Believe it or not, Tatooine actually used to be totally covered by water

Tatooine was the very first planet Star Wars fans were ever introduced to, appearing in A New Hope and showing up in tons of Star Wars storytelling since then, including films, shows, books, comics, games, and more. It is without question one of the most significant planets to Star Wars fans, which is ironic given its relative insignificance within the Star Wars galaxy itself.

And it seems this year Tatooine will again come to the forefront of Star Wars storytelling, with both The Book of Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi set on the world. It is an instantly recognizable and iconic planet, from the twin suns to the vast deserts – but did you know it wasn’t always like that?

There have been a few lines in The Book of Boba Fett that may have caught your attention about Tatooine previously having been covered by water.

  • In Chapter 2, the Tusken Chief tells Boba, “There are many different Tusken tribes. Since the oceans dried, we have stayed hidden. Other tribes have survived by killing.”
  • In Chapter 3, Boba reiterates this statement to the Pyke leader, saying, “The sands have belonged to the Tuskens since the oceans dried.”
  • Also in Chapter 3, as Boba speaks with the merchant in his Palace, he mentions how he grew up surrounded by water, referring to his years on Kamino. To this, the merchant responds, “Well, Tatooine was once completely covered with water. It’s fascinating, actually.”

The fact that there have been several of these references means that many people probably caught it, so you might be wondering what’s up with this, and how a planet totally covered by water came to be such desert. This idea actually isn’t new to Star Wars, as it was around in the old Legends material as well. In those stories Tatooine used to be covered with plenty of water and life, but the natives caught the unwanted attention of the Rakata people, who eventually decided to launch an orbital bombardment on the planet. This attack radically changed the planet’s surface and ecosystem, and it also led to the natives splitting into two peoples: the Jawas and the Tusken Raiders.

Very little of this is still considered canon, but these references in The Book of Boba Fett suggest that much of the planet’s backstory might be the same. We now know that Tatooine used to be covered in water, and we also know that the Tusken Raiders occupied the planet before the waters dried up. What we don’t know, however, is how it came to happen, but we can safely assume that it happened long, long before any of the stories we know about. We might one day find out more background about how all of this happened, but I think most of it is probably unnecessary. For now, people can assume that it’s the same way it happened if Legends if they like, but we know all the basic details we need to in canon regardless.

So why is The Book of Boba Fett mentioning this repeatedly? I think there might be three reasons (at least). First, it’s a fun nod to Legends! It’s a pretty insignificant line yet one that connects with prior Star Wars material, and the showrunners have proven that they enjoy doing that wherever it fits. Second, it further establishes the claim the Tuskens have on the Dune Sea, since it highlights just how long they’ve been around. Saying that they’ve been in these parts since the waters dried up is a way of signifying just how long we’re talking about, since all the audience knows is Tatooine as the epitome of a desert planet. And third, it is a way of connecting to Boba Fett’s past. As he mentions, he grew up on a planet completely covered with water, and now he’s trying to rule a planet that once was but has dried up. There might be something symbolic or poetic there, as Boba seems to be trying to forge a new identity in this time. How fitting that he’s doing so while on a planet whose oceans have all gone dry, at the same time as Boba’s old identity has changed as well.

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