One of the biggest draws of the Star Wars franchise has always been its ability to take viewers on a trip to a galaxy far, far away. The franchise has always taken place in a distant galaxy full of exotic planets and life forms that haven’t been seen before, but are still somehow familiar.
Star Wars was not created in a vacuum, of course. Creator George Lucas was inspired by a wide range of influences while creating A New Hope, including Flash Gordon, the films of Akira Kurosawa, and the works of Joseph Campbell. So it’s no surprise that the newly-released Rogue One: A Star Wars Story has its own share of notable influences.
Director Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) was tasked with bringing the first Star Wars spin-off to the big-screen with Rogue One. He decided to take the well-established conflict between the galactic Empire and the Rebel Alliance and infuse it with elements that you would expect from war films, such as Saving Private Ryan or Black Hawk Down. In an interview with Polygon, Edwards revealed another very specific science-fiction influence that appears in Rogue One:
Edwards told Fandango that he tried to include little nods to Thin Red Line, Blade Runner, THX 1138 and other films, but mentioned that if audiences paid close attention, they would very plainly see his tribute to [Ridley] Scott. In the film, there’s a planet called Eadu, which looks like it’s been ripped right out of Alien.
The planet that Eadu is patterned after is the desolate world LV-426 from Ridley Scott’s Alien. This is where the crew of the Nostromo unknowingly pick up a lethal alien stowaway, leading to the tragic events of the classic 1979 movie.
The similarities between the two worlds are readily apparent at first glance. Both planets share a barren and jagged topography, with an oppressive, blue shadow that is cast over most of the seemingly arid landscape. However, while both planets serve as the genesis of conflict in their respective stories, it’s safe to say that the atmosphere that is created in Alien serves a different purpose than Rogue One’s.
Rogue One’s story expands on the opening crawl of A New Hope, where a band of rebels pull off a selfless mission to steal the plans to the Death Star. The events of the prequel look to both fill in details and enrich the experience of the original Star Wars film.
While imitation is the ultimate form of flattery, it’s unseen if Scott will truly appreciate the gesture – particularly since he is hard at work on the prequel, Alien: Covenant which is set to hit theaters only six months from now. While details are scarce on the project, it’s possible that he will be revisiting LV-426, or a similar planet, in the movie. Hopefully the tone and story for Alien: Covenant will only leave unknowing audiences with a sense of deja vu, as opposed to it feeling like a retread. Fortunately for science-fiction fans, we will find out very soon.