In the futuristic world of the Star Wars films, it’s easy to forget that the whole thing is actually set in the past. Yes, as every film confirms before it begins the adventures of Luke, Han et al took place “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away”, sometime before our own society but in the same universe.
And while the planets and cultures of Star Wars might be hidden in other star systems, over the years we’ve seen a few pieces of historical evidence suggesting our favourite characters might have visited the milky way…
1. Yoda’s in a medieval manuscript
The 900-year-old Jedi Master appears in the margins of a French text known as The Smithfield Decretals, which dates back to the 15th century – certainly “a long time ago,” right?
“When I came across this monster, I actually couldn’t believe it. It’s a manuscript that was produced 700 years ago,” Dr. Damien Kempf (the historian who found the drawing) told the BBC.
“There you find this monster, atop the main text, sitting there and having this scholarly attitude like Master Yoda.”
Clearly a young Yoda had his gap year on Earth, or at least one of his cousins did.
2. Luke’s landspeeder is carved into an ancient temple
Many believe that the Egyptians were visited by aliens – and it looks like one such outer-space tourist might have had a similar taste in vehicles to Luke Skywalker, based on these carvings found at the SETI-1 temple (top right)
And are those other spaceships and helicopters we spy there? Those spacemen got around.
3. Wookies have visited Earth
Just check out these furry fellas in the Luttrell Psalter (1325-1340) and the Queen Mary Psalter (1310-1320, below). They’re the spitting image of Chewie himself.
4. So have other aliens
The below illustration is clearly a Twi’lek relative of Jabba the Hutt’s henchman Bib Fortuna, and can be seen in 11th-century text Marvels of the East.
5. Obi-Wan Kenobi dropped in to medieval England
This detail from the Smithfield Decretals shows Alec Guinness’ character during his Goth period, or perhaps it’s a different Jedi/Sith going for a dip.
Still, there’s no mistaking a second image from 14th-century manuscript the Taymouth Hours – someone’s clearly been hearing about Kenobi’s disappearing act in front of Darth Vader in A New Hope. Or just washing his cloak.
6. A Star Destroyer is crashed on Mars
One of the evil Empire’s flagship spacecrafts clearly went a bit off-piste during an intergalactic scouting trip – you can just about make it out after its crash landing on Mars in this picture from the Curiosity Rover (via Huffington Post).
Clearly their aim was about as good as your average stormtrooper’s.
7. Even French monks remembered Princess Leia
A version of Carrie Fisher’s princess with two lightsabers (or a similar-looking doubled up Jedi) can be found in the French St Omer Book of Hours.
8. Tatooine actually exists
Well, versions of it anyway – years after George Lucas wrote about the two-sunned world, a few real-life planets have been found to orbit more than one star, making its existence once upon a time eminently possible.
For example, the double sunset of Luke Skywalker’s home planet exists for twin planets Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c (which orbit a pair of stars in the Kepler system), while another planet called PH1 actually revolves around FOUR suns. Definitely worth bringing some sunblock on a visit.
9. Versions of Hoth, Cloud City and Mustafar are around as well
Icy moon of Saturn Enceladus would give the chilly Hoth a run for its money, with snowfalls as deep as 100m discovered on its surface.
Meanwhile the floating Cloud City seen in The Empire Strikes Back could easily find a home on Kepler-86b (yes, another Kepler), which is exactly the same sort of gas giant as Bespin is shown to be in the Star Wars films.
And anyone looking to re-enact Anakin and Obi-Wan’s climactic battle on the volcanic Mustafar have a multitude of options to visit, from Jupiter’s volcanic moon Io (which is a similar size, 3,600km diameter to Mustafar’s 4,200km) to larger lava planets Kepler-78b, COROT-7b, UCF-1.01 and Alpha Centauri-Bb.
10. Millennium Falcon merchandising has been around for thousands of years
Well, if this 3,500-year-old “scarab” carving from Ancient Egypt is anything to go by it has, anyway.
11. And this is definitely the small moon that inspired the Death Star
Discovered in 1789 by William Herschel, this moon of Saturn is called Mimas and bears an incredibly close resemblance to the Dark Side’s planet-destroying weapon of choice.
Placed inbetween the sizes of the two original Death Stars with a 397km diameter (Death Star 1 was 160km in diameter, while Death Star 2 was 900 km), Mimas’ distinctive crater is also nearly perfectly scaled to the Death Star’s own laser-focusing indent.
Clearly, a young Emperor Palpatine clocked this moon on his travels and used it to help his engineers build his greatest legacy – it’s the only possible explanation.
12. Jar Jar Binks has survived throughout human history and could return at ANY moment. He has always been waiting in the shadows, preparing for his moment to strike.
Nah, just kidding. THAT would be ridiculous, right?