5 of the Most Romantic Scenes in Star Wars

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There is a lot of, well, war, in Star Wars, what with all the fighting against the Empire, First Order, dark side, and the Sith. But to paraphrase a wise character, you don’t win a conflict by fighting what you hate, but by saving what you love. And there is also enough romance in the saga to keep you cozier than the inside of a tauntaun.

So, for Valentine’s Day, let’s take a look at five of the most romantic scenes in Star Wars. We love them all. But you know that.

Hera and Kanan's first kiss in Star Wars Rebels.

Kanan and Hera’s First Kiss (or “Kanera” Confirmed) (Star Wars Rebels, “Kindred”)

Much of Kanan and Hera’s history is left untold, and I prefer it that way. But when Hera lands a kiss on the Jedi — after his attempt earlier in the episode was interrupted thanks to Ryder — it was a moment worthy of an air-punch and a “Wahoo!” Sadly it happens as the two are separating, and Hera is off to Yavin 4 while Kanan stays behind on Lothal. Theirs has always been an interesting relationship between two complex individuals. So when they finally kiss (for the first time on screen), it simultaneously feels surprising, but entirely natural.

Sy Snootles and Ziro the Hutt kiss in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Sy Snootles and Ziro the Hutt’s Uncaged Passion (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Hunt for Ziro”)

While a Hutt gangster and Pa’lowick singer may make for an odd pairing, even villains fall in love, and the heart (or fluid sack) wants what it wants. The reunion on Nal Hutt between Ziro and former lover Sy Snootles initially appears pretty sweet since their time on Coruscant was the happiest of her life, and he…well, he claims the separation was all Jabba’s fault. Things end badly, mainly for Ziro, but only after a passionate kiss between bars of a prison cell. Sy truly seemed to love Ziro, but she was not one to be betrayed or toyed with.

Attack of the Clones - Anakin and Padme in the Geonosian Arena

Padmé and Anakin Face Their Fate Together (Star Wars: Attack of the Clones)

Things don’t get off to a smooth start for Anakin and Padmé’s relationship, what with his vow as a Jedi, and her duty as a senator. When they first kiss, he reacts as coarse as the sand he doesn’t like, and the two decide not to talk about love, or to live a lie — until right around the time they’re about to die on Geonosis. Padmé’s confession that she “truly, deeply” loves him, followed by a passionate kiss is intense. She is owning her emotions at a time when their fate appears sealed, but they will face that fate together, in love.

Jar Jar Binks reunites with Queen Julia in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Jar Jar Binks Saves Queen Julia of Bardotta (Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “The Disappeared, Part II”)

It is a challenge determining which scene between Jar Jar and his lost love Julia is more romantic. When he first reunites with her on Bardotta, to come to her aid and stop the Frangawl Cult, it is touching to see her place so much trust in the Gungan. They “meditate,” which also involves a passionate smooch. But I think the more romantic moment occurs when Jar Jar gallantly charges in (with a Force-assist by Mace Windu) to release Julia, and fight the cult leader. After saving her, she in turn saves her beloved, and they fall to the ground. She assures Jar Jar she always knew he’d be her hero.

Han and Leia kiss before Solo is frozen in carbonite in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

Han and Leia’s “I Love You / I Know” (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

The most romantic quote thus far in the saga, and one of the best in all of movie history, this exchange between Han and Leia is tragic, funny, and lovely all at once. After all the flirtatious banter, and fighting, when the chips are down and Han is about be frozen in carbonite, these two have their honest exchange. Of course the emotional bond existed between them, and if they miss the chance at this moment, there was no telling if they’d have another (and they did reverse it later on Endor). Plus, the scene is romantic because it’s so Han to reply the way he does. For me, the entire exchange is echoed when Han and Leia reunite in The Force Awakens. The two are older, more mature, and have a deeper appreciation for their love. But this moment stands as a beacon of what real love is and means.

Aaron Sagers is a tiki-loving, NYC-based journalist, TV host, author, comic-con mod, and professional nerd with endless curiosity. He loves geeking out with fellow fans about sci-fi, horror, and paranormal pop culture on Instagram and Twitter, and his karaoke song is “Yub Nub.”

5 of the Most Romantic Scenes in Star Wars

13 Star Wars Quotes to Help you Stay Motivated for the runDisney Rival Run

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You’ve signed up for the big day and examined the finisher medals. Now it’s time to train for the runDisney Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. And for me, the hardest part is…well, getting started. I’ve been running off and on for years, but getting motivated to begin a new training plan is always tough. Fortunately, Star Wars is filled with inspirational quotes to get you feeling like you could take on the whole Empire yourself.

