George Lucas has all the time been one thing of a packrat in relation to the larger world of science fiction. Critics have charged him with borrowing from a few of science fiction’s best-known tales, like Isaac Asimov’s Basis and Frank Herbert’s Dune. With episode 5 of The Guide of Boba Fett, we will now cite one other big affect: Larry Niven’s Ringworld.
[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for The Book of Boba Fett.]
On this newest episode, the present’s titular character took a breather whereas we caught up with the adventures of Din Djarin from The Mandalorian. Once we final noticed him, he relinquished his diminutive ward, Grogu. His newest bounty takes him to someplace fascinating: a ring-shaped area station, the place his newest quarry works as a butcher. If you happen to’ve ever performed the Halo video games or learn Niven’s traditional novel, you’d instantly acknowledge the large construction.
Star Wars has by no means shied away from large buildings, just like the Dying Star in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi, the Ring of Kafrene in Rogue One, or Cloud Metropolis in The Empire Strikes Again. The Expanded Universe launched a handful of its personal megastructures, too, like Corellia’s Centerpoint Station, the Amaxine Area Station from The Excessive Republic sequence and seen The Rise of Kylo Ren comedian sequence, and a Dyson sphere within the Iokath system. However that is the primary time we’ve ever seen something prefer it on this explicit world, and that’s just a little stunning that it’s taken this lengthy for a correct ringworld to pop up.
The construction first appeared in science fiction canon half a century in the past in Larry Niven’s 1970 novel Ringworld. When I interviewed Niven a few years in the past concerning the novel, he defined that he had gotten the concept from an actual scientific idea: a Dyson sphere, wherein a civilization covers up its residence star with a shell, as a way to seize all of it vitality output. “If you happen to spin the Dyson sphere, you may get gravity alongside the alongside the equator,” Niