Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Star Wars Planet That Almost Looked Totally Different In The Rise Of Skywalker

No more than a few minutes into the original Star Wars (or A New Hope, as we know it today), C-3PO (Anthony Daniels) and R2-D2 (Kenny Baker) are forced to make an emergency landing on the desert planet of Tatooine. Filmed in the deserts of Tunisia, the landscape is harsh and desolate. The do find help, of course — first in the form of Jawa scavengers who intend to sell them, and then in the form of Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), far from the Jedi Knight he's destined to become.

Tatooine's scenery and atmosphere are reflected years later in The Force Awakens, in which hero-to-be Rey (Daisy Ridley) resides on Jakku. A desert planet like Tatooine, Jakku nonetheless has a flavor all its own — part of which is established by the apocalyptic remnants of the Empire scattered across the sands and Rey's interactions with the people of a local settlement. Differences aside, what parallels can be drawn are there on purpose, connecting Rey's story to Luke's in clever ways.

Come The Rise of Skywalker, Star Wars faithful are introduced to yet another desert planet: Pasaana. The locale proves integral to the plot and is the site of the colorful Festival of Ancestors, but using a desert planet yet again felt too "been there, done that" for many fans. Unbeknownst to those fans until a reveal by concept artist Phil Saunders, Pasaana wasn't a desert planet at all in the film's developmental stages — quite the opposite, in fact.

A whole new world

Saunders' gorgeous artwork depicts a Pasaana not only different from the one in The Rise of Skywalker, but different from almost every other planet that's appeared in the Star Wars films to date. "Another concept for the wetland pirate planet that became [Pasaana]," he captioned an Instagram post featuring the art. "The speeder chase would have started at the village to the left and weaved through the keels of these rebel cargo ship-inspired freighters before veering into the mangrove forest to the right."

The Pasaana speeder chase in The Rise of Skywalker is already action-packed as is, replete with jetpacks and an extended blaster shootout. On Saunders' Pasaana, however, the obstacles in the heroes' path would have multiplied tenfold — just imagine their speeder zipping through those freighters and the tight confines of a mangrove forest, spraying water obscuring their vision and putting them in danger of drowning. All that aside, it really does seem like a beautiful planet. Look closely and you'll see an underwater waterfall, which, as Saunders wrote on ArtStation, "was inspired by a natural feature off the coast of the island of Mauritius."

Notably, Star Wars concept art has been repurposed before. The animated series Star Wars Rebels, for instance, drew directly from famous Star Wars concept artist Ralph McQuarrie when designing Chopper (voiced by Dave Filoni), basing the droid's appearance on McQuarrie's early art of R2-D2. It's a big galaxy out there, so fans could still see Saunders' work pop up at some point.