Lucasfilm has released new Star Wars: The Force Awakens concept art indicating that Jakku was originally supposed to be a junk planet instead of a desert planet. It shocked the world when Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2012, and subsequently announced plans to produce a new Star Wars trilogy, beginning with Episode VII. That film, which later became The Force Awakens, introduced audiences to a new era of Star Wars lore, characters, and locations, some of which heavily resembled elements from the original trilogy.
One of the primary gripes people had with The Force Awakens was its apparent similarities to A New Hope, such as Kylo Ren, Starkiller Base, and even locations like Jakku, a desert planet designed to evoke memories of Tatooine – and the nostalgia that accompanies it. That’s something J.J. Abrams acknowledged after the film released, saying his movie was meant to “bridge” the original and sequel trilogies, while also acting as a “reminder” of what Star Wars once was. It turns out some of those concerns could have been avoided.
Lucasfilm released a batch of new Episode VII concept art on the official Star Wars Instagram page today – from concept artist Erik Tiemens – that shows what Jakku was initially supposed to look like: a cold, desolate, junk planet, instead of the desert planet seen in The Force Awakens.
We already know that Rey originally went by the name Kira, but what we didn’t know was that Jakku was supposed to be a waste-covered planet in the vein of Raxus Prime. The creative team even discussed the possibility of turning it into a jungle planet, similar to that of the forest moon Endor. In the end, though, the filmmakers thought it would be “cooler” if Jakku was a desert. What’s more, before settling on using the crashed Star Destroyer Inflictor, the initial idea was to have there be a crashed Imperial space station.
While the incorporation of a junk-filled Jakku would have gone a long way to avoid concerns regarding rehashing old stories and themes, the final version of the planet we got in Episode VII did its job to serve as a reminder of what the original Star Wars trilogy was. Now that we have been “reminded,” Rian Johnson is able to take the franchise in a new direction. Of course, it will be difficult for his film to avoid parallels with The Empire Strikes Back, but from what we’ve heard about the project thus far, Episode VIII – The Last Jedi will be unlike anything Star Wars fans have ever seen – and that’s an exciting thought.