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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Deciphering Empire Magazine's "The Force Awakens" Starmap

The latest edition of Empire Magazine is filled with Star Wars: The Force Awakens details, cast interviews, and other exclusive content, including a detailed map of the Star Wars universe, updated with the planets that the newest installment will visit. Click on the image and zoom in to read the labels. 
Taking a quick look at the map, you can see all the familiar Star Wars planets: Coruscant, Tatooine, Hoth, Yavin, et cetera. Other less-known worlds like Ithor, Rattatak, and Malastare, have all been referenced and/or visited somewhere in the Star Wars canon. The new planets -- Jakku, Takodana, D'Qar, Starkiller Base, and Hosnian Prime -- are highlighted in red. Let's decipher what the locations (and identities) of these planets can tell us. All of my speculation is based off of the trailers and TV spots. If it wasn't clear already, a *SPOILER ALERT* should be assumed. 

Jakku

We've known about this desert world for quite a while now. I could go into detail about all of the events that will take place here during the beginning of the movie, but instead I'll show it in the form of screenshots and gifs, in chronological order: 

If there were ever any theories that Jakku is actually Tatooine with one sun mysteriously missing, consider them debunked; the map clearly shows the two planets as separate entities on completely different sides of the galaxy. 

Takodana

This is the jungle planet where our heroes will go to visit Maz Kanata's castle for her assistance in finding Luke. Unfortunately, the First Order will somehow follow them. Check out what's in store for Takodana: 
Though you can see that Jakku and Takodana are fairly close, Rey and Finn will make a stop between them. According to Making Star Wars, they'll get pulled into a huge freighter where Han and Chewie will be less than pleased to see youngsters on their ship. But after an incident with a gang, Rey and Finn will earn Han's respect...and he'll confirm to them the myths of the Dark Side, the Jedi, and the Force. 

D'Qar

D'Qar is reportedly the home of the Resistance. After the events on Takodana, our heroes (possibly minus Rey, who might get captured by Kylo) will retreat to D'Qar and regroup the Resistance's forces. This is also where Han and Leia reunite after many years apart, and where they embrace in the trailerJust a few days ago, The Cantina Cast found a TV spot that might just offer our first look at D'Qar, while the Falcon and several X-Wings approach it. 

Starkiller Base

Another pretty familiar planet. Starkiller Base is the base of the First Order. Oh, and it also doubles as a superweapon that can literally kill stars. 
The map shows Starkiller Base to be in the Unknown Regions, far away from any major planets. But before you breathe a sigh of relief, notice how the map just labels its "origin point". This means that just like the Death Star, Starkiller Base is going on the move. Eek! 

Hosnian Prime 

Here we have the biggest mystery. Google all you want, you won't be able to find even the faintest evidence about Hosnian Prime's role in the movie. Hmm, this is somewhat reminiscent of something (or rather, someone) else in the movie that's similarly been kept under wraps. Maybe a certain missing Jedi? 
That's right, I predict that Hosnian Prime is where Luke's been hiding all these years, along with old pal R2-D2. From that one shot of the two (above), you can't see much of the planet's surface or terrain, but Making Star Wars suggests that it's a "watery planet of rocky islands". (Be careful, because that page is chock full of potential spoilers.) 

With these 5 planets, The Force Awakens has more than enough unique environments to fulfill the quota established by previous Star Wars films, so does that mean we'll see absolutely zero familiar worlds? Maybe not. This intriguing shot of the Knights of Ren standing in a thunderstorm is rumored to take place on the moon of Endor, when the Knights reclaim Darth Vader's crushed helmet:
Even with a few scenes on Endor, The Force Awakens' general lack of familiar planets seems a bit extreme. But unless planets have gotten renamed in the 30 years since Return of the Jedi, we'll just have to accept it. 

What do you make of this new information? Do you think Luke is on Hosnian Prime? Tell me in the comments, and may the Force be with you all. 

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