Before you lace up your running shoes and hit the road, consider these 13 quotes to keep you going!

1. “Breathe. Just breathe.” — Luke Skywalker

When you’re struggling in those early training runs, it can be easy to forget the basics. If you’re gasping for air, take a moment to concentrate on slowing your breath, and make sure you’re not pushing yourself to go too fast, too soon. It’s a (half) marathon, not a sprint! Pace yourself.

2. “She’s strong with the Force, untrained, but stronger than she knows.” — Kylo Ren

Running has more to do with repetition than inherent skill (although some people seem to be naturally built for speed.) You’ve just started on this journey and, like Rey, you are stronger than you know.

3. “No! No different! Only different in your mind.” — Yoda

The first time I trained for a 5K, it felt like an insurmountable obstacle. Just over 3 miles? Without stopping? “That’s impossible!” I thought in a voice that sounded an awful lot like Luke Skywalker. But I set the goal at finishing, not beating out the other much-more seasoned runners and I did it. Since then, I’ve completed two half marathons, countless 10Ks and 5Ks, and one annual Turkey Trot that traverses a very hilly 9 mile course. And every time I shoot for a longer distance, I remember this bit of wisdom from Master Yoda. Because if you can run a 5K, you can probably run a 10K. And once you’ve run a 10K…you’re almost halfway to the half marathon! Each mile is the same. The distance is only different in your mind.

4. “Never tell me the odds!” — Han Solo

The odds are you aren’t going to be the first person across the finish line on race day, and that’s OK. For me, running is more about competing with myself, finding that balance of mind and body, than qualifying for major marathons or beating out the other runners on the course. I always try to be better than I was last year or on the last run or in the last race. Sometimes I manage a new personal best. Sometimes, well…I fail.

5. “The greatest teacher, failure is.” — Yoda

Sure, it’s disappointing to look back at my old race times and realize that a mixture of injury, age, and hibernating has drastically slowed my pace over the years. But knowing that there’s still room for improvement is, in itself, a great motivator! Sometimes you (quite literally) fall down. Pick yourself up, vow to do better, and then put the time in to make it happen.

6. “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe in it when you can see it…”

“You’ll never make it through the night.” — Vice Admiral Amilyn Holdo and Poe Dameron, quoting General Leia Organa

Whether you’re getting back into shape after a holiday respite or training for the very first time, those early runs are bound to be a bit of a slog. Have faith that it will get easier, your time (and energy level) will improve, and if you keep going, you’ll see that finish line appear up ahead.

7. “Hurry up, goldenrod, or you’re going to be a permanent resident!” — Han Solo

When I started running, I favored a half-mile loop in a local park because I knew I was always no more than a quarter mile from the chance to call it a day. But the same short stretch can be as monotonous as working on a moisture farm on Tatooine, and as I added more miles to each run, I started seeking out quiet roads instead. The thing is, when you start to get tired and you’re halfway into a 9-mile training run, the fastest way to get to the finish is to run. Or as a certain X-wing pilot might say…

8. “Stay on target!” — Gold Five

Map out a training plan that fits your schedule and your experience level, then try to stick with it as best you can. I love early morning runs, but if you aren’t an early riser a post-work workout may be a better fit. Or use your lunch break to log some miles.

9. “I’m sure you’ll do it this time… Finish the race, of course!” — Kitster

If you’re doubting yourself, you need a friend as uplifting as good ol’ Kitster to keep your spirits high. And even if you’re as alone as a Jakku scavenger come race day, the course will be lined with cheering bystanders to help keep you going.

10. “Luminous beings are we…not this crude matter.” — Yoda

It comes down to this: Mind over (crude) matter. A long run is a great time to let your mind wander, consider the beauty in your surroundings, or chat with a running buddy. Whatever you do, don’t concentrate on how much you don’t feel like running and have patience with yourself.

11. “The Sith and the Jedi are similar in almost every way, including their quest for greater power.” — Sheev Palpatine

This is a rival run, isn’t it? There’s no greater rivalry in the Star Wars saga that the battle between Jedi and Sith. But no matter which side you favor, you and your fellow runners are all headed for the same finish line.

12. “I’m One With The Force. The Force Is With Me.” — Chirrut Îmwe

Getting tired? Busy your mind with a mantra. And finally…

13. “Run, Luke! Run!” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Yes! Yes! To Obi-Wan you listen.

Star Wars Rival Run Weekend is coming to Walt Disney World Resort, April 4-7, 2019! Visit runDisney.com for more information.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Do you know a fan who’s most impressive? Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver all about them!

