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something I always wondered about the PT

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In the OT, Tatooine is basically a desert planet without much going on.  Luke wants to "get off this rock".  Most of the inhabitants seem to be Jawas or sand people.  There is one city, Mos Eisley, which basically seems to be a transfer point for pilots.  Tatooine is hardly what one would consider a destination.

But in the PT, Tatooine is a hoppin' place.  It's actually a bit like ancient Rome.  The pod races are like gladiator contests with tens of thousands of screaming spectators.  There is clearly an established, legal slave trade, and bustling markets where you can buy rare spaceship parts.  It's hardly a "rock".

According to the "original vision", did Tatooine become a dead place only after the empire took over?  If not, why didn't Luke enter a pod race?  Why did uncle Owen need Luke and droids, when he could have just had a couple of slaves?  I'm just having trouble equating the two Tatooines - they seem like very different places.

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I think you posted in the wrong place. Therefore...Whoosh!

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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I agree with Puggo: the difference in context is jarring, and makes no sense whatsoever.

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I think Lucas simply changed his mind between the trilogies. Tatooine was more of an old West analogy in the OT. You had homesteads, saloons, shootouts, traders, and bandits who would attack unwary travelers. Even the rifle Luke pulls out of the Landspeeder before the sandpeople attacked looks like a prop from a western.

Even though Jabba's Palace eventually turns out to be located there, (it can't be his only stronghold) the planet is still referred to as "nothing to see" by Luke.

What there is of Tatooine in the previews I've seen of Dark Horse's The Star Wars comic, (based on Lucas' original drafts) it still appears to be an out of the way place.

There's no easy way to reconcile the OT and PT versions of the planet.

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You know what with all the other stuff to worry about I'd actually never noticed this giant flaw in the PT. Thanks for ruining it for me! ;-)

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Off the top of my head: a possible in-universe explanation is that Luke very rarely went to Mos Eisley, if at all, and probably spent most of his time at the homestead.  If that's his frame of reference, it makes sense that he would find Tatooine a dull old rock.  Plus, he's a law-abiding do-gooder.  He has no interest in the criminal dealings on the planet.  Also, the establishing shot of Mos Eisley where Obi-Wan gives a bit of exposition ("you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy" as to the kind of place they're about to enter implies that Luke is unfamiliar with it.  That, of course, ignores the fact that the line is there more for our sake as a precursor to the shenanigans we find in the cantina.

But that's putting too much thought into it for my tastes.  I simply offered this as a possible explanation.  

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SilverWook said:

I think Lucas simply changed his mind between the trilogies. Tatooine was more of an old West analogy in the OT. You had homesteads, saloons, shootouts, traders, and bandits who would attack unwary travelers. Even the rifle Luke pulls out of the Landspeeder before the sandpeople attacked looks like a prop from a western.

This is one of the main reasons the revision of Mos Eisley in the Special Edition always felt so wrong for me (even aside from the goofy droids and Jawa hijinks). Mos Eisley felt like either a town in the old West — or a village in ancient Japan that Toshiro Mifune might be walking through. It wasn't a place that you really wanted to go unless you had to.

It formerly reinforced that Tatooine was a $#!+hole, now, between the busier Mos Eisley and the frankly metropolitan Mos Espa, Luke just seems like that much more of a whiner when he complains about living on Tatooine. It also takes quite a bit away from the ‘hero from nowhere’ concept that Lucas had based his story on.

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SilverWook said:


There's no easy way to reconcile the OT and PT versions of anything.

 Fixed.  It's almost like the Original Lucas was replaced with a Replicant Lucas before writing the PT, and something went wrong with its programming.

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You do know about my beardless George theory, right? ;)

originaltrilogy.com Moderator

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Puggo - Jar Jar's Yoda said:

In the OT, Tatooine is basically a desert planet without much going on.  Luke wants to "get off this rock".  Most of the inhabitants seem to be Jawas or sand people.  There is one city, Mos Eisley, which basically seems to be a transfer point for pilots.  Tatooine is hardly what one would consider a destination.

But in the PT, Tatooine is a hoppin' place.  It's actually a bit like ancient Rome.  The pod races are like gladiator contests with tens of thousands of screaming spectators.

That idiotic rewriting of Tatooine twenty years after it had already been established was one of the major reasons I wanted to leave the theater.  That "rock" should have never been visited again. Yet, as so often was the case when Lucas faced writer's block, he went the easy route and shrunk the universe.  One of many shameful middle fingers to the 1977 film.

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As is usually the case with these things, Tatooine was going downhill when Lucas decided to put Jabba's palace there, instead of on an interesting or exotic planet like a rich gangster would want. That always bugged me. Why not have our heroes go to some surreal underwater fortress that was actually dangerous and difficult to escape from, instead of a place that Luke and the droids simply walk into without any trouble?

