latest issue of the Homing Beacon has arrived and in this issue we
get to talk about the planets of Episode III part 3! You can see the
first part from Homing Beacon #129 here
and the second part from Homing Beacon #131 here.
Revenge of the Sith showcases more planets than any Star
Wars film that has come previously, more planets than all the
previous Star Wars films combined. The scale of the Star
Wars finale is so enormous that it stretches from the heart of
the Republic to the wispiest reaches of the Outer Rim. To better
orient yourself in galaxy far, far away, here's a brief introduction
to some of the planets to be found in Episode III.
It's a sign of desperate times if a chaotic asteroid field must
become a refuge. Han Solo was forced to hide in the tumbling rocks
next to the ice planet Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. In Revenge
of the Sith, it's Jedi fugitives that come to hide at the Polis
Massa colony, a remote outpost based in an asteroid field.
More sedate than the
deadly storm of debris seen in Episode V, the Polis Massa field
serves as a backdrop, not an ingredient in an action set piece. The
scenes that take place there are set within a sealed and modern
facility, realized as both a practical set during principal
photography and a miniature observation dome. Here, we'll meet the
Polis Massans, oddly faceless aliens created as computer-generated
During the early development of Episode III, a Clone Wars montage of
alien worlds was to start the movie, as seven different battles on
seven different planets dissolved from one to another. This
direction was abandoned early, but the concept art that explored
these planets was re-used for another part of the film.
The arid world of
Saleucami, marked by scattered oases of verdant growth, has just
fallen to the Republic. Jedi General Stass Allie still patrols the
wilderness, looking for pockets of Separatists forces that may be in
hiding. In Episode III, we'll see her leading a team of clone
troopers on BARC speeder bikes.
No Star Wars fan should need an introduction to this world.
Tatooine is at the heart of the saga, being the cradle of the
Skywalker family. As is to be expected, the twin-sunned desert
planet will once again appear, as will the Lars Homestead moisture
farm, as the foundation of the original Star Wars trilogy is
laid by the final acts of Episode III.
A trip to Tunisia was
not part of the Episode III production itinerary. Plate photography
of the Tunisian environment was gathered during the production of
Episode II, and was combined with greenscreen footage of the actors
involved to bring to saga to a close.
The name Utapau has been lurking in the early draft scripts of Star
Wars since the mid-1970s. It was first going to be the name of
Tatooine in Episode IV. It was then almost the name used for Naboo
in Episode I. Now, finally, Writer/Director George Lucas gets to use
that name to describe a planet, a new sinkhole world in Episode III.
From the surface,
Utapau looks like a flat, windswept world, but get closer, and you
soon see that it is riddled with enormous sinkholes. Lining the
inner edge of these huge pits are cities. It is in one of these
sinkhole cities that General Grievous and the Separatist Council
keep their secret headquarters. Obi-Wan Kenobi voyages to Utapau in
a mission to seek out and stop the General, to bring an end to the
Utapau is an entirely
synthetic environment. It is a mixture of huge miniatures depicting
the sinkhole, walls and building-lined avenues, as well as digital
matte paintings. Utapau is home to two native sentient species, as
well as a host of loyal and helpful lizard creatures -- like the
wall-climbing varactyls and flying dactillions that are both used as