Tatooine removal: Does Star Wars book point to a new desert world in The Force Awakens?

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Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser

Ever since details and a teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens materialized, some have speculated that the desert planet we’ve seen glimpses of isn’t Tatooine, the twin-sunned dustbowl where Ben Kenobi stashed Luke Skywalker after the Jedi purge and watched over him from afar. There are lots of planets in the Star Wars galaxy, after all, and some are bound to have similar climates. (And some probably even have diverse environments like Earth’s.)

Assuming the speculation has merit and Tatooine isn’t the world playing host to Rey on her speeder and the Millennium Falcon tangling with a squadron of TIE Fighters, could that planet be … Pasher?

Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne, which went on sale in hardcover and ebook editions on March 3, introduces a love interest for Luke in the form of Nakari Kelen, whose eccentric father Fayet Kelen runs a biotechnology lab on the planet Pasher and reluctantly serves the Empire while surreptitiously aiding the Rebel Alliance. Luke and Nakari visit her father on Pasher in the course of their adventures in a Kelen space yacht called the Desert Jewel, but we don’t really “see” any of the world outside of the confines of the family’s lucrative laboratories, except for an introductory glimpse that shows it has no natural satellites, unlike Tatooine, and mention of native species such as sandstone scorpions and spine spiders. Luke’s observations place Pasher in the Inner Rim “at a sort of interstellar dead end” without the intersecting hyperspace lanes that make Tatooine such a popular destination for ne’er-do-wells. (Tatooine is an Outer Rim world.)

Star Wars: Heir to the Jedi by Kevin HearneHere’s a brief exchange from Luke and Nakari’s first meeting early on in Heir to the Jedi:

“Kelen? … Any relation to the Kelen Biolabs on Pasher?”

“Yes! Fayet Kelen is my father. Are you from Pasher?”

“No, I’m from Tatooine.”

“Ah, another desert planet. So you understand all about my fascination with ships and how they can take me far away from home.”

“Yeah, I understand that very well. I’m Luke Skywalker.”

“Oh, I know who you are.”

We know that all official Star Wars games, comics and novels going forward now — including Heir to the Jedi — is considered to be “canon” by Lucasfilm and will be treated as part of the same universe depicted in the mainstream movies and television series. So, it’s entirely possible that characters, ships and places in those works will show up later in Star Wars Rebels on Disney XD or even The Force Awakens and its sequels or the spin-off movies that aren’t episodes of a trilogy. Everything outside of the “Legends” label is fair game, and even elements from those earlier tie-in works may appear on a case-by-case basis. (And why not, if it fits a story’s needs?)

What do you think? Are we headed back to Tatooine, or off to somewhere new?

Top image: The Force Awakens teaser trailer screen capture (Lucasfilm/Disney)

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