As for the idea that Tatooine was turned into a dump when the Empire took control, it doesn't square with what we know. I could buy that there used to be more going on there twenty or thirty years ago, as evidenced by all of the derelict equipment just sitting there in the desert waiting to be picked up by Jawas, but none of those trashed droids were in service in the prequels, so it's anyone's guess how they wound up in the desert.

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Well, as for the Jawas picking up scrap that we never see in service in the PT, we never see the scope of how far they travel.  They could be going to locations that we never see, so I am ok with that.

Maybe Tatooine is the only place that has the proper environment that supports Jabba's species, so he has to stay on that planet?  So I'm ok with that too.

It is hard to explain Luke's view of Tatooine in light of the prequels.  However, we don't really learn from any of the films how far the Lars homestead is from any populated area.  Luke's view of Tatooine may be very small.  Yes he gets to use the landspeeder and the t-16, but maybe he isn't allowed beyond a certain point or 'There'll be hell to pay'.

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Also, why would the Jedi exile/hide someone (Luke/Leia) on the PT version of Tatooine?  I can understand that for the OT version, but if you wanted to exile someone, you wouldn't hide them in such a hub of activity where they could get into the kind of trouble young Anakin did.

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This one is hard to reconcile when you think about it.  I guess that stems from Yoda's feeling that Luke's 'family' is the best place for him (and not Obi-Wan). Of course, this is after he lets Bail Organa take Leia.

My feeling on 'why' is that Obi-Wan explained (offscreen)the situation to Owen, and the importance of keeping Luke on a short leash with instructions to give Luke very little information about his biological parents and the events leading him there, hoping to keep him low key.  After Owen and Beru are briefed and agree to take Luke, we see the handoff at the end of the film.

I know, not great, but plausible.

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I can't remember who it was, but somebody on the original SW crew (maybe the DP, Gilbert Taylor?) said that Lucas talked about Mos Eisley during the shoot as being reminiscent of a remote border town from a Sergio Leone western.  Then in the SE we get a bustling spaceport with slapstick droids and dinosaurs.

Obviously Lucas changed his mind during production of the SE's after becoming obsessed with CG.

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I think once you have Jabba on Tatooine it blows the whole middle of nowhere angle. As a crime lord he is known to the Rebels and he seems to be local in the 1977 version of the film. Greedo strongly suggests Jabba is nearby during his confrontation with Han, near enough for him to take Solo to him without too much hassle (he really intends to kill Solo but his claim doesn't seem to be too credulity stretching).

It's one time the "a certain point of view" angle can legitimately be evoked.

I remember a pal of mine had just come over from a small village in India.

It was winter and it snowed, no big shakes for me it wasn't even a major snowfall but he had never seen snow before the day was a really big thing for him, he still talks about it to this day and his mum chases poisonous snakes I could only see in a zoo out her kitchen.

Tatooine is nothing to Luke, I dare say Coruscant would mean nothing to him if he was brought up there.

He has a yen for adventure so home is the last place he wants to be wherever that home is.

Even its the sort of place with the occasional space battle and a run in with Sand People or worse. How many bored Afghan children there must be but for most of us to go there would be an adventure with a lot of danger thrown into the mix.

Podracing is exciting to us more because it is exotic to us.

There is a certain thrill that comes with speed but is speedway really remarkable to everyone or just to people who have never seen a motorbike off road before?

I also think it was always intended that the story would return there. You just don't drop in a line like "I'm never coming back to this place again" without intending to play the irony card.

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I'm not a big PT apologist, though I enjoy it more than most here, but I think the answer is in the OP.  As is the case with the way technology appears and the way the whole galaxy appears to be a busy place (vs. the OT where there are more lonely planets and technology actually appears inferior), Tatooine seems to have succumbed to decay.  Before it still wasn't a booming planet, but it was certainly a center for some activity.  By the time the OT rolls around, it's like a planet-wide ghost city.

Note: I am not a fan of this explanation.  In spite of the evil of the Empire, I have a hard time believing there'd be such galaxy-wide technological decline, especially considering that it's not consistent (i.e. bigger ships, Death Stars, etc.).  I can see the lower standard of living, as such is the case in present-day dictatorships, but military technology clearly should be improving, as that is often why dictatorships have such poor people--their military might is disproportionate.

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@Bingowings: I don't think Luke's "I'm never coming back" line should be twisted to be ironic. He's simply never intending to return as he has no reason to. If later he has a reason, he will come back. The problem with returning to Tatooine for me is that it limits creative decisions for ROTJ.