13 Star Wars Quotes to Help you Stay Motivated for the runDisney Rival Run

5 Star Wars Hairstyles We Love

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Whether it’s Leia Organa’s unforgettable hair buns or Padmé Amidala’s decorative headdress, Star Wars is chock-full of iconic looks. While these hairstyles are no doubt unique and head-turning, many of them are also steeped in symbolism or cultural meaning. From Anakin’s over-the-shoulder braid to Rey’s hair knobs, they’re often associated with tradition and history.

Here are five of our favorite hairstyles from the Star Wars films:

Leia at the medal ceremony.

1. The Alderaanian braid

In Claudia Gray’s book Star Wars: Leia, Princess of Alderaan, we learn that the residing Alderaanian monarch typically wears braids. While the book doesn’t dive into anything deeper than this, they seem to be associated with tradition, nobility, and family. And, despite the loss of Alderaan, Leia continues to honor her heritage (especially her adoptive mother) by wearing them.

2. The Padawan braid

The Padawan braid may not be my favorite look (hello there, rat tail), but it holds a deep meaning to the Jedi Order. Traditionally, a training Jedi wears a tight braid that stems from the neck and drapes over one shoulder. But it’s more than just a tangible representation of your rank; it’s a symbol of dedication and sacrifice. In addition to abstaining from romantic relationships, they’re forced to sever ties with their families, as well.

3. Rey’s three hair knobs

Rey’s signature three-knob hairstyle is very practical. Whether she’s scavenging for parts on Jakku, training on Ahch-To, or running away from stormtroopers, she needs to keep her hair out of her face.

While the film doesn’t specifically address the meaning behind her hairstyle, I want to believe it has something to do with her childhood. In The Force Awakens, we see her rocking the same hairstyle as a kid. Is this how she stays connected with her family?

4. Padmé Amidala’s headdresses

Not only is Padmé Amidala the Queen of Naboo, she’s also the queen of elaborate hairstyles and ensembles. Her ornate headdresses are so big, they look like they have their own gravitational pull. And don’t even get me started on the array of colorful dresses. Whether it’s a senate meeting or a fancy dinner, she must have one heck of a bedroom closet.

My favorite look is Padmé’s throne room ensemble. Between the lightbulb-like embellishments on her bell-shaped gown and the gold and red headpiece, this look stands out above the rest. It’s head-turning, for sure, but it also says a lot about her exalted status, as it’s a symbol of power and wealth. She may be a child queen, but this look leaves no doubt that she can command a room.

5. Chewbacca’s glorious mane

This list wouldn’t be complete without an entry dedicated to one character who’s covered in hair: Chewbacca. Long and silky, Chewie’s luxurious brown mane is really the stuff of legends. It’s not a hairstyle, per se, but it’s obvious he takes care of himself (and has even been known to borrow Lando’s hair products in a pinch). If he ever sells haircare routine secrets to the galaxy, he’ll be one rich Wookiee.

 Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo is an editor at Reviewed, a division of USA TODAY. She also occasionally writes for Geek & Sundry and StarWars.com.

5 Star Wars Hairstyles We Love

Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa: Lessons of Light from Twin Beacons of Hope

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When Leia first meets the young Ewok, Wicket, she’s in a war zone: her team has been separated trying to find the Death Star shield generator, and she’s dazed from a speeder bike crash. But instead of reacting defensively or being hostile toward Wicket, Leia offers him some food — a surprising expression of peace. And Leia’s diplomacy pays off later when the Ewoks help the rebels take the shield generator down.

Themes of giving to others can often be lost in the larger story of Star Wars, but as Yoda says, wars not make one great. It was arguably Leia’s act of kindness toward the Ewoks that changed the course of the Galactic Civil War.

As the holiday season approaches and we reflect on the power of charity and compassion, we take a moment to consider what the Skywalker twins can teach us about light and charity in our everyday world.

Leia’s understanding of the practical work involved in bringing hope and light to the people around her began early. In the novel Leia, Princess of Alderaan, she trained as a politician and followed her adopted parents’ lead in resisting the most overt cruelties of the Empire. She soon discovered that by paying attention to people she could do the most good, an understanding that, along with her ferocity and determination, guided her as she continued on her journey to join the Rebellion.

Bail and Breha Organa gave their daughter a strong foundation in resistance. Bail worked inside the Senate to try to soften the Empire’s edicts. Although this didn’t work in the long run, it did lay the groundwork for Leia’s training in rebellion so she could become the person who would eventually deliver the stolen Death Star plans.

After Leia’s adopted family perished, she had her twin to lean on — even if the Skywalkers didn’t know they were siblings yet. Luke and Leia support one another in A New Hope as soldiers-in-arms. Both twins are caught up in the adventure and fear of their fight against the Empire. But their hope is not crystallized in the moment of triumphant destruction of the Death Star, with Leia overseeing the battle and Luke firing the shot into the thermal exhaust port. It’s the jubilant and victorious hug shared between Luke, Leia, and Han that solidifies the trio as a team that will carry the weight of the galaxy between them.

