In The Book of Boba Fett, much of the action takes place in the city of Mos Espa, previously seen in The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. The version of it seen in the show has most of the city at the bottom of a large canyon or pit:

Image of Mos Espa from The Book of Boba Fett

As far as I know, this is the first time this version of Mos Espa has been seen. In the 2016 edition of Complete Locations, for example, Mos Espa is pictured as being built on a flat part of the desert. It also appears to be in the middle of the flat desert in The Phantom Menace, although the scenes we see could just take place on the outskirts above the cliff.

I'm guessing this was a creative decision made to visually distinguish Mos Espa from Mos Eisley, which parts of The Mandalorian take place in, but is there any official word about this choice? In-universe and out-of-universe explanations are both welcome.

  • 1
    Screenrant discusses this, but their article is just speculation.
    – Harabeck
    Jan 13, 2022 at 17:48
  • 36
    If it was in a little hole there wouldn’t be enough space for all the buildings. Jan 13, 2022 at 20:57
  • 4
    @PaulD.Waite "Hmm. Little hole or big hole?" "You idiot, big hole of course, otherwise we won't be able to handle expansion." *proceeds to expand outward from crater * Jan 14, 2022 at 3:04
  • 5
    @PeterNielsen - Big hole, little hole, cardboard box.
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2022 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


Mos Espa was, according to the original artwork and concept design for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, always supposed to be portrayed as a city set into the desert. Essentially the goal was to replicate Luke's 'pit house' but on a city-sized scale.

Watto's Shop (and the events of the film) explicitly take place in the outskirts of the city, on the outer lip of the crater, hence why we don't see the dominating walls.

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Images from The Art of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

  • 5
    Huh, TIL! I wonder if the later design of Utapau was influenced by this concept work.
    – Milo P
    Jan 13, 2022 at 20:43
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    Must be a pain if it ever rains. I remember a similar pit city from the 2008 clone wars series, season 5 I think.
    – user19087
    Jan 14, 2022 at 3:07
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    @User19087 - Luckily it never rains. Ever.
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2022 at 7:50
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    I presume there is some form of energy shielding that funnels sand storms away from the hole, otherwise be you'd spending your life sweeping up sand . . . Jan 14, 2022 at 14:18
  • 17
    @BinaryWorrier - Luke's house had an electrostatic shield that stopped the sand coming in. I expect he still hated sand though. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere...
    – Valorum
    Jan 14, 2022 at 14:53

A real world explanation for putting a desert city in a big hole would be to get more shadow and/or to get it out of the wind. (Although I have to admit, I have not seen those movies, so I have no idea what the climate in that area is supposed to be like)

  • 3
    Hi, welcome to SF&F. The question wasn't why might a city be built like that, it was asking if the city had always (in previous works) been intended to be depicted this way.
    – DavidW
    Jan 14, 2022 at 12:27
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    Yeah, I put too much emphasis on the last sentence... " In-universe and out-of-universe explanations are both welcome." Jan 14, 2022 at 12:33
  • 1
    In the real world, they would be expending even more effort hauling wind-blown sand up and out of that giant crater.
    – JS.
    Jan 14, 2022 at 22:22
  • If we speculate in 'real world' reasons that the city is in a pit, it could be due to extreme subsidence. Perhaps due to mining or a now depleted water reservoir. Mexico City for example is sinking quite severely: nap.edu/read/4937/chapter/4
    – glaux
    Feb 1, 2022 at 8:49

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