@darth_ender: I could buy the idea that Tatooine had some sort of business which was encouraged by the Republic, which was then forgotten by the Empire and led to the nothing planet of the OT. But if we're comparing PT to OT, perhaps we should actually look at Tatooine as it appears in the original 77 film instead of the "sunny blue sky Tatooine" blu-ray. Tatooine originally was intended to be unpleasant in every way, and not just to Luke. I don't think there was any intent to have Tatooine be anything other than a frontier town until George got rose colored glasses for his revisions. It's just that the movie is rather inconsistent in terms of its universe, leading for example to an Imperial officer telling Tarkin that a ship "blasted its way out of Mos Eisley", as if Tarkin would be familiar with a little nothing village on Tatooine of all places. If the movie were more consistent, the officer would probably say that the ship blasted its way off Tatooine.

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I just had a weird thought (a tad off topic) while thinking about the parallels between Episode I and SW (Ep IV).

Amidala is the MacGuffin of Episode I. She is the Death Star plans.

You know of the rebellion against the Empire?

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I see the inconsistency in the statement to Tarkin, but a loose explanation could be that since they knew the plans and droids were last known to be in a particular area of Tatooine, Tarkin demanded up to date reports of all unusual activities in that area.  Especially ones that had an 'Imperial entanglement'.

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Erikstormtrooper said:

I just had a weird thought (a tad off topic) while thinking about the parallels between Episode I and SW (Ep IV).

Amidala is the MacGuffin of Episode I. She is the Death Star plans.

 But she's clearly never going to sign it, so when the data's analyzed a weakness will not be found. :)

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It's a classic trope.

Character A jokes about liking Character B and ends up romantically linked to Character B.

Character A claims something cannot be done even with a targeting computer to Character B. Character B ends up doing that thing notably without a targeting computer.

Character A says "I'm never coming back to this place again" and ends up "coming back to this place again" it was so obvious a turn that Marvel got to the pay off before Lucas did.

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I say we take everything that happened on Tatooine in the PT and put it on Nar Shaddaa or Nal Hutta.

It would make more sense because it's the heart of the underworld. It would make sense to have illegal podraces there with thousands of people from all over the galaxy. It would make more sense for a booming slave trade. It obviously makes more sense for the Hutts to control it (something you never hear any references to in the OT, not that there always has to be a legitimizing reference, but that's a pretty big deal). It makes more sense to find rare starship parts. It makes sense to hide there because you can just blend in with a crowd, though you can't just land out in the desert somewhere unrecorded, but surely there's some work-around, bribes, mind tricks (it worked in KOTOR). I suppose they'd take Repiblic credits, too, but meh. Whatever.

It's a good idea, it just needs work. I suppose you could argue that the Hutts abandoned Tatooine sometime after TPM and it fell apart after then, but you'd think with any kind of economy that someone would have filled the power vacuum.

Also Tarkin being briefed about the planet Vader lost the Death Star plans over makes perfect sense to me. Especially when there's only two confirmed cities and Mos Eisley is apparently the larger of the two.

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Mos Eisely is a spaceport. Anchorhead was doughnut center, (what a hole) and presumably was more of a little agrarian community linked to the moisture farms. There are probably a lot of Anchorhead type towns on the planet. Probably a lot of "ghost" towns too.

In the OT, M.E. is presumably the major destination whether arriving or leaving Tatooine, unless you're doing something really really shady, and are willing to risk landing somewhere like the Jundland Wastes. And even a tiny spot on the map in our world can have a large international airport.

To borrow a term from Star Trek, there's a "failed colony" aspect to Tatooine. A lot of settlers probably tried to make the miserable rock green, and only the descendants of hardier souls are still there trying to make it work.

I got the impression from the OT (and the deleted scenes with Luke's friends that were in the comic) that the Empire normally wouldn't bother with such a remote inhospitable place. They have bigger fish to fry, so maybe there's a spy or two just to keep an eye out for Rebel activity. Which is why smugglers and the underworld would have a presence there.

The Empire probably doesn't care what Jabba and his ilk do so long as it doesn't interfere with their plans, and perhaps an Imperial official gets a annual bribe to keep looking the other way.

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Interesting points.

I think some may forget that we are talking about planets here. Tatooine could be bigger than Jupiter all we know. It can have millions or even billions of towns small and large. If I lived middle of Sahara (okay, impossible) and thought it was the most boring place ever, it doesn't mean that there isn't anything else happening on the whole planet. If I knew there was one airport (spaceport) pretty close, it doesn't mean it's the only one on the whole planet. Even then, Mos Eisley could be a 10 hour ride away from Luke's home even at landspeeder speed, which could be a couple of thousand kilometers, who knows

And if there aren't any cool car races right now happening at my local town of 12 people... well, I'm pretty sure there are lots of races going on 24/7 here on Earth. If I lived on Tatooine I'd try to come up with something fun to do then, even though the podrace as a story element is boring and ridicilous and shouldn't exist just because of that.

The Jabba angle is pretty good, but then again, we don't have anything other to hold against the "Tatooine is a dead rock" comment than a young man who wants to be somewhere else than at his home.

Btw, I'm not defending PT or anything else at all here as I don't like the choices made either, just more to think about for your own imagination.

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