Studying Skywalkers Ep IV - Luke, Leia, Han at awards ceremony

Leia’s smile at the end of A New Hope is another of the most joyful moments in the trilogy. It shows her love for her friends and her joy that the rebels are becoming a force to be reckoned with — just as her adopted parents wanted.

Luke also has a strong moral stance that was instilled in him by his adopted family. After A New Hope, his next step into the world of the Jedi teaches him what hope means to users of the Force. In the novel The Weapon of a Jedi, Luke faces off against Sarco, a bounty hunter who values the physical artifacts the Jedi left behind. Luke understands that knowledge is more important than treasure, and also that friendship is essential to hope. “The Force brought me here,” Luke thinks. “And what I learned here saved me.” Luke sees that his victory at the Death Star was just one aspect of his responsibility as a Jedi: he must build up as well as destroy.

In The Empire Strikes Back, the galaxy becomes a more difficult place to hold onto hope. Everyone is tested over and over — for every victory something is lost. Warmth in The Empire Strikes Back comes in part from the twins’ connection to each other; they lean on each other after Luke loses his hand and Han is captured, brought together by their shared tragedies. The importance of family is found in the gentle comfort between Leia and Luke.

In Return of the Jedi, when Luke reveals that he and Leia are twins, they begin to understand how they connect as siblings. Leia’s role in the fight could have been through her martial prowess — she knows how to coordinate an army, after all — but instead becomes a story about charity and how giving to the Ewoks leads to success for the cause. The return of the Jedi is also a return of hope, a fulfillment of the promise the Skywalker twins showed all along.

Return of the Jedi - Celebration on Endor

The victory celebration is a festival of life and light, with fireworks there echoed all across the galaxy. The war isn’t completely over; every season of hope is eventually followed by a season of darkness. But for now, the Skywalkers and their companions have won. The cycle keeps turning, reminding both the audience and the denizens of the galaxy far, far away of the power of charity and hope in the cold darkness.

Megan Crouse’s work has appeared in Den of Geek, FangirlBlog, and Star Wars Insider. She podcasts on Western Reaches and Blaster Canon and can be found on Twitter at @blogfullofwords.

Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa: Lessons of Light from Twin Beacons of Hope

Creature Feature: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Corellian Hounds

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Creature Feature explores the ins and outs of monsters and beasts in the Star Wars universe, from in-universe facts to behind-the-scenes secrets. While you’ll learn a lot here, we still suggest caution when checking out meteorites on ice planets or landing on large asteroids.

The Corellian beasts chasing Han and Qi’ra out of the White Worms’ lair and into the streets ain’t nothing but hound dogs. Corellian hounds made their on-screen debut in Solo: A Star Wars Story. With long, curved sharp teeth and wrinkly skin, the creatures have a ferocious and unsettling visage. It’s not the kind of animal one wants to run into in a dark alleyway, or even a light one for that matter. Also known as Sibian hounds, the critters are made to hunt with impeccable tracking abilities. But don’t worry, maybe you can dodge the Corellian hounds by learning these five things you might not know:

1. A nod to the past.

The Corellian hounds were part of Solo‘s story from the very first draft. The pale beasts have a paw in film history, too. Solo writer Jonathan Kasdan said the hounds are a homage to Death Dogs, which appeared in 1988’s Willow (also directed by Ron Howard). Those pups were warped versions of warhounds used to track and eliminate prey. (The Death Dogs scared Kasdan when he was a kid.)

2. Under command.

Lady Proxima’s scrumrats don’t have many possessions, but Rebolt has incredibly valuable ones with his four Corellian hounds. How he acquired the hounds is a mystery, but he uses them and their intimidating regenerating teeth to threaten other scrumrats and to leverage his position in the White Worms with the gang’s matriarch. He spoils the hounds (not dogs, as he constantly points out) with biscuits that taste as good or better than the food served to the scrumrats.

4. It’s all about the look.

The Corellian hounds, like all creatures, began with sketches. The concept design team started with the idea of a real dog with a Star Wars alien vibe. In one look by Jake Lunt Davies, the hounds wore muzzles with eerie green lights; his idea “was to give it a touch of gorilla mixed with some hard tech around the nose but basically keep a lot of real dog fur.” The concept team tried a variety of possibilities, some incorporating armor or warthog-like fur, but ultimately, Martin Rezard came up with the final creature design and sculpt; Sherri Hazzard and Laura Sindall worked on fabricating the suits for the performers.

