The Star Wars saga is supremely successful and adored for a multitude of reasons, but one of the most important reasons for its mass appeal is how new and immersive worlds are created. There are several iconic locations and planets, each with their own distinct identity. Episode VIII in the series, The Last Jedi, recently hit cinemas, and it features a memorable casino planet called Canto Bight that is as visually interesting as any other locations featured in the franchise.
Although Canto Bight hosts a subplot rather than a leading story, it is still significant in the overall storyline. Even if its inclusion was completely superfluous from a narrative perspective, its appearance would still be justified if only to show a different type of planet in the Star Wars universe. Packed with diverse inhabitants and creatures, Canto Bight shows an environment that draws many similarities from the human world but transforms a common experience into something otherworldly and spectacular.
Traditional casinos are often a favoured setting for movie directors, with their visual and audio treats the backdrop to a microcosm of human society and emotion. Movies like Casino Royale and Casino show gripping scenes in casinos. The excursion to Canto Bight is less tense than those aforementioned movies, but rather more of a chance to show off a lavish and luxurious planet far removed from anything previously seen in the Star Wars universe.
The scenes in Canto Bight feel akin to the playing of video slots, such as the diverse themes and rich graphics of those available at online casinos. Like in the movie, these video slots present a twist on classic casino games by transporting them to strange worlds and new environments. The scenes in Canto Bight give the audience a chance for escapism, the same immersive quality that an online gaming experience might offer.
Beyond the casino, The Last Jedi also shows spectators enjoying watching a race on Canto Bight. In a similar vein to how the podracers of Episode I: The Phantom Menace imitate the conventions of motorsports such as Formula 1, the races on Canto Bight draw similarities with horse racing. It is the juxtaposition of fantastical worlds with relatable activities that make the Star Wars series so compelling. When Finn, played by John Boyega, visits Canto Bight he is swept up with awe at the planet, in much the same way that a person visiting Las Vegas for the first time might feel.
It will be interesting to see if Canto Bight features again in the Star Wars universe in the future. The production of Star Wars movies, TV series and books shows no sign of abating, so such a rich world full of potentially gripping characters will surely make Canto Bight the setting for adventures to come. Early reviews of The Last Jedi have been largely positive, and it looks set to create a legacy as one of the standout Star Wars movies, in no small part to the introduction of strange new worlds such as Canto Bight.