The Force Awakens has received glowing reviews, and everyone is feeling The Force flow through them.
It’s a perfect time to look back on the old Star Wars we’ve known and loved for years, to remember Darth Vader and Obi-Wan and Yoda—and a perfect time to look at the cities those characters passed through. How do those long-time-ago and far-far-away places compare to our own beloved, rainy Seattle?
5. Gungan City
The underwater, bubbled Gungan City was a bizarre, beautiful place in one of the worst-reviewed Star Wars movies. It sits on the ocean floor of the planet Naboo, and its location is a secret to everyone but the floppy-eared Gungans.
Gungan City is built of force-field bubbles that keeps water out but lets people in. Its layout is a hub-and-spoke network—in a way, it looks similar to cities that grew out of streetcar networks. Think of each bubble as a streetcar stop, as a burst of stores and restaurants amid a sea of residential areas. These bubbles expand outward from a downtown core.
Similarity to Seattle: Green Lake used to be a streetcar stop. And we have the light rail stations stretching from downtown to Sea-Tac. But to have a true city like Gungan City, we’d need a whole lot more “bubbles.” There’s a plan to do that, though.
This one comes from the first movie, too. It’s Queen Amidala’s city, the one invaded by battle droids and Darth Maul. It’s a Neoclassical paradise. Lavish gardens, old European extravagance, stoic monuments. It’s more Baroque Mediterranean than the Baroque Mediterranean.
We only see Theed during an occupation, but it still seems… fabricated. There’s no traffic, no industry. Nothing but luxury and privileged residents. This isn’t a sustainable city.
Similarity to Seattle: This might be Mercer Island or Medina if they received an superinjection of income and a few hundred years of stone architecture.
3. Mos Eisely
Mos Eisely is the first city we met in the Star Wars universe, back in 1977. It’s where Obi-Wan and Luke Skywalker met Han Solo for the first time, and it’s where we saw the dirty underbelly of aliens and starships.
Take everything about Theed, and turn it on its head. This is a frontier town on a backwater planet. An entire city of crime and danger—a “hive of scum and villainy.” Murderers, thieves, smugglers, bounty hunters, crime lords—these are the people who call Mos Eisely home. It’s as unsustainable as Theed, but for the opposite reasons.
Similarity to Seattle: This place makes Pioneer Square look like a playground. Unless the country descends into lawlessness, we’ll never anything like this in our city. Thank goodness.