5. Dogs got into character.

The Corellian hounds are terrifying…unless you see what’s inside them. Actual dogs played the beasts for certain sequences in the film, including dashing after Han and Qi’ra. The dogs were trained for months so they’d be comfortable in the suits, which were designed to keep the animals as comfortable as possible. They’re wearing stretchy suits covered in foam muscle Corellian hound suits.

Solo creature and droid effects creature supervisor Neal Scanlan had the idea to use real animals, and it goes back to a method used in Star Wars: A New Hope when an elephant performed as a bantha. Scanlan said, “They [the dogs] loved it so much they actually put their own prosthetic heads on. All you had to do was hold the creature head, and they walked up and put their heads in it.” The dog stars are two Dobermans named Blackie and Boyce and two Northern Inuits called Saxon and Elsa.

But puppetry helped, too.

The dog squad wasn’t used for every shot in Solo. To get everything they needed, the creature team turned to puppetry. They fabricated and used automated puppets and rod puppet versions of the hounds. In some scenes with Moloch’s speeder chasing after Han and Qi’ra, puppeteers Brian Herring and Colin Purves operated the rod-puppet hounds from the cargo hold of the vehicle.

Sources: Jon Kasdan, Most Wanted, Solo: A Star Wars Story The Official Guide, Jake Lunt Davies, The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story, StarWars.com.

Amy Ratcliffe is obsessed with Star Wars, Disneyland food, and coffee. She’s the author of Star Wars: Women of the Galaxy and a co-host of the podcast Lattes with Leia. Follow her on Twitter at @amy_geek.

Creature Feature: 5 Things You Might Not Know About Corellian Hounds

5 Reasons We Love Enfys Nest

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Now, I love Han Solo and Chewbacca as much as the next person, but Enfys Nest is one of the most compelling characters from Solo: A Star Wars Story. Not only is she a fierce warrior, she’ll drive circles around you on her swoop bike. But this character is so much more than just some run-of-the-mill antagonist. She’s a kid with a lot of guts. Here are five reasons why we love her.

1. She’s more than a pirate.

Enfys Nest is a character that’s blanketed in mystery throughout much of the movie. For a while, she’s nothing more than a menacing figure in a mask. Luckily, she’s anything but. Under the head gear she’s a freedom fighter rebelling against the Empire. Don’t ever judge a book by its cover, kids.

2. She’s wise beyond her years.

In the novelization of Solo, Enfys meets Saw Gerrera and Jyn Erso prior to the events of Rogue One. Instead of dismissing Jyn, who’s just a kid at the time, the leader of the Cloud-Riders imparts a few words of wisdom. She tells Jyn that if anyone ever underestimates her because of her young age, she should make them regret it. She doesn’t sugarcoat or assume Jyn is incapable of understanding the gravity of those words.

3. She’s not afraid to smile.

When Han Solo tells Chewbacca not to lose the vial of coaxium that Enfys gives them, she smiles and lets out a giggle. It’s such a humanizing moment. While she’s a ferocious fighter and one heck of a swoop driver, I like that she’s not just some stoic warrior in a mask. She’s a three-dimensional person. Besides, Chewbacca’s awesome and lovable — who wouldn’t crack a smile?

4. The inscription on her helmet has a really powerful message.

This is a really tiny detail (blink and you’ll miss it), but it’s worth pointing out. There’s an inscription on Enfys’ helmet. Here’s the translation:

“Until we reach the last edge, the last opening, the last star, and can go no higher.”

This not only encapsulates the core of her character; it also represents the spirit behind the Rebellion. Enfys, like all rebels, frequently puts her own life in danger so that others might one day live in peace.

5. She made the choice to be a hero at a young age.

Enfys Nest may be a young woman, but that doesn’t stop her from leading the Cloud-Riders or working for the greater good. And, despite her tragic past, she tries to make a better future for herself and for others. That’s the definition of a hero.

Check out StarWars.com’s interview with Enfys Nest actor Erin Kellyman!

Ashley Barry-Biancuzzo is an editor at Reviewed, a division of USA TODAY. She also occasionally writes for Geek & Sundry and StarWars.com.

5 Reasons We Love Enfys Nest

6 Scary Star Wars Planets We Don’t Want to Visit

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It’s a scary galaxy out there. Aside from Sith Lords and Imperial threats (and stormtroopers ruining the beautiful beaches of Scarif), travelers have to face threats of harsh terrain and harsher creatures. Some planets are so foreboding as to even send a chill up the spines of even the fiercest Jedi. So, in the spirit of Halloween, let’s take a look at some of the scariest Star Wars planets.

