It's time for Disney's Star Wars shows to move away from desert planets

Obi-Wan Kenobi
(Image credit: Disney)

If you'll indulge me for a moment, please cast your mind back to late 2017, when it when it was first announced that Disney would be creating a brand new live-action Star Wars series (with more to come) for its then-upcoming streaming service, Disney Plus.

If you're anything like me, you were instantly filled with optimism about where Disney could take the franchise within the episodic television format. No longer would live-action Star Wars adventures be limited to movie-length stories – Lucasfilm would now have breathing room to explore the underseen corners of the galaxy.

And yet, with today's arrival of the new poster for Disney's upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which sees the titular Jedi walking across a Tatooine-looking landscape, I'm left wondering whether Disney's Star Wars television shows have anything else to offer other than stories set on desert planets. 

Following The Mandalorian and The Book of Boba Fett, the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series, which now has a confirmed release date of May 25, appears to be Disney's third Star Wars TV show in a row to be set primarily on Tatooine. 

Sure, The Mandalorian did visit other planets throughout the first two seasons of his show, but the stoic bounty hunter would always find himself back on Tatooine as a home base.

Disney and Lucasfilm would double-down on Tatooine once again with its follow-up series The Book of Boba Fett, which sees the (inexplicably) infamous bounty hunter stake his claim on the territory once ruled by Jabba the Hutt.

Okay, while I appreciate the fresh angle creator Jon Favreau and his team have taken with regards to stories set on Anakin and Luke Skywalker's home world, isn't it about time we move away from desert planets?

Star Wars is a franchise that offers an unlimited number of worlds and cultures to explore, so why is that we keep coming back to the same drab planet over and over again?

I have to assume that the main reason comes down to how Disney's Star Wars shows are made. It's well known that Lucasfilm employs virtual sets for its shows which are built using Unreal Engine and then displayed on giant LED walls behind its performers, effectively giving them a real-time background to work against.

Does the answer really come down to it being easier to re-use existing Tatooine assets for each one of its shows? Or has the creative well run as dry as the desert planet its stories are frequently returning to?

There are an endless number of locations which could be explored within the Star Wars universe, and yet the potential for what could be is squandered with every new story set on a desert planet. 

Over the course of the last 45 years, we've seen our heroes returning to the same sand-covered landmarks repeatedly, as if Tatooine was the only place in the galaxy worth exploring. 

Years ago, when Star Wars creator George Lucas was still in charge of the franchise, plans were put in motion for a TV series set within the underworld of Coruscant, the city-covered planet that's described as the "vibrant heart and capital of the galaxy" on

Then, in 2020, test footage of the show known as Star Wars: Underworld was leaked online, giving fans a taste of what could have been a grittier, more mature exploration of Star Wars most densely-populated planet. You can check out that footage for yourself below.

As you can see, the test footage above suggests Star Wars: Underworld to be neon-tinged, street-level series that would've been closer in tone to the likes to Netflix's Altered Carbon than any of the Disney Plus original shows produced to date.

Speaking about Tatootine, Luke Skywalker once said "If there's a bright center to the universe, you're on the planet that it's farthest from." We really wish Disney would listen to the hero it keeps bringing back as a digitally-enhanced puppet.

In the meantime, we hope Disney's upcoming Andor and Ahsoka shows explore entirely different parts of the galaxy.

Stephen Lambrechts
Senior Journalist, Phones and Entertainment

Stephen primarily covers phones and entertainment for TechRadar's Australian team, and has written professionally across the categories of tech, film, television and gaming in both print and online for over a decade. He's obsessed with smartphones, televisions, consoles and gaming PCs, and has a deep-seated desire to consume all forms of media at the highest quality possible. 

He's also likely to talk a person’s ear off at the mere mention of Android, cats, retro sneaker releases, travelling and physical media, such as vinyl and boutique Blu-ray releases. Right now, he's most excited about QD-OLED technology, The Batman and Hellblade 2: Senua's Saga.