A long time ago in a garden far, far away….
The Rebel Alliance was traveling on a Rebel ship through the Sluis sector of Outer Rim Territories. Pilot and Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker pulled over onto planet Dagobah to pay Grand Master Yoda a visit and to gather food and supplies.
The plants on this purest of planets were lush and the natural resources were plentiful. But things quickly took a turn: On the mission to round up food, R2-D2 led C-3PO into difficult terrain and took a terrible fall. Even worse, at nightfall they were then pursued by members of the Galactic Empire entering the green planet on an Imperial Star Destroyer.
Jedi Grand Master Yoda, not far from his swamp hut on planet Dagobah, explores a bog of fork-leaf and cape sundews. (Bogs are perfect conditions for these carnivorous plants.) “Strong this planet is with the Force,” he says. “It is one of the purest places in the galaxy.”
JK. Actually, yours truly found himself at the local swap meet in search of a large indoor rubber tree (Ficus elastica) and ended up sidetracked by multiple vendors selling Star Wars action figures in the mania leading up to this weekend’s release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Before I could say “Tooke-trap“, I was filling a bag full of $2 Star Wars figures and asking if the lights on the Imperial Star Destroyer still worked with new batteries. I did walk out with a rubber tree for the living room (stay tuned), but this week has mostly been about inventing Star Wars scenes in the backyard. After all, I am a child of the ’80s.
We’ve played around before with action figures in our garden when a blooming jasmine vine invaded our property. Turns out that shooting action figures against our collection of plants can give you a whole new perspective on the power of flora. Their stems and leaves and fruits can take on mindbending proportions. It was also great to brush up on some plot points before we see the movie this weekend — after buying tickets three weeks in advance!
Follow the photo story below to see how the Rebel Alliance’s visit to our garden played out. (Disclaimer: While plant IDs are confirmed, many of the plot twists are my own, with a lot of help from Wookieepedia.)
C-3PO and R2-D2 approach a cliff draped with succulents.
“Oh dear, R2 where are you going? This is the end of the path. There is nothing over there!”
Attempting to save R2 from a fall, Threepio instead takes a fall off the edge of the burro’s tail cactus (Sedum morganianum).
R2-D2 looks down to try to find Threepio. It was a long fall and C-3PO is nowhere in sight.
“R2! Back up and don’t fall!” Luke Skywalker (Jedi Knight) says as he climbs a Euphorbia leucodendron (cat tails euphorbia) to get a better view. Then Luke loses his grip and also starts falling.
R2-D2 is helpless.
Princess Leia, seen here climbing a wax plant (Hoya obovata) comes to the rescue.
“I’m here to rescue you. I see you’ve got your R2 unit. Where is Threepio?”
“Let’s go find C-P30!” says Leia. “Ben Kenobi? Where is he?”
Ben Kenobi hangs on to another species of wax plant, Hoya carnosa ‘Crispa Variegata.’
Chewbacca wrestles with a Dalechampia dioscoreifolia (purple wings) in his search for food. Chewie is signalled to help the team find C-3PO. “WWWWWWWGGGGHHHRRRRW.”
An Imperial Star Destroyer arrives as night falls.
Tangerine asteroid fields…
Fresh off the Capital Ship, Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, is seduced by a patch of carnivorous Sarracenia purpurea (purple pitcher plants).
Rune Haako, former leader of the Separatist Council and thought to be dead, disguises himself in the sage. (Wait! Didn’t Anakin kill Rune on Mustafar? Rewatching this scene, it does look like only a mild chest wound.)
Stormtrooper vs. the Nepenthes x ventrata.
Another stormtrooper falls on a flytrap (Dionaea muscipula ‘King Henry’).
Chewie finds a shattered C-3PO in an aloe rosette at the bottom of his fall.
“If only you’d attached my legs, I wouldn’t be in this ridiculous position. Now remember, Chewbacca, you have a responsibility to me, so don’t do anything foolish!”
Chewie reunites with R2-D2, Princess Leia, and Luke Skywalker in front of a Hesperaloe parviflora (hummingbird yucca).
Rune Haako oversees the reunion, then he summons…
…Darth Vader, of course. (Not only was Rune not killed by Anakin Skywalker, but the former Separatist has now joined the dark side!)
Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, in front of a Lophocereus schottii monstrosus (totem pole cactus), comes to the rescue.
Darth takes on his former mentor Obi-Wan over a golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grussonii).
Oh no! Obi-wan is down. (This battle foreshadows Ben Kenobi’s eventual sacrifice at the hands of Darth Vader to become one with the Force.)
Mace Windu joins the fight! “In the name of the Galactic Senate of the Republic, you’re under arrest, Darth Vader,” says Master Windu. Darth Vader flees in disbelief after having watched Palpatine push Mace out a window to his death in Episode III. (Did he survive that fall after all?)
Windu rides a bird of paradise (Strelizia reginae) to catch up with Darth Vader.
Princess Leia tries to recover her gun in a Aechmea primera (beginner’s bromeliad).
Darth Vader and Mace engage in a lightsaber battle in front of a Euphorbia avasmontana.
Darth Vader flees again and hops onto a head of decorative kale.
Mace Windu, Jedi Master, chops off Darth Vader’s hand on a bed of decorative kale. This is sweet revenge since a young Anakin Skywalker chopped off Windu’s hand during that duel in Palpatine’s office in Episode III.
The Imperial Star Destroyer leaves with Darth Vader and co.
Yoda summons Luke Skywalker.
Master Yoda explains to Luke that a young Darth Vader once visited Planet Dagobah and slayed a Stapelia grandiflora.
Indeed, Anakin Skywalker visited this garden as a youth. Here he is posing in front of an Aeonium.
Behold, a teenage Anakin Skywalker attacks a budding Stepelia grandiflora (carrion flower).
And so our heroes reunite and leave Planet Dagobah with plenty of food and supplies. Yoda can be heard in the distance,”Victory? Victory you say? Master Obi-Wan, not victory. The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun the Clone War has.”