A panorama of the Sith wasteland, Moraband, in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Yoda faces the spectre of Darth Bane on Moraband in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

1. Moraband (First Appearance: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Sacrifice”)

Moraband is a planet of ghosts with bad attitudes. Home to the original Sith, the red desert world is a mountainous wasteland apparently only populated by Sith spirits, and talking serpents (or was that an illusion?). The main attraction of Moraband is the temple located in the burial grounds known as the Valley of the Dark Lords. The Sith Temple itself contains a Jedi execution chamber, and the tomb of none other than Darth Bane — whose spirit also haunts the temple — making the Outer Rim planet a cradle of dark side evil.

D-Squad walks in the void on Abafar in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Colonel Meebur Gascon losing his mind on Abafar in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

2. Abafar (First Appearance: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “A Sunny Day in the Void”)

It’s not the dark side, ghosts, or monsters that will do in a traveler to Abafar — it’s their own mind. Aside from the sunken city settlement of Pons Ora, Abafar’s desert (nicknamed “The Void”) appears featureless, which is precisely why it is so frightening. Regolith on the surface twists light and obscures shadows, while the unique atmosphere turns the sunlight into an unchanging glow. Without a sense of place or direction, one might slowly lose their grip on sanity, lost and mad with thirst — unless, that is, they are lucky enough to hitch a ride with a herd of long-necked Void striders on their way to a water source.

The Sith world of Malachor, with a towering Sith Temple, in Star Wars Rebels.

Ezra Bridger finds an ancient lightsaber on Malachor in Star Wars Rebels.

3. Malachor (First Appearance: Star Wars Rebels, “Twilight of the Apprentice”)

Dark and desolate, this battlefield planet haunts like few others in the galaxy. Malachor is foreboding with its rocky terrain and a hollow crust leading to a darkened underworld — and that’s before one discovers the petrified remains. The planet is strong with the dark side, and was the sight of the Great Scourge of Malachor where Jedi and Sith clashed millennia ago in a fight that involved Sith witches and superweapons. (As seen in the image above, Ezra Bridger discovered an ancient cross-saber among the charred bodies.) And no side truly won. A Sith Temple exists beneath the planet surface, where a dark side “presence” existed within an obelisk, waiting to be activated. Malachor is so scary, it is used in a bogeyman tale told younglings, and a place for all Jedi to avoid.

Luke Skywalker tries to raise his X-wing from the Dagobah swamp.

Luke Skywalker faces a vision of Darth Vader on Dagobah.

4. Dagobah (First Appearance: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back)

Shrouded in fog with raging rains and lightning, Dagobah is the definition of “dark and stormy.” Though there is no civilization, everything is alive on this Outer Rim swamp planet. And a lot of it might want to eat a traveler (droids being an exception). Swamp slugs, pythons, and dragonsnakes in peat bogs, and a whole lot more, pose a threat on this mysterious world. Dagobah also has the distinction of being strong with the living Force. But under a gnarltree exists the cave of evil, a nexus of the dark side. Approaching it fills one with a sense of dread, as the body goes cold and malice reaches out from it like tendrils. Should one enter this malevolent vergence, they will be haunted by sinister spectres and illusions which reflect their own deepest, darkest self. Most of Dagobah presents danger, but is a place of life. The cave is a domain of evil.

Mother Talzin performs dark magicks on Darth Maul in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Nightsister zombies rise in Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

5. Dathomir (First Appearance: Star Wars: The Clone Wars, “Nightsisters”)

What isn’t scary about this world in the Quelli sector? Under a blood-red sky, the dark side of the Force permeates Dathomir’s dangerous swamplands, overgrown vegetation, and forests populated by gnarled trees that bear cocoon fruit. It is home to all manner of creepy crawlies, like snakes and lizards, as well as the crustacean-like, tentacled beast “The Sleeper.” As if that isn’t enough, Dathomir is a home planet to rancors. But wait, there’s more: The scariest part of Dathomir are the Force-wielding Nightsisters, an unchallenged witch coven residing in fortresses along the swamps. One trick they can pull off with their dark magicks: Summoning armies of dead Nightsisters from those cocoons, who return as shrieking zombie mummies that destroy all in their path. Basically, Dathomir is a perfect nightmare planet where a haunted house may seem quaint.

Anakin Skywalker on Mustafar in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.

