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In the second shot of Return of the Jedi, there is what looks like a small red planet or moon visible behind the fleet of Star Destroyers:

A fleet of Star Destroyers in front of a moon or planet as Vader's shuttle approaches the Death Star

Is this intended to be the planet Endor or just another moon?

If it's not Endor:

  • Is Endor ever visible in the movie?
  • Is it a moon of the forest moon of Endor? What is it orbiting?
  • Does it have a name?

NOTE: From the attack briefing later in the movie, we know that the body the Death Star is bound to is the forest moon of Endor, not the planet Endor itself.

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    This is so funny, I've been mulling over posting a 'Where is the planet Endor' question for a while because as far as I could remember, we only ever see the Moon. But now I have my answer without even asking :) – razethestray Dec 24 '15 at 2:34
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    I appreciate the edit, @alexwlchan. I don't have an image manipulation program currently installed on my Linux platform. – user339676 Dec 24 '15 at 8:44
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    I would say that looking at the angular diameter of the red object in the sky and the distance the Forest Moon is from it that it is unlikely to be Endor itself, and more likely to be another moon orbiting on a further plane than the forest moon. – Cearon O'Flynn Dec 30 '15 at 12:26
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    @user339676 not necessarily, you only need to look at Jupiter where many of the moons are close together. For example Io is 249,000Km from Europa, over 100,000 km closer than the moon is to the earth without being in the orbital well of Io, it is also bigger than the moon so would look much bigger from Europa than our own moon does, hence a similar situation would explain how that red object would be another moon orbiting Endor. – Cearon O'Flynn Dec 31 '15 at 13:52
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    @user339676 have tried to make my points into an answer. Jupiter would pretty much fill the sky of Io or Europa, but we dont know what other moons or planets are in the system causing various gravity wells and resonances that could keep the orbits in check even as far out from Endor as they appear to be. For example if the system is a star and Endor with no other planets and Endor was far enough away from the star then moons should be able to orbit quite a way out before the stars gravity plucks them away – Cearon O'Flynn Dec 31 '15 at 14:12
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It is not the planet Endor & is likly another moon of Endor

I have mentioned this in a comment but felt I could expand it out into an answer.

Looking at the angular diameter of the red object in the sky and the distance the Forest Moon is from it, it is unlikely to be Endor itself, it would fill the sky as shown in Caravan of Courage and Battle for Endor (also the colour is different too)

EndorFromForestMoon

Ewok Adventures cover

It is more likely to be another moon orbiting on an orbital plane further out than the forest moon.

Gas Giants tend to have multiple moons orbiting in close(ish) proximity for example Jupiter has many moons (of its 64) close together. Even in Star Wars Yavin is shown to have at least 4 moons. There is no reason to believe Endor to be any different.

As to whether it would affect the orbit of the Forest Moon or be pulled into orbit of the forest moon:

Taking Jupiter again: Io is 249,000 Km from Europa, over 100,000 Km closer than the moon is to the Earth, it is also bigger than the moon. If we gave those dimensions of the moon to the red object, it would appear much larger in the sky than it is shown.
This means that the object is either smaller and/or further away than Io is from Europa, and as we can see in the real world, other than imparting Orbital Resonance on each other they do not cause each other any problems.

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    On the comparison with Jupiter, here are some calculations indicating that Ganymede as seen from the surface of Europa would have a visual size about 1.5 times larger than our Moon viewed from Earth, and Io would appear slightly larger still. – Hypnosifl Dec 31 '15 at 15:09
  • @Hypnosifl that's a really good link using proper clever maths to give actual figures to say what I tried to say. Thanks – Cearon O'Flynn Dec 31 '15 at 15:12
2

update since the question was clarified later, some parts of it no longer fit.

However that probably isn't Endor because the Ewok film showed Endor as light gray as seen below. Not red.


  1. According to illustrations in "The making of Star Wars: Return of the Jedi", it was indeed the forest moon of Endor. Or simply "Endor", as the name of the moon kept changing during production.

    Here's the books illustration titled "Chris Evans at work on a matte painting of the forest moon of Endor":

    enter image description here

    And here is the shot with the planet looking nearly identical to one in your question, from a series titled "Final frames of the first five matte paintings of the film, by Pangrazio (#1=the curve of the forest moon)":

    enter image description here

    • Additional evidence that it is not Endor the planet: the planet is a gas giant. This doesn't look like a gas giant.


  1. I'm still looking but I don't think Endor (the gas giant planet itself) appears in the film

    Please note that the iconic image gracing both Wookiepedia page as well as this SE question is as far as I know sourced from Ewoks film (Caravan of Courage?) and not ROTJ!

    enter image description here

  • Thanks @DVK. But I was actually referring to the red planet above the fleet in the background of my screenshot, not the one at the bottom of the frame. – user339676 Dec 24 '15 at 3:07
  • @user339676 - Ah! Well, that's why deities invented hand-drawn red circles :)))) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Dec 24 '15 at 3:09
  • Apologies. Thanks to @alexwlchan, it's fixed now. As a side note, you might wanna modify this answer before people unaware of the changes start to downvote it. – user339676 Dec 24 '15 at 8:49

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