In Star Wars, like in star trek, planets tend to have only one climate zone and only one location, where you can find all people you are looking for, just by knowing they are on this planet. And all spacefaring people of the whole galaxy (at least all smugglers and other criminals) seem to know each other by name and by ship.

Some of this could be explained if indeed the spacefaring folk are low in numbers, and most planets actually have have only one location (at least only one space port, where space folk will meet) where most of all people are, and if most planets have only a low population. It would also explain why the space battles on screen have only a low number of ships involved (30 X-Wing in A New Hope).

But in other questions I read that the galaxy far far away consists of millions of inhabited planets with billions of people and the empire has millions of ships. This seems to contradict everything I saw in the movies.

So what in canon tells us how many planets, places and people are in the galaxy far far away and how are the "the galaxy is a small place" observations (I know it's a trope) explained in universe?

(And yes, I know this would not explain the "Go to Dabobah and meet Yoda". Where on Dagobah exactly? Oh, I crash landed on Dagobah in a random location. I will look for Yoda. Let us walk in this direction and see if we can find him.)


Ok. So let us try to approximate an answer by dividing into subquestions:

  1. What in canon tells us that there are indeed more than a few 100 planets (preferable on screen) and a few hundred races? (The only thing I can come up with is C3PO knowing 6.000.000 languages, but I think this is more to make him look elaborate than to establish millions of planets and races).

  2. If there are millions of planets, races and billions or trillions of ships, how can the "small world" impressions be rectified?

  3. What in Canon tells us on the opposite that there are only a few hundred planets and races?

To 3. I have a few Points:

The smuggler, princess and farm boy seem to know most of the planets, races, technology, ship and vehicle types, weapons, etc. When a planet is mentioned, it is done in a way that the speaker assumes that the listeners know it. When Han talks about "Lando" Leia seems to ask in a surprised and wondering tone "Where is the Lando System?" so she seems surprised that there is a System she does not know. Han "wonders" that Owi Wan and Luke have never heard about the falcon. Of course it is exagerated a lot, but it implies, that it is possible that there is a ship the whole galaxy has heard about. Hints that there are not millions of different technologies, models and types are: Leia able to do repairs an the falcon, Leia and Luke able to ride the speeders on endor, Luke able to use the weapons of the falcon and many more (I think).

  • 2
    Well, the finding Yoda on Dagobah thing can get explained away easily with the Star Wars catch-all: The Will of the Force. That is a really great thing that guides people just as well as a movie script would if they were really just actors in a movie series.
    – BMWurm
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 13:22
  • Related, possible dupe: How many seats were there in the Senate of the Galactic Republic?. If we can figure out how many systems are represented, we're probably pretty close to figuring out how many inhabited planets/systems there are.
    – phantom42
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 13:23
  • 2
    In regards to each planet only having one spaceport, Tatooine, which is generally considered backwater and avoided by law-abiding travellers, has at least two in movie canon alone: Mos Eisley and Mos Espa (presumably Anchorhead is as well, but we never see it on-screen). Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 16:20
  • 2
    I don't know what the canonical population of the Star Wars galaxy is, but "millions of inhabited planets with billions of people" would only be a population of thousands per planet :3
    – recognizer
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 17:36
  • 1
    "millions of inhabited planets with billions of people" Don't know what comes after "billions" in english. And in german "Billion" is 1e+12, not 1e+9 as in englisch afaik (between Millionen and Billionen we have Milliarden what is 1e+9). Confusing. Who invented that? Same word for different things.
    – Hothie
    Commented Jan 11, 2016 at 19:39


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