Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Chapter VII: Grievous on Utapau

Grievous on Utapau

The Neimoidian shuttle makes its return here, having now appeared in all three prequel films. It is more accurately known as a Sheathipede-class transport shuttle, and most Neimoidians have their cockpits removed in favour of an automated pilot. Grievous's shuttle, however, retains its original cockpit. The shuttle was included because George Lucas wanted Grievous to use a vessel that the audience would automatically associate with the bad guys of the prequels[1].

Utapau is seen for the first time on film, although the planet actually made its debut in the webstrip Evasive Action: Reversal of Fortune, and later appeared at the end of Labyrinth of Evil. Its roots, however, go back to early drafts of The Star Wars—that would later become Episode IV—where "Utapau" was the name given to the planet that eventually became Tatooine. The name was recycled in early drafts of Episode I, where it was used to designate the future Naboo. Although unused in any official material at that point, the name became known enough to be referenced in the Power of the Jedi sourcebook, where it was cited as one of the possible homeworlds of the Jedi Order—along with other unused planets such as Had Abbadon and Aquilae. This was, however, written before it was decided Utapau would appear in Episode III, and whether this information can be reconciled with the official version of Utapau remains unknown.

The concept of a sinkhole world similarly dates back to pre-production of Episode IV, when artist Ralph McQuarrie created a striking image of such an environment for possible use in that film. Although ultimately left unused, it was resurrected during pre-production of Episode III, and was approved by Lucas along with new works for inclusion in the film. A sinkhole world (Tarnoonga) was also featured in the Droids cartoon episode, The Pirates of Tarnoonga, as well as the planet Ophideraan, home of the Great Well, seen in the comic strip The Serpent Masters.

The Separatists have landed a Core Ship inside the Pau City sinkhole, docking it at the Tenth Level. This vessel is identified as the Unlimited Projection. The city is comprised of eleven levels, from the highest governmental and civic sectors to produce and industrial levels towards the bottom of the sinkhole.

A dactillion can be seen flying through the city as Grievous's shuttle comes in for a landing. Dactillions will later be seen in the varactyl stable, and even joining in the fight for the planet during Obi-Wan's mission.

The Separatist Council, along with ranks of battle droids, has turned out to welcome Grievous in a scene designed to evoke the arrivals of Darths Vader and Sidious aboard Death Star II in Episode VI. The Councilors seen here will later be assembled in full prior to Obi-Wan's confrontation with Grievous.

Darth Sidious is seen here, again in holographic form, marking the third time the character has been introduced in this manner (Episode I and Episode V are the other two times).

The planet Mustafar is mentioned here for the first time, and continues the theme prevailant in the Expanded Universe that has seen the Separatist Council moving from planet to planet in an attempt to escape the Republic. Previous Separatist "safeworlds" have included Geonosis (Episode II), the Neimoidian purse-worlds (Labyrinth of Evil), Castell (Reversal of Fortune), Belderone (Labyrinth of Evil) and finally Utapau and Mustafar. The latter was originally named "Mufasta" during pre-production, just as Utapau was at one point referred to as "Utapo".


  1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith DVD Commentary (26:31)

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