'Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker' Spoilers: Why It Must Go Back to Mustafar
There are mostly new planets confirmed to populate that faraway galaxy in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, but that doesn’t mean fans aren’t holding out hope for some old favorites like Tatooine and Yavin 4. Adding another planet to that list might seem foolish, but that’s never stopped us before.
So, let’s talk about the darkest Dark side planet of them all: Mustafar, and why it could — and should — return for Star Wars: Episode IX — The Rise of Skywalker.
Speculative spoilers ahead.
It’s tough to know the exact moment when Anakin ceases to become his Jedi-mulleted hero and actually goes full Dark Jedi Knight. In Revenge of the Sith, when Palps first starts calling Anakin “Lord Vader” on Coruscant, right after they both conspire to take out Mace Windu, you could kind of argue that’s the moment right there.
But that’s dicey, because, in a sense, he doesn’t really go full evil until he kills the kids in the Jedi Temple, right? Or, is his full Vader conversion when he gets in the suit? All of these are suitable answers, but no fan would disagree if you said Anakin’s fate to become the Vader we all know was sealed on the planet Mustafar. If Obi-Wan hadn’t severed several of Anakin’s limbs and left him to die in a bunch of lava, there’s no way Darth Vader would look the way he does in the classic trilogy. So, from an Obi-Wan point of view, Mustafar is the birthplace of Darth Vader and the moment where Anakin Skywalker “died.”
That’s why, when leaked concept art for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker hinted that we could return to Mustafar in the new movie, fans rejoiced at the news that Darth Vader’s true birthplace might figure into Episode IX. So, with that in mind, there are three reasons why having Mustafar in The Rise of Skywalker makes a lot of sense.
3. It Was Established That Darth Vader Straight-Up Lived on Mustafar in Rogue One
In Rogue One, when Director Krennic shows up to grovel with Darth Vader, it seems like Vader lives on a planet exactly like Mustafar. And, although this wasn’t made clear by any text on the screen in the movie, it was later confirmed by Lucasfilm that, yes, that was Mustafar. Essentially, Darth Vader decided to build himself a super-duper evil castle that specifically channeled Dark side energy pretty much on the exact spot where he lost his humanity. This is kind of like Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page moving into Aleister Crowley’s house, except if Jimmy Page, like, became Aleister Crowley because he murdered the rest of Led Zeppelin or something.
Anyway, the point is: A very contemporary Star Wars movie that is not even part of the Skywalker episodic movies revisited this planet, meaning, it’s totally reasonable for The Rise of Skywalker to go back there, too.
2. We All Deserve a Slightly Better Lava-Filled Lightsaber Duel
This is hard to believe, but for at least two generations of Star Wars fans, the lava planet where Obi-Wan ditched Vader was the stuff of legends, and the scenes in which Obi-Wan punked Anakin Skywalker existed mostly in your head. For example, in 1994, I was 13 years old, and I owned a thin, magazine-ish book called The Star Wars Technical Journal of the Imperial Forces, published, in part, by Starlog magazine. One of the fold-out blueprints “explained” how Vader’s armor worked and mentioned, sort of blithely, that, oh yeah, the reason he needs this shit is because Obi-Wan pushed him into a lava pit. Keep in mind, in 1994, 13-year-old kids did not have any idea that in five years, the prequels would actually start setting into motion events that would actually depict this stuff, meaning that for me — and I’m sure countless other fans around my age —our imagined versions of the lava planet lightsaber duel were off the chain. And let’s face it, though the “Battle of the Heroes” sequence in Revenge of the Sith is tight, the zeitgeist has reduced it to a bunch of memes about Obi-Wan having the high ground. I’d wager that’s because the Mustafar duel is just too goofy to be taken seriously.
So we need a lava planet lightsaber duel reboot. Let’s make it happen, J.J. Abrams. You’re our only hope for my 13-year-old imagination. (By the way, an awesome lava planet duel in The Rise of Skywalker is like the opposite of Star Wars destroying a childhood. If anything, it’s, like, creating a new childhood. Which, in theory, is the point of Star Wars movies, right?)
1. The Entire Saga Wouldn’t Exist if It Weren’t for This Specific Planet
Okay, okay. So, because I know Star Wars fans love Star Trek analogies, one way to think about Darth Vader would be like if Captain Pike was the villain of all of Star Trek, but, only after the delta rays crippled him. Is that analogy no good? Okay, how about this: Darth Vader is 100 percent defined by the fact that cyborg technology kind of saved his life. Let that sink in. The Dark side did not save Vader’s life; prosthetic limbs and complicated breathing tech let him live on and become the leather-clad badass we all know and love. The only reason Vader needed all that stuff was that Obi-Wan and Anakin’s fateful duel happened on a volcanic planet.
If Palpatine and General Grievous hadn’t sent the Separatist leaders to Mustafar, there’s no Darth Vader as we know him. If there’s no Darth Vader — or if Anakin turns to the Dark side but stays looking young and hot, then there’s no Star Wars. Mustafar is crazy important to this story, and it would be very cool and a little bit dangerous to see it one last time. And if Rey doesn’t throw down on Mustafar, I guess I’d even settle for a flashback.
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker is out everywhere on December 20, 2019.