When director George Lucas and concept artist Ralph McQuarrie brought us into a galaxy far, far away in the original Star Wars trilogy, they showed us a variety of unique worlds. As the series continued from there and evolved into being one of the biggest franchises in the world, the design of planets became a complex art that some films succeeded at, and others did not.
This raises the question; which Star Wars planet is the worst, and which is the best? If these were all to be ranked, what order would they come in?
First, let me explain my scale for ranking these planets; I’ll be scoring on a scale of 30 points in three categories.
Plot Significance: so, out of these three categories, this the most straightforward; how important is the planet to the plot of the movie it’s featured in, or to the overarching story. In this way, the perfect planet is one that couldn’t be replaced by any other.
Design: Usually related to visuals, but design can go down to the characters, the ships, the animals, and anything related to the planet. The worst type of design is one that is easily forgettable, while the best is one that is visually striking as well as thematically relevant.
The hardest of the three categories to explain is Plausibility, which scores how believable the planet is, usually in a sociological and ecological way. (In theory, none of the planets are really that plausible; no habitable planet would be all desert, all snow, or even all urban sprawl.) So, plausibility is especially relative. In order to be plausible, a planet should have an ecosystem, a society, an economy, and whatever else it needs to feel lived-in. Worlds that change across the movies feel plausible and well-developed. Since plausibility is difficult to gauge, the average plausibility score is about 6. Below that indicates that the planet is not very believable, and above that means it is rather believable.
Also, it’s worth noting that for this post, I’ll only be including the live-action theatrical releases; namely, the Skywalker Saga and the two Anthology films. If I were to include The Mandalorian or The Clone Wars series, this post would be much longer than it already is.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the planets of the galaxy!
Appearances: Rogue One
Plot Significance: 3 Design: 4 Plausibility: 6 Total: 13
Before ranking this list, I went movie by movie, trying to list all of the planets I could think of. Some of them, I couldn’t recall by name, but I could still think of – like “Oh, yeah, that’s where Maz Kanata’s place in Force Awakens is!” And I could still recall what the planet looked like, and what happened there.
After checking against Wookieepedia, this was the only planet I remembered nothing about. It’s from the middle of Rogue One, which, let’s be honest, is the weakest part of the film. For me, this planet fittingly finds its place at the bottom of the list.
36. Numidian Prime
Plot Significance: 2 Design: 5 Plausibility: 6 Total: 13
I’ll always hate this planet on principle alone. This is where the little epilogue of Solo takes place, Han finds Lando and challenges him to a card game to win the Falcon back. My dislike for this planet comes from A: the movie should have ended one scene earlier, B: we’re barely there for long enough to appreciate the design, and C: Solo, more than any other Star Wars movie has too many planets – Numidian Prime comes last and ends up feeling like the most tedious because of it.
Appearances: The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi
Plot Significance: 4 Design: 5 Plausibility: 5 Total: 14
This planet is just diet Yavin. It’s not particularly interesting. This is just a planet for the Resistance to have a base on. Initially, I forgot that this was a separate planet from Takodana, where Maz Kanata’s establishment is.
Plot Significance: 4 Design: 5 Plausibility: 6 Total: 15
Like much of the visual aesthetic in Solo, Mimban is pretty bland. It’s an Empire-occupied planet where Han is fighting while in the Infantry and meets Beckett’s (Woody Harrelson’s) crew. It’s also where he meets Chewbacca.
Mimban’s gloomy design likely comes as a consequence of one of the main characters fighting in a war here. Much of Solo’s color pallet is dark and bland, but this is probably the one planet where that feels fitting. Mimban isn’t memorable or ground-breaking, but it does everything it needs to.
Plot Significance: 4 Design: 5 Plausibility 6 Total: 15
This is another one from Solo that is fine but forgettable. This is where the first heist in Solo takes place. The heist is exciting enough, even if the planet isn’t exceedingly interesting. Then, there’s the lodge where they meet with Lando, which is a microcosm of a lot of the movie’s problems, like L3 and the poor lighting.
Neither good or bad; I just don’t have much to say about Vandor.
32. Hosnian Prime
Appearances: The Force Awakens
Plot Significance: 4 Design: 6 Plausibility 5 Total: 15
I really can’t undersell my dislike for Hosnian Prime. A recurring theme on this list is going to be my contempt for planets that get destroyed by the bad guys because usually they are far less significant than the plot tries to tell us. What consequences are there from Hosnian Prime being blown up? None. It doesn’t change how the lead characters go about attacking the First Order, no one seems upset about it, and perhaps worst of all, in the next film, when they put out a distress call to summon potential allies, no one comes to fight the genocidal fascist regime. That makes me doubt Hosnian Prime’s importance. It’s difficult for me to believe that the legislative capital of the galaxy gets blown up and there’s no impact on the plot of Force Awakens or its sequels – that certainly takes away from Prime’s plausibility score.
That being said, the one shot we get of the planet is neat; it looks like a less clustered Coruscant.
31. Kef Bir (The Ocean Moon of Endor)
Appearances: The Rise of Skywalker
Plot Significance: 5 Design: 7 Plausibility: 5 Total: 17
Yeah, I bet you didn’t realize that this was actually supposed to be different from the planet in Return of the Jedi, did you? Honestly, if the scenes set on Kef Bir had been set on the Forest Moon of Endor, that planet would be higher on this list.
For Plausibility, Kef Bir loses some points. Why is there one large piece of Death Star wreckage? Wouldn’t it show more signs of erosion or animal habitation? We get that Jannah and the other former stormtroopers are supposed to be scavengers, but why does the place look like there isn’t any other wreckage? Why is the Sith dagger designed as a map on this planet despite the fact that you’d need to be standing in the exact right spot to use it?
But that being said, I do love the way they utilize the Death Star wreckage. It provides tension when trying to get there and makes for an incredible and dramatic setting for the duel between Rey and Kylo Ren as the waves crash around them. Then, fittingly, the waters calm down when Kylo is confronted by the ghost (memory?) of his father, and the evil in him is stilled.
Again, I think I would rate this higher if we were just seeing another part of the same planet from Return, but it’s still a fitting place for this film’s second act. This planet isn’t perfect, but it is memorable.