Have you ever noticed how dangerous it is to walk, pretty much anywhere, in the Star Wars galaxy?
Ha! Did you think this was gonna be a serious post about something in the real world? Please…
Seriously, though, who designs these places located all over the fictional Star Wars universe? Because there really seem to be a disproportionate number of precarious walkways over dangerously high ravines with absolutely no railing to prevent people from stumbling and falling to their deaths.
It’s something I’ve noticed before, but I’ve recently been watching through Star Wars: Rebels on Disney+ for the first time and noticed that the architectural trend has carried over to this animated series.
I might understand it if it was a trait shared only by imperial structures. But you see it on Naboo, way before the Empire’s inception, and later on Bespin’s Cloud City, which is not initially an imperial installation.
Let’s look at some examples, shall we?
We can easily start with the original Star Wars and the scene in which the elderly Obi-Wan Kenobi goes off on his own to shut down the Death Star’s tractor beam, which will give the Millennium Falcon a chance to escape the Death Star’s hangar. Kenobi reaches the tractor beam controls, which are located on the side of a column that’s situated next to one of those rail-less bridges. And the controls are on the opposite side of the column from the walkway. Kenobi basically has to shimmy around the column on a narrow ledge to get to the panel. Who knows how far down the drop would be if the old Jedi were to fall?
But we learn in the prequels that Obi-Wan is okay with dangerous falls from high elevations. When he and Qui-Gon Jinn fight Darth Maul on Naboo in The Phantom Menace, they do so in some kind of power plant. That’s what it is right? I can’t be 100% sure… There are a lot of really huge energy beams blasting from floor to ceiling. With a lot of precarious walkways without rails. Again. The climax of the lightsaber fight takes all three participants through a long hallway with many, multiple force fields that periodically turn on and off. Why do that do that, by the way? Anyway, I point this out because at the end of the hallway is another super long drop into what looks like, from the top, a bottomless pit. Maul finds out all about how far that fall is. And survives…?
Even the sequel trilogy gives us an example of this careless structural design when Han Solo attempts to get through to his son. They’re both standing on this narrow walkway over an enormous, again, bottomless pit. No safety railing whatsoever. So when Kylo Ren runs Solo through with his unstable lightsaber, Han falls over the side.
Oh, and how was Emperor Palpatine “killed” in Return of the Jedi? He was thrown down a big honkin’ reactor shaft.
There are other examples… but you get the idea.
In fact, I can only think of one species in Star Wars that seems to care about the danger inherent in being up high. That would be the Ewoks. And they eat people. But you see their concern with safety when Luke is revealing to Leia the truth about their shared familial bond. They’re on a bridge high above the forest floor. And there’s a railing. Luke leans on it.
I get that a good chunk of the Star Wars saga takes place under the thumb of the ruthless Empire and/or the First Order. But you’d think that there would be some parents’ groups somewhere in the galaxy petitioning the government for safer walkways, whether that means building rails or having them closer to ground level.