Darth Vader's castle on Mustafar in  Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

6. Mustafar (First Appearance: Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith)

Storms rage as the gravitational pull of two gas giants constantly tug on this volcanic Outer Rim planet. The sky is blotted out, and lava fleas, man-eating lava eels, carnivorous roggwarts, and beetles crawl through lava rivers, tunnels, and caves. This doesn’t make Mustafar welcoming, but it’s not what makes it frightening. No, the fear-inducing reputation of the planet belongs to Darth Vader, and is home to his stronghold, a towering fortress. Vader was not born on Mustafar, but the planet was the sight of his duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi, where much of his human body was destroyed. Ironic, then, that the Dark Lord chose to build his tower of terror here, with the assistance of Sith Lord and sculptor Momin (whose powers allowed him to be restored via possession). Already a locus for the dark side, Fortress Vader acts as a tuning fork for the Force. Along with the fact that the castle is also where captured Jedi are sent to be interrogated and executed, Mustafar is hands-down one of the scariest places a traveler can find themselves.

What do you think is the scariest Star Wars planet? Let us know in the comments below!

Aaron Sagers is a tiki-loving, NYC-based journalist, TV host, author, comic-con mod, and professional nerd with endless curiosity. He loves geeking out with fellow fans about sci-fi, horror, and paranormal pop culture on Instagram and Twitter, and his karaoke song is “Yub Nub.”

6 Scary Star Wars Planets We Don’t Want to Visit

Designing Star Wars: Monstrous Beasts

StarWars.com

The look of Star Wars is unlike anything else in popular culture. Step back in time to explore the history and philosophy behind the concepts that define the galaxy far, far away in Designing Star Wars.

To quote Jar Jar Binks, there are “monstairs out dare!”

From the murky depths of the waters of Naboo to the maelstrom surrounding Kessel, the darkest corners of the Star Wars galaxy are filled with nightmarish and misunderstood (and quite often hungry) creatures. The artistic concepts and practical designs for such beasts are the first steps in the journey to creating monsters that elicit a visceral reaction, the realization of our most terrifying childhood fears come to life with snapping jaws and scraping claws. They also have their own stories beyond their roles as menace and indiscriminate maw. Some are imprisoned but treasured (and even mourned) while others are simply ravenous or defending their home turf from raiders and pirates. Still, even when you sympathize with a beast, it’s unwise to get too close to its gnashing teeth.

Concept art of the opee sea killer and other creatures.

Sketch by Terryl Whitlatch

Opee sea killer – The Phantom Menace

The first thing you might notice about the opee sea killer is its gaping mouth, especially if you’re seated in a Gungan submarine getting reeled in by the monster’s gooey tongue, a design choice that conceptualized the luminous creature of the deep as little more than an enormous jaw grafted onto a hybrid fish-crab body. Real marine life, like the deep sea anglerfish, also helped inspire the menacing and hungry sea monster, which latches onto the Gungan vessel carrying Obi-Wan Kenobi, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Jar Jar Binks with a flick of its long and incredibly sticky tongue.

Concept art of the opee sea killer.

Above: Concept art by Doug Chiang Below: Anatomical sketches by Terryl Whitlatch

Concept art of the opee sea killer.

Although quickly proven to be far from the most deadly thing lurking in the waters of Naboo — “There’s always a bigger fish,” as Qui-Gon says when the sando aqua monster swoops in to make a quick and easy snack of the comparatively tiny menace — the opee sea killer came the closest to living up to its name and devouring the Jedi and their Gungan friend before they could reach the surface of Theed’s Solleu River.

Concept art of the summa-verminoth.

Concept art by James Clyne

Summa-verminoth – Solo: A Star Wars Story

Dwelling in the murky maelstrom surrounding the planet of Kessel, the summa-verminoth was first envisioned as a monstrous jellyfish swimming among the stars with the Millennium Falcon plotting a course straight through its head. The idea “came from throwing dumb ideas out in a meeting,” James Clyne, Lucasfilm’s design supervisor on the film, said in The Art of Solo: A Star Wars Story. “I literally opened my sketchbook and pitched, ‘What if the Falcon had to fly through a jellyfish?’” he said with a laugh.  But director Ron Howard liked the idea so much that Clyne and his crew of artists set to work sketching what would become the creature’s enormous eyeballs. “Again, that was just me doing a drawing and being like ‘What if we did a big eyeball, guys?’ It was kind of terrifying,” Clyne previously told StarWars.com.

Concept art of the summa-verminoth.

Concept art by Aaron McBride

The gleaming blue eyes and innumerable tentacles soon included a toothy mouth, the better to chomp on recently jettisoned escape pods. But that lust for shiny ship debris would prove to be the creature’s undoing — venturing too near the gravity well stripped away its flesh before it was lost to the merciless pull. Emitting a mournful cry, it’s hard not to feel sympathetic for the creature. Under different circumstances, the summa-verminoth could be just another gentle giant floating through space trying to survive.

Concept art of the wampa.

