Yes, yes. To Obi-Wan you listen. The cave. Remember your failure at the cave! -Yoda
Caves have had a recurring presence in Star Wars from the beginning. From the space-slug cave on an asteroid in ESB (“This is no cave!”), to the Wampa’s ice cave in the same movie, to the recent Episode of Rebels that found Zeb and Kallus trapped in a cave on a moon, to the cave in the deleted scene of Return of the Jedi where Luke finished building his lightsaber. Caves have been a common mythological motif going way back. Going all the way back to…well…all the way back to cavemen.
Probably the most significant scene involving a cave in Star Wars is the dark side cave from Empire Strikes Back. This scene in the cave is probably the closest thing in the OT to Rey’s Force-vision. They had a lot in common, in fact.
And why did Yoda choose Dagobah of all places right next to a “Dark side cave”? One theory out there is that the darkside energy of the cave shielded Yoda’s light side, like the way a negative electrical charge would shield a positive electrical charge at a distance. He used the cave this way to hide from the Emperor. This makes you wonder…If Luke is the Yoda of the sequel trilogy, did he choose Ahch-To for similar reasons?
Making Star Wars recently reported that caves in Mexico are being scouted for Episode VIII. From the article:
“They came scoutings film and toured Tláhuac and Iztapalapa. They were interested in caves and grottoes species is there.”
What is perhaps most interesting about this is that the orignal source of this news leak had a statement at the end remind us that this isn’t the first time. In fact, they said
It should be clarified that the visit of Star Wars was not new, but dates from the end of 2015
and went on to say that these things often take a long time with scouting etc. While they may have been scouting Mexico going back to before the release of The Force Awakens, it appears that Lucasfilm has been scouting caves going back to almost a year ago. We had this cryptic report that suggests that Star Wars was filming in the world’s 3rd largest cave, Hang En Cave in Vietnam:
It’s so spectacular that it’s playing home to several upcoming blockbusters, including this summer’s Pan, and others the force compels us not to disclose. We hiked through the Vietnamese jungle to explore it.
That was a thinly-veiled hint. Here is the cave they are talking about:
This could be amazing. Check out this article and image from Star Wars Underworld from a year ago. They were scouting caves a year ago because they had a good idea of where things were going with the trilogy. They knew that there would be caves because our heroes Rey and Luke are probably going to go exploring a cave connected to the Jedi Temple on Ahch-To in Episode VIII. That is the going speculation, from many sources. In fact, we also had this speculation back in January.
So from Mexico to Vietnam, they are looking for some cool cave shots quite literally across the globe. All of these caves have something in common; they are described as “Unearthly” and capable of being something from another planet. Creating some footage that believably represents another planet is no doubt why they did a lot of scouting for otherworldly caves in Mexico. There are actually some pretty amazing caves in Mexico that fit this description. Check out this Mexican cave/grotto, which is very other-worldly:
This cave is in Naica, which is in North-Central Mexico, and not really near the two cities reported above, but still possible. These Naica caves contain 20 foot tall (or taller) crystal spires that look absolutely amazing. These giant crystals could make for some amazing storytelling by linking the Temple on Ahch-To to some sort of ancient Jedi kyber-crystal cave. It wouldn’t be outlandish for them to explore other locations beyond the two reported and these crystal caves would be perfect.
If we want to stick to the two Mexican locations mentioned above, the caves near La Estrella are more in that neck of the woods, such as this one here:
And these caves known as Ixtapan have some cool colors in certain lights:
These caves could be part of something connected to the Temple on Ahch-To, after Rey and Luke enter some sort of door or tunnel to an underground chamber in the temple. Using some of these cool Mexican caves for either plate-shots and even on-location shots, plus some CGI shots could make for some pretty amazing film-making.
Now that Ilum is destroyed, and from Star Wars Rebels, it looks like there is a good chance that the Temple on Lothal is destroyed (or could be soon), this leaves Ahch-To as the natural place for Rey to find her own kyber crystal to build her own lightsaber. Just imagine something like Rey’s scavenging skills when she was getting through the downed Star Destroyer, but inside a crystal cave:
Definitely something to get psyched about!
Of course, there is another possibility. We still have yet to see Snoke in person, and we may just get that opportunity in Episode VIII. If we do end up going to a home base of his that isn’t some sort of mobile space station, we may end up revisiting some old Ralph McQuarrie concept art for the Emperor. This one is a classic, and still not really used:
And of course, many people have made the connection to a piece of TFA concept art that wasn’t used. This image of possibly Rey entering a Temple or cave of some sort, presumably to visit Luke or possibly Snoke:
So there is no telling how this will all tie together in Episode VIII. Nobody knows for sure at this point, but it is definitely fun to contemplate where things are going with the scant pieces of news that we have!