Some of Star Wars' most memorable scenes have happened in space. The destruction of the Death Star, the Kessel Run, the destruction of the second Death Star and the Holdo maneuver are moments that you only need remember to accurately visualize.
Additionally, interplanetary travel has been a staple of nearly every Star Wars story on television and film. Obviously it's a formula that works, but space travel and battles are something that the franchise has leaned on so heavily, I can't help but imagine what a Star Wars film would be without it. In a time when Star Wars is taking a hard look at where it's been, and where it's headed, I'd like to run through the strengths of doing a franchise entry without space travel.
It's A Large Galaxy, But So Little Time Is Spent Exploring Planets
Star Wars has such a big galaxy and tons of planets to work with, but we really don't see a lot of what's happening on those planets. Sometimes it feels like there are only a few inhabited locations max on each planet, and the rest is just an unused wasteland where nothing happens and nothing matters.
Obviously that's not the case here on Earth. Our planet is vast, has more than one climate and billions of people of different cultures and backgrounds. It never feels that way on Star Wars because each part of an adventure has to be a pit stop at a new planet, with some quick shot of something cool, and then we're off to the next one.
I think of the efforts Star Wars has poured into fleshing out the story of Batuu, and wish there were more locations in this franchise where you could craft an entire story from start to finish. I get that with lightspeed, the temptation is real to hop all around the galaxy, but surely there are more than a few people in this mythos who live almost exclusively on their planet at all times. Let's hear one of their stories!
Space Travel Always Makes For A Quick And Easy Escape
If there's one thing Star Wars characters love, it's making an escape into hyperspace shortly after finding a ship on a planet. Realistically, I get that most of the time, these heroes are vastly outmatched by Empire or First Order forces, but is jumping into deep space really as low-key an exit as laying low within a city?
I would argue no, and honestly, it's always a little convenient some characters happen to find a pilot willing to put their necks on the line for someone they may hardly know. I'd like to see what happens to the character with no option of escaping off the planet, and who is forced into the shadows and needs to slink around in order to effectively evade capture. Jumping to hyperspace is a cop-out; give us some Rebels who rely on their skills and street smarts to blend in and successfully make their way out of the city.
When I think of something like that, I think of the season finale of The Mandalorian, where the team of bounty hunters is backed against a wall by Moff Gideon. It feels like we saw more of that city in one episode than we've seen of Coruscant in the movies! That's a problem that needs to be remedied, and I think removing the option of space travel is a fix that would force Star Wars to develop these cities beyond a few key locations.
One Planet Increases Chances Of Bit Characters Reappearing
Star Wars has this trend of introducing a lot of small characters who look really cool, and then we never see them again unless they appear in some comic, cartoon or side story. It's helpful for bulking up the character count of the franchise, but wouldn't it be cool if a story could actually make some bit character temporarily relevant by having them re-appear later in the story?
I love a rotating cast of fresh faces, but just once I'd love to see the Bib Fortuna of the story find their way back into the thick of things. So many promising characters have been thrown aside over the years simply because the story never came back in their direction, and it's my hope that a movie or even trilogy of movies set on one planet would remedy that in some way.
Additionally, showing characters from one part of the story rubbing shoulders with other prominent characters would help make a world feel more connected. I'm not saying that Watto shaking Jabba's hand in The Phantom Menace would've made Tatooine feel more connected, but I'm also saying that it wouldn't have hurt. To me, the podracing scene and Luke's arrival in Return of the Jedi feel like they happened in two entirely separate locations, and it's weird that it feels that way.
Land Vehicles Don't Get Enough Love In Star Wars
It's all about the X-Wings and Tie Fighters, and I get that, but why don't we get more scenes with landspeeders? Land vehicles aren't completely absent from Star Wars, but it is strange that they are so rarely used. I guess that's the advantage of ever major city having a place to land a ship.
Remember that landspeeder chase scene in Solo: A Star Wars Story? We just don't get that kind of ground action in Star Wars, save for the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi. Both of those scenes are the type of action we need more of in Star Wars, and in my opinion, they're a lot more exciting than the formulaic space encounters.
Come to think of it, most Star Wars space battle scenes are largely underwhelming. Ships get in a firefight, someone on the good guys' side goes down in flames, good guys turn the tables and all the bad guys get destroyed. Plus, there are only so many interesting ship maneuvers that can be done in these battles. We need more ground chase scenes and fights to keep things fresh and make it less obvious that Star Wars has done about all it can do with space battles.
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