Hoth and its three natural satellites in The Empire Strikes Back
|Planet type||Ice planet|
|Created by||George Lucas|
|First appearance||The Empire Strikes Back|
Hoth is a fictional ice planet that appears in the Star Wars fictional universe. It first appeared in the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back and has also been a setting in Star Wars books and video games. Hoth is depicted as the sixth planet of a remote system of the same name. It is a terrestrial planet blanketed by snow and ice. Many meteorites from a nearby asteroid belt pelt the planet's surface, making temporary craters in the planet's ever-moving snow drifts. Hoth has six moons, all uninhabited. Its native creatures include the wampa and the tauntaun; both of these creatures appear in The Empire Strikes Back.
Hoth is the sixth and outermost planet of the remote Hoth system. It is a small habitable world with a freezing climate, too cold for intelligent life to develop. Hoth was close to the Hoth asteroid belt, and meteors regularly hit the planet. Hoth was home to few species, including the towering, predatory Wampa, and gray snow lizards known as Tauntauns.
In the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back, Hoth is the home of the Rebel Alliance's secret base. The Rebels patrol the planet by riding indigenous tauntauns. At the start of the film, Luke Skywalker and his tauntaun are attacked by a wampa. Skywalker eventually escapes and is rescued by Han Solo. When one of the Galactic Empire's probe droids uncovers the base, the Rebels are forced to evacuate. The Empire arrives and deploys ground forces to destroy the base, but the Rebels battle the AT-ATs with ground artillery and snowspeeders to stall them and effectively evacuate.
Hoth has also appeared in Star Wars books and video games. In the novel Darksaber (1995), Luke Skywalker and his lover Callista travel to Hoth. In Shadows of the Empire, Hoth is one of several settings for Dash Rendar's adventures.
Portrayal in film
The original draft of The Empire Strikes Back, written by Leigh Brackett, depicted an opening scene with Luke Skywalker on the ridge of an ice planet, though the name "Hoth" was given to the cloud planet at the time. (The cloud planet was ultimately called Bespin.) The draft also depicted Hoth's wampas attacking the rebel base.
The Hardangerjøkulen glacier near Finse, Norway served as the filming location for Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. Scenes were filmed in subzero temperatures. For the battle scene, miniatures were used on a set that used microscopic glass bubbles and baking soda to mimic the snowy territory.
The planetary attributes of the fictional planet Hoth has been scrutinized for scientific accuracy. Space.com said Hoth most resembled the extrasolar planet OGLE-2005-BLG-390Lb, "With a surface temperature of -364 degrees Fahrenheit (-220 degrees Celsius), it is nearly as frigid as Pluto." Bruce Betts of The Planetary Society said the asteroid belt near Hoth meant that the planet would have difficulty staying in place. With Hoth being bombarded frequently by asteroids, Betts said it would be unlikely for natural lifeforms (like the wampa and the tauntaun shown in the film) to evolve on the planet.
Jeanne Cavelos theorized in The Science of Star Wars that the frequency of meteoroids bombarding Hoth indicated that the planet was relatively young since in older solar systems, the debris is more cleared out. Since Hoth has complex lifeforms, Cavolos said the planet's age may be older, in the range of several billion years. The author said Hoth could be similar to Earth in age but lack neighboring planets like Jupiter and Saturn to shelter it from meteoroid impacts. She also said with the asteroid belt depicted in the film as close to Hoth that the belt was a likely source for meteoroids. (The asteroid belt itself is unrealistically depicted as being closely clustered, which would normally mean that the asteroids would be reduced to sand-sized rubble over a long enough timespan.) CJ Miozzi, writing for The Escapist, said that Hoth was realistic as a single-biome planet (among numerous such planets in Star Wars), citing Jupiter's moon Europa as a similar example. Miozzi said the planet was depicted in the Star Wars books as being geologically active and having additional smaller lifeforms, including lichen. The author said lichen on Earth was an important part of the food chain during winter months but that it could grow back outside these months. With Hoth perpetually iced over, Miozzi said lichen likely would not be sufficient to support a multi-tiered food chain that includes an apex predator, the wampa, unless Hoth had just entered a 'snowball planet' phase, perhaps a few thousand years before, and the wampa was a (now endangered) survivor from an earlier warmer and greener phase in the planet's past.
According to the Snowball Earth theory, Earth would have resembled Hoth for periods of some 20 million years (several times) roughly 600 to 800 million years ago.
- Pirrello, Phil; Moro, Eric; Collura, Scott (May 21, 2010). "100 Things You Didn't Know About The Empire Strikes Back". IGN. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
- Hill, Amelia. "Star Wars Planet Profiles: Hoth". About.com. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
- Chao, Tom (September 14, 2012). "10 Real Alien Worlds That Resemble 'Star Wars' Planets". Retrieved November 21, 2014.
- Staff (October 28, 2010). "The Worlds of Star Wars: Hoth". National Geographic. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
- Cavelos, Jeanne (2007). The Science of Star Wars. Macmillan. pp. 14–17. ISBN 978-1-4299-7176-8.
- Miozzi, CJ (March 27, 2014). "Star Wars Canon: Just How Realistic Are the Single-Biome Planets?". The Escapist. Retrieved November 21, 2014.
- Galipeau, Steven A. (2001). "Hoth". The Journey of Luke Skywalker: An Analysis of Modern Myth and Symbol. Open Court. pp. 87–100. ISBN 978-0-8126-9432-1.