started training but returns to Tatooine a decade later after sensing his mother’s danger. He finds his mother a prisoner in a Tusken Raider camp, and she dies in his arms due to mistreatment. In a fit of rage telling of his fate, Anakin slaughters the Tuskens and returns to the Jedi Order. As the Clone Wars raged on, Anakin eventually embraces his darker tendencies and joins the Sith. As Skywalker begins hunting the Jedi to eradicate them from the galaxy, Obi-Wan Kenobi hides on Tatooine with Skywalker and Amadala’s infant son for safety. Kenobi leaves the child with Shmi Skywalker’s stepson, Owen Lars, and his wife.

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine in the Galactic Civil War Years

star wars planets: tatooine Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Amidst the throws of Galactic Civil War, droids R2-D2 and C-3P0 arrive on Tatooine to deliver an important message to Obi-Wan Kenobi. The Jedi spent decades in hiding on the planet after delivering Luke Skywalker to the Lars family. On their mission, Jawas capture the droids and later become the property of Owen Lars, quite fatefully. Luke interacts with R2-D2, who displays a message from Princess Leia pleading for Obi-Wan’s help. Luke connects the Jedi in question to Ben Kenobi, the pseudonym Obi-Wan uses on Tatooine. After learning of Kenobi’s Jedi training, Luke undergoes training with the Master. Imperial forces, tracing the droids to Luke’s house, kill Skywalker’s family. Luke plans to continue his training and later departs the planet with Obi-Wan to retrieve Leia.

Luke, Leia, and their fellow fighter Han Solo work to undermine the efforts of Anakin Skywalker, now Darth Vader. Solo owes a debt to Jabba the Hutt and is subsequently tracked by the bounty hunter Boba Fett. Upon capture, Hutt freezes Solo in carbonite and features him as a wall decoration his palace on Tatooine. Leia and Luke infiltrate the palace where they rescue solo, escape death, and kill Jabba the Hutt.

The New Republic Era on Tatooine

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

During the time between the defeat of the Empire and the rise of the First Order, a bounty hunter known as “The Mandalorian” reaches Tatooine after taking ship damage in a dogfight. Leaving his ship with repair facility owner Peli Motto, the Mandalorian looks to join a guild for work. While gone, Peli comes across the Child, a young being seemingly under the protection of the Mandalorian. With the bounty hunter off working, Peli cares for and bonds with the Child. The Mandalorian works to capture mercenary Fennec Shand with the help of another aspiring hunter, Toro Calican. Despite Shand’s attempts to sway Calican in turning in the Mandalorian instead of her, he kills the mercenary and flees to kidnap the Child for a greater bounty. Despite initially capturing the Child, the Mandalorian disorients and kills Calican. The bounty hunter and the Child, reunited, leave Tatooine.

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine and the End of the First Order-Resistance War

Star Wars Planets: Tatooine Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

After a truly galactical effort of people on planets all over, the tyrannical First Order faces defeat. One leader in the Resistance, Rey, gains her skills in the Force with the help of Luke Skywalker and is crucial to the hope left for the Jedi ways. After celebrating the victory over the First Order, she returns to Tatooine to bury Leia and Luke’s lightsabers at the Lars farm. She begins going by the name Rey Skywalker, at the blessing of the departed Luke and Leia. In a call back to Luke’s days on Tatooine, Rey then looks off into the twin suns of Tatooine during as they set.

Explore More Planets and People in the Star Wars Expanded Universe

star wars planets: tatooine Image Credit: Lucasfilm/Disney

Tatooine is one of the most impactful of all Star Wars planets. The Western-style influence of the original trilogy allowed Tatooine to be a familiar yet mysterious setting. Through every era of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Tatooine plays a vital role in the story. Overall, it’s one of the most iconic settings in sci-fi and pop culture.

Comic Years is your go-to place to learn all there is to know about Star Wars. From the stories of influential characters like Darth Revan to new adventures in the High Republic to come, we’ll keep you updated on everything. If you want to know more about a character or a planet, then let us know in the comments! Thanks for reading Comic Years for all things comics, movies, and pop culture.

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Taylor loves to play video games in his spare time. He has two degrees in Political Communication and wrote his thesis on Marxism and the exploitation of college athletes. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his wife and two Toy Australian Shepherds. He’s always got headphones in, and he’s a diehard Cubs fan.

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