Storyboard art by George Hull

Wampa – The Empire Strikes Back

The bright, snow-covered terrain of Hoth can be blinding, and that’s perfect camouflage for a hungry wampa in search of a meal. In creating the towering, horn-headed carnivore, designers went through no less than three incarnations to perfect the snarling visage of the wild beast. First designed in 2-D by Joe Johnston (and later reimagined for the Special Edition by George Hull), puppet master Stuart Freeborn built a full-sized suit from sheep and goat skins complete with stilted boots to turn 7-foot-4 actor Des Webb into the 11-foot-tall space yeti. But the suit was too cumbersome even for the wampa’s lumbering steps, and after meandering just a few feet, Webb would often face-plant in the snow, according to The Moviemaking Magic of Star Wars: Creatures and Aliens.

Concept art of the wampa.

Above and below: Special Edition storyboard art by George Hull

Concept art of the wampa.

A redesign of the creature’s head and eyes made the wampa appear a little too cuddly for George Lucas’s tastes, so Phil Tippett created another more ferocious incarnation. For the Special Editions nearly 20 years later, designers took yet another crack at the mysterious creature who would feast upon the smelly carcass of a tauntaun and drag an injured Luke back to its lair to leave him dangling for later.

Concept art of the rancor.

Concept art by Ralph McQuarrie

Rancor – Return of the Jedi

Caged in a hidden pit below Jabba the Hutt’s throne room and tended to by a kindly keeper, the rancor was a misunderstood beast, a victim of circumstance whose hunched, spiny posture and sharp claws created a most fearsome first impression. With threads of spittle dripping from its bone-crunching jaws and two dull, beady eyes, the rancor would attack anything that came within its grasp, stopping only when it was caught by the same sharp metal gate that had kept it from being free.

Concept art of the rancor.

Concept art by Jackson Sze

Rancors were later revisited in The Clone Wars, native to Felucia and still just as imposing in the wild as the poor, fanged beast Luke encountered on Tatooine. In tracing the design back to its origins, we discover that the idea for the rancor was deceptively simple. According to designer Phil Tippett, “George [Lucas’s] original instructions for the rancor were, ‘Do whatever you want, but I want a big monster in a pit.’”

Concept art of the rancor.

Above: Concept art by Nilo Rodis-Jamero Below: Concept art by Joe Johnston

Concept art of the rancor.
Concept art of the rancor.
Concept art of the rancor.
Concept art of the rancor.

The creature went through several incarnations — a more docile beast with a potato-like body, a lumpy head with spidery mandibles, and even one version that was deemed “too Muppet-like,” according to hand-scrawled notes. Eventually, artists settled on long, sinewy arms, clawed hands, and an enormous head, dominated by a wailing mouth to complete the imposing monster’s look.

Executing the idea was another problem, as the design was conceived to costume a performer but the dimensions didn’t fit a human. The final costume was an elaborate mix of puppet effects and suiting that took three people to operate but was still limited in terms of movement, and eventually replaced by a pint-sized (yet still incredibly ferocious) puppet for the final shot. Special effects master Dennis Muren filmed the 18-inch puppet at a faster-than-normal speed to give the creature the weight and grandeur of a 16-foot-tall behemoth, a vision of terror that has endured for generations.

Concept art of the fyrnocks.

Lighting concept by Chris Voy

Fyrnock – Star Wars Rebels

Lurking in the darkness of the abandoned rebel base at Fort Anaxes, a fortress built on an asteroid, the fyrnocks made their home in the shadows leaving behind little more than telltale gashes from their sharp claws. The sun seemed to be their only weakness, sending them scurrying away from the light, their glowing yellow eyes peering out from the dark. Although a menacing sight emerging from the base ready to attack or prowling around with clicking claws and fangs, the creatures could be tamed through the Force, or at least summoned to formulate a more strategic attack on foes.

Concept art of the fyrnocks.

Above and below: Lighting concepts by Chris Voy

Concept art of the fyrnocks.
Concept art of the fyrnocks.
Concept art of the fyrnocks.
Concept art of the fyrnocks.
Concept art of the fyrnocks.
Concept art of the fyrnocks.

In lighting concept art, the fyrnocks take on something even more akin to a horror-film quality. Their skin smokes and sizzles in the sunlight and their teeth end in more vampiric points, like rows of long needles. It’s enough to make anyone fear the dark.

Featured concept art by Doug Chiang.

Associate Editor Kristin Baver is a writer and all-around sci-fi nerd who always has just one more question in an inexhaustible list of curiosities. Sometimes she blurts out “It’s a trap!” even when it’s not. Hop on Twitter and tell @KristinBaver what you love most about Star Wars!

Designing Star Wars: Monstrous Beasts