All sorts of different species inhabit the Star Wars universe. How is it that their biological function is compatible with the same atmospheric gases, and that the gravity is the same on all the planets, and the sun is just the right difference from the planet to sustain life?

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    This is Plo Koon. Plo is a Jedi master seen in AOTC. Plo wears a breather mask because an oxygen atmosphere is poisonous to him. He wears special goggles because the light on coruscant hurts his eyes and to stop his eyeballs from instantly drying out, blinding him.
    – Valorum
    Jan 5, 2016 at 19:42
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    Note that the planet Yavin (one of only three planets in the original Star Wars) is a gas giant and therefore uninhabitable by humans. The rebel base from which the rebel ships were launched during the Battle of Yavin was located on a moon of Yavin. So right away we see that our brains are biased in remembering only the inhabitable worlds we are shown in the movies and ignoring the uninhabitable. Also recall the cave in the asteroid in Empire required breathing assistance and it seems that the surface of Bespin was not inhabitable - but humans adapted. Jan 5, 2016 at 19:54
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    There is very little reason to discuss uninhabitable planets in a space opera like Star Wars. What exactly would be the point? "Stuff" pretty much can only happen on planets that are habitable to some degree.
    – Escoce
    Jan 5, 2016 at 20:03
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    In addition to the other comments, in Legends continuity there was also mention of an ancient race that terraformed many worlds to be habitable. I forget the name of the race, but they were the humanoid race that the The Father, The Son, and The Daughter were originally from. As well as Albeloth. All of this occurred over 30,000 years before the movies - long before even the Jedi or The Old Republic was founded. They also created The Maw and the Corellian system.
    – Omegacron
    Jan 5, 2016 at 20:45
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    This is observer bias; we only observe the planets that have life because no one goes to the lifeless planets. A more interesting question is why so many planets in Star Wars are the same terrain over the entire planet. A planet of all deserts, a planet of all swamps, a planet of all glaciers, a planet of all forests... It is an interesting story telling conceit, but not really plausible. Jan 5, 2016 at 21:27

6 Answers 6


There's never been any indications that ALL the planets in the Star Wars universe have breathable environments, survivable levels of gravity, etc. We see a lot of those kinds of planets because, well, otherwise our characters wouldn't be on those planets. But we do see gas giants like Yavin and Endor from space.

Yavin in *A New Hope*

There's also plenty of indication that there are planets with radically different environments that still support life. The Jedi Plo Koon, for example, wears a rebreather mask since he doesn't breathe oxygen. While I'm not sure it's ever stated in a canon source, his home planet of Dorin is rich in helium.

enter image description here

As for why there are so many habitable planets, it's not that unrealistic. Star Wars takes place in an entire galaxy. The Milky Way has billions of stars and even more planets. Chances are, there are as many potentially habitable planets in our galaxy.

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    @Joshua: eh? Where are you getting such dubious "facts" from?
    – Martha
    Jan 5, 2016 at 20:20
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    @Joshua I don't know how the expected number of planets with oxygen in the atmosphere in the universe could possibly be less than one when one already exists. Even if you say Earth's atmosphere is a 1 in a billion chance, there are 100s of billions of planets just in our galaxy. Jan 5, 2016 at 20:34
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    @Joshua "Using measurements from Nasa's Kepler space observatory, scientists led by Erik Petigura at the University of California, Berkeley, estimated that 22% of our galaxy's sun-like stars have rocky planets circling them in the zone where they get roughly the same amount of light energy as Earth receives from the sun. There are around 100bn stars in our galaxy, of which 10% are like the sun." This brings us to probably that at least 2 billion planets are in habitable zone around their sun. And if just 0.1% of those planets have oxygen it is still 2 million planets just in our galaxy. Jan 5, 2016 at 20:47
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    @Joshua yeah and there are billions or planets that have potential of having oxygen on them in just our galaxy. And there are about 200 billion galaxies in just our our observable universe. Saying that there is just one planet with oxygen atmosphere in whole universe is next to imposible Jan 5, 2016 at 21:02
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    I think the cliff notes of this answer are really "Because you wouldn't go to live on a planet that couldn't sustain your life if you could travel across the galaxy in 30 minutes." Much like how most new yorkers won't go live in new jersey if there's anywhere else to go :)
    – C Bauer
    Jan 6, 2016 at 16:01

In my opinion not all planets in the galaxy far far away are habitable, it's just that we are mostly shown planets that are. There wouldn't be much of a story if everyone on a planet were dead.

an alien wearing a breathing mask and goggles

Kel Dor's species have to wear masks since they breathe something other than oxygen (helium and Dorin gas).

a group of Gungans

Gungans are an amphibious species so they are also quite different from humans

Many planets wouldn't be able to evolve intelligent life. For example, Hoth was an ice planet and home to primitive tauntauns and wampas.

icy Hoth

Another example is Mustafar, which is a volcanic planet.

fiery Mustafar

As for why all species are pretty much the same humanoids with the same biological functions, it wouldn't make a good story if everyone had to wear space suits all the time when they were on other planets. Regarding gravity, it would be weird if Jedi came to some planet with G15 and couldn't move an inch, wouldn't it?

