Max explores terraforming in a galaxy far, far away…
Star Wars has taken heat for introducing us to “unrealistic” single biome planets. A biome is an ecosystem and Lucas made entire planets just have one. Desert planet. Ice planet. Forest planet. It may seem silly since our own planet is home to hundreds of different biomes but it was probably just done by Lucas to make filming and design much easier. Yet, I always approach Star Wars from an in-universe point of view and I have a theory as to why the galaxy has so many planets with only one environment.
In sci-fi, there is a term called Terraforming and it involves changing a planet’s environment in order to suit the needs of a certain species. Terraforming is unnecessary in a galaxy with 400 billion accessible planets but it is essential to a species that cannot move Faster than Light. We may end up Terraforming Mars in the coming centuries. Anyway, even though it isn’t in demand; the tech to terraform does exist in Star Wars and is mentioned in the Phasma novel, Dooku Jedi Lost and the info for Rogue One. The galaxy in Legends was settled by the Rakata early on and even earlier the galaxy was home to a mysterious species known as the Celestials. These races were very advanced and likely had FTL so perhaps they decided to play God and terraform the planets in the galaxy to only have one environment.
Why would they do this? The short answer is that they CAN but the more likely answer is to create a galaxy full of planets with less variety in order to suit their needs. You have a sect of species that loves and needs the cold. You nuke a planet to be all snow and you have TONS of room for all the cold-loving species and then some. It also makes the planets easier to utilize. It’s much easier to dig for oil or other chemicals when everything is all desert with no forests or glaciers to get in the way. The Celestials and Rakata exist in canon as they did Legends but details on their actions and who they are have yet to be revealed and may never. However, we do know that there were many ancient civilizations including the one who perfected Hyperdrive tech and it’s likely they colonized scores of planets and may have terraformed them to suit their needs.
I’m sure there are many multi-biome planets in the galaxy. We just don’t see them as often.
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Max Nocerino is a regular Staff Writer for The Future of the Force. He is a passionate Star Wars fan and loves the literature of the galaxy far, far away. Follow him on Twitter @MaxN2100 where he shares his love of the Force frequently!