Gambling plays a surprisingly big role in the Star Wars universe. Of course, all fans will already know that Han Solo won the Millennium Falcon in a bet against Lando Calrissian, but the links between gambling and Star Wars go even deeper.
An extended sequence of The Last Jedi – Episode VIII in the saga – saw Finn and Rose Tico exploring the casinos and racetracks of Canto Bight in search of the Master Codebreaker.
While it is fair to say that part of the film split opinion among Star Wars fans, the design of Canto Bight’s opulence was spot on. Here are five cool facts about the Canto Bight location.
- Canto Bight was inspired by James Bond
The Last Jedi director Rian Johnson has previously given some details on the inspiration for Canto Bight, with the Croatian city of Dubrovnik used for some of the filming.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Johnson described Canto Bight as “a Star Wars Monte Carlo–type environment, a little James Bond–ish, a little To Catch a Thief”.
Naturally, the contrast between the rich people who go to Canto Bight and the far more ordinary backgrounds of characters like Finn and Rose was on Johnson’s mind too.
“It was an interesting challenge, portraying luxury and wealth in this universe,” he said. “I was thinking, OK, let’s go ultra-glamour. Let’s create a playground, basically, for rich assholes.”
2. Canto Bight – a gambler’s playground
The Last Jedi shows plenty of gambling going on during the Canto Bight sequences.
In fact, during the Galactic Civil War, Canto Bight was known to be the most luxurious casino, so it would have drawn visitors from all over the Star Wars universe.
Being a playground for the rich drew the ire of Rose Tico, though. “I wish I could put my fist through this whole lousy, beautiful town,” she said in The Last Jedi.
Casinos and racetracks are not for everyone, especially when the city was so exploitative.
3. Deliberate parallels with Mos Eisley
Star Wars movies have always mixed seriousness with light-heartedness and The Last Jedi was no different, even if Johnson’s approach to the movie did not please everyone.
The use of Canto Bight – which is located on the desert world of Cantonica – was part of achieving that goal, with the clear parallel with Mos Eisley a deliberate choice from the director.
“I didn’t want this to be a dirge, a heavy-osity movie,” Johnson told Vanity Fair. “So one thing I’ve tried really hard to do is keep the humor in there, to maintain the feeling, amid all the heavy operatic moments, that you’re on a fun ride.”
Whether or not future Star Wars films revisit Canto Bight remains to be seen, however.
4. Mark Hamill popped up in Canto Bight
The vast majority of people who have seen The Last Jedi likely did not even notice. But Mark Hamill, who reprised his role as Luke Skywalker again, had a surprise cameo at Canto Bight.
Hamill provided the voice for Dobbu Scay, who was one of the gamblers shown on screen in Canto Bight. Dobbu Scay, in case you have forgotten, was the character who mistook BB-8 for a betting machine and started trying to insert coins into the droid as a result.
Star Wars superfans will probably already know Hamill was the alien Boolio in last year’s Rise of Skywalker movie. However, did you know he was also the voice of the bartending droid EV-9D9, who appears briefly in The Mandalorian season 1? Well, now you do!
5. Poe was supposed to go to Canto Bight with Finn
In an earlier version of The Last Jedi, Johnson had planned for Poe to be Finn’s companion on the mission to Canto Bight. However, the director later had a rethink, which led to the creation of Rose Tico as a character.
Johnson said he felt the combination between Finn and Poe was “boring” at Canto Bight, adding: “It was just these two dudes on an adventure. I knew something was wrong when I looked at their dialogue and realized that I could interchange any of the lines. There wasn’t conflict between them. I realized I had to come up with something else. Finn needed somebody else to go with who would actually challenge him and push him and contrast with him.”
Rose Tico might not be the most popular character in the latest trilogy, but Johnson’s reasoning for avoiding more scenes with Finn and Poe makes a lot of sense.
Having two main characters that are played by people of colour on their own side quest was also notable for the series too. Canto Bight’s casino plot made that happen.