But that's just my take on the thing :D

  • 1. Hoth clearly did have native species, they just weren't necessarily intelligent native species. 2. "Amphibious" means "able to breath in both water and air", so your statement about Gungans is a tautology at best. Perhaps you meant "aquatic"?
    – Martha
    Jan 5, 2016 at 20:18
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    Yeah my bad. I just coped from wiki without thinking about it. I meant that Gungans are amphibious which makes them different that humans. Jan 5, 2016 at 20:23
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    Mustafar wouldn't be a nice place to live for humans, but it did have a breathable atmosphere and appeared to have "normal" gravity.
    – T.J.L.
    Jan 5, 2016 at 20:27
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    @Jasen amphibious, amˈfɪbɪəs/, adjective, relating to, living in, or suited for both land and water.
    – Gusdor
    Jan 6, 2016 at 9:42
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    "There wouldn't be much of a story if everyone on a planet were dead." Haha Jan 6, 2016 at 12:51

It's now part of the Legends universe and non-canon, but the video game Knights of the Old Republic establishes that

an ancient race called the Rakata used powerful technology to terraform many planets to suit their desires.

This is also the explanation for why many of the planets shown in the films are "single-climate" planets (e.g. desert planet, snow planet, forest planet), something that would be incredibly unlikely in real life.

You can read about the Rakata here: http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Rakata, but I highly recommend actually playing the game.

Aside from that, the films and other media cover life-sustaining planets because completely uninhabitable planets are not very interesting settings and Hollywood hates putting masks on actors.

  • To be fair, a planet entirely covered in snow is unrealistic whether you've terraformed it to specifications or not. You can't terraform out physics. A global weather control grid, on the other hand, could sufficiently suspend disbelief. Jan 6, 2016 at 12:51
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowball_Earth Jan 6, 2016 at 13:06
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit it is feasible to have a planet which is completely covered with ice/snow. If the equatorial regions were cold enough, then there would be snow there. Hoth may be so cold at the poles, that no life can survive there. Jan 6, 2016 at 20:08
  • Also remember that much of Earth's seasonality and inconsistent weather patterns is due to its axial tilt. A less tilted (or non-tilted) planet would have much more consistent temperatures, and if a bit further from the sun (or with a less warm sun) could easily hang out in the temperature range that would have consistent snow. (It would probably have to have a variable temperature from -25°C to 5°C, or something like that, so that snow still "snows", but that's entirely feasible.)
    – Joe
    Jan 6, 2016 at 22:29

They don't all contain human-breathable atmosphere. The Kel Dor breathe helium and Dorin gas, and are poisoned by oxygen-rich environments (plus carbon dioxide and nitrogen in Legends canon). They wear a filter mask to compensate.

In Legends canon, there are a couple of different atmospheric types. Type I is human-breathable. Type II is potentially toxic, but can be managed without aid in the short term. Type III require a breath mask, and Type IV requires a full environment suit.


This is great question over which i was wondering also. At first let me say that most answers here fail to recognize the real problem pointed out here in part because the answer is clumsily formulated. The better formulation which comes to my mind is:

Why it is that planets which support some life and we get to see them in star wars movies and other media are of such nature that almost all are habitable by human. In other words, how it is that most of aliens we get to see demand same environment as human

At first note that rare exception like Plo-koon does not count to counterpoint the question, as we don't ask for all planets and aliens but most. Even Plo-koon share same need of pressure, heat, gravity and other things. He just cant breathe but don't have problems with other parameters.

I came to some answers, which are itself dubious but make some sense:

  1. Humans may be one of the oldest intelligent species in galaxy and so they were able to colonize more planets than any other species. (But that does not mean more than other species combined.)

  2. Humans may belong to most probable intelligent life-form to evolve, in other words, earth like conditions may be most probable environment to support life and many of the lifeforms could evolve from the similar planets. (Yet this does not mean most of all, although earth like conditions could be the most probable condition it does not mean it would be more than the others combined) (Also there are species like space-whales, so pretty improbable one)

  3. It may be that most of habitable planet are product of terraforming from some even older species like Rakatan empire or Sentinels.

  4. It is possible that humans or other specie which need similar environment just force most of other planets to terraform and than force native to adapt by genetic engineering. Although there is some tendency to human supremacy, it seems improbable. And if the humans were so abusive to change environment of strangers planets, why would they care to modify them and don't let them die? And how would they change gravity?

  5. Humans or some older species with need of same environment just destroyed most of planets with lifeforms incompatible environment.

  6. It is the will of force to unite all species together

  7. It is humans who are modified to survive most conditions. That is improbable because we see most of other species to interact together on Coruscant.

  8. There is big number of planetary life with environment non-compatible to human yet we don't get to see those planets because we follow human heroes. Well it seems possible but if there is big number of such planets, than they should have some influence in galactic politics and warfare so our heroes would have to go there. Also we don't see much of the species with technical life support in senate.

  9. It may be that those species are ignored by galactic government. But how it can be, that they are so weak that they do not force the government to count with them. If we say there is more of them, than the ruling one, it is improbable.

  10. All of the above combined.

So those are my ideas.

Please forgive my English and spelling errors.

  • I'm not saying any of it is correct, not saying it isn't either, but this is definitely my favorite answer and the most well thought out. Oct 2, 2020 at 2:15

Not all of the planets are habitable, as many have said before me, however the story only takes place on these planets with breathable oxygen and gravity similar to (or the same as) Earth's.

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