Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker concept art reveals different look for desert planet

Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker
(Image credit: Lucasfilm)

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker introduced us to plenty of new places in the galaxy far, far away, one of which was the desert planet of Pasaana. Now, newly revealed concept art shows how that planet could have looked completely different.

The events of Episode 9 take Rey and her friends on a journey to find a Sith Wayfinder, so Rey can track down the Emperor on the Dark side planet of Exegol. Their adventure leads them to Pasaana, a place with rocky outcrops and sand as far as the eye can see.

As reported by Screen Rant, concept artist Phil Saunders shared an idea of what Pasaana looked like early in development. On Instagram, he captioned the piece with: "Another concept for the wetland pirate planet that became [Pasaana] in [The Rise of Skywalker]. The speeder chase would have started at the village to the left and weaved through the keels of these rebel cargo ship-inspired freighters before veering into the mangrove forest to the right."

In a comment, he explained that: "JJ wanted to shoot an actual location and shooting in the Everglades was deemed too challenging. So back to the desert we go!" 

He also elaborated some more on the planned sequence on ArtStation: "This was a concept for a shipping lane crossing the wetland planet that ultimately became the desert planet of Pasaana... The underwater waterfall in the trench was inspired by a natural feature off the coast of the island of Mauritius. The freighters are an homage to the cargo ships on Hoth in [Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back]."

It's interesting that even on an aquatic planet, a speeder chase was still planned – though this certainly would have been very different from the finished product, which saw Rey crash land into the intergalactic equivalent of quicksand and sink into an underground cave.

In fact, Saunders gave us another glimpse at the planet back in September, and clued us into some more interesting details that never came to pass. "This Everglades-inspired wetland world would have combined the festival planet [Rey] went to with the home of [Poe Dameron‘s] secret pirate past, and was meant to host a [speeder] chase through the bogs, reeds and shallow islands," the artist revealed. 

"In the absence of an established mythology at this point, I imagined the indigenous population harvesting the tall reeds for the fibres used to produce [First Order] uniforms. Lashed bundles of living reeds would have anchored their tension structure-based [architecture]." He added on ArtStation that the speeder chase would have involved "crashing through the indigenous huts that spot the swampy terrain."

The Star Wars environment most similar to this concept art is probably the underwater land beneath Naboo’s surface in Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, home to the Gungans, including Jar Jar Binks. Of course, Pasaana wasn’t the first desert planet we were introduced to – Tatooine and Jakku are both equally sandy. Luckily, Pasaana stands out from the rest thanks to the charming Aki-Aki species and the lively Festival of the Ancestors.

Get ready for your next voyage into the Star Wars universe with our guide to The Mandalorian season 2 release schedule.

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.