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Why couldn’t Jar Jar, Qui-Gon, and Obi-Wan go around the planet. The core would only be the fastest if they were on the opposite side of the planet. This wouldn’t make sense, as they can’t have travelled far from where the droid army (source: still appears to be the same time of day, although I could be wrong). Is this just Boss Nass hoping to get lucky and indirectly kill Jar Jar (and by connection Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan) or was it legitimately the shortest route, and the Trade Federation just landed on the opposite side of the planet?

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  • Well, it wasn't full of droids, for starters. That alone would make it considerably faster than a direct route.
    – Cadence
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 1:37
  • That's the reason sailing through the centre of the planet doesn't make sense?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 2:28
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    @Cadence, because the killer sea creatures are much less of a threat to an unarmed bongo than droids are to a pair of Jedi. Commented May 11, 2023 at 2:29
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    Close-voters, I fail to see how this is 'opinion-based' when there are objective answers available.
    – Valorum
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 7:11
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    @BlueSkinandGlowingRedEyes Considering that the droids are a planetary-scale invasion force complete with armor and air support, yes, I imagine they're a bigger threat than a few sea monsters. At least the sea monsters won't be attacking them with tanks.
    – Cadence
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 8:04

1 Answer 1

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The 'Inside the Worlds of Star Wars: Episode One' factbook tells how eons ago the last remnants of "plasmatic magma" moving around inside the planet formed deep and long waterways in the bedrock, before finally dissipating into the rock itself. These are the underwaterways that the Gungans refer to as the "planet core". They don't strictly speaking travel through the entire core (e.g. from one side to the other) but they do burrow into the core material.

The Jedi basically went down a few miles, then travelled along (sideways), then came back up a few miles when they got to Theed, which as you've noted isn't that far away from where they landed.

NABOO UNDERWATERWAYS

Underneath the surface of Naboo, a tremendous maze of passages and caves, created by movements of unstable plasmic energy in the interior, provides the Gungans with transport routes through the planet. Navigating these underwaterways requires immense skill since they are home to ferocious creatures. A single wrong turn can spell certain death. In spite of the risks, fleets of Gungan trading subs constantly voyage through these routes; overland travel on fambaas or kaadu is slower and more arduous for this amphibious species.

enter image description here

As to why they thought that this was a good idea, this is addressed in the film's official junior novelisation. The Jedi previously had no transport at all and while this bongo might be crappy and dangerous, it's still better than Shanks' pony.

The bongo the Gungans had promised turned out to be a tiny, bat-winged submarine with three bubble canopies and a strange drive that looked like long, trailing tentacles. Obi-Wan eyed it dubiously, but it was better than walking. Or swimming. He slid into the pilot’s chair.

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    It's clearly the crust, not the core. But science was never Star Wars' strong point.
    – OrangeDog
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 7:55
  • @OrangeDog - It depends how deep they're going :-)
    – Valorum
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 10:42
  • "not very" according to that image
    – OrangeDog
    Commented May 11, 2023 at 10:57
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    Not only is science not its strong point, it's not even a point. You're already in a universe where spacecraft bank, and an asteroid-dwelling space worm can somehow maintain a temperature and pressure inside its gullet that the only thing one needs to wear to clean mynocks off their hull is a breathing mask. They needed to get to Theed without going through the droids. They took an underwater series of subterranean tunnels. They had an adventure. Next stop, Theed. Plot advances. It's not like the movie's going to get better at this late date. Commented May 11, 2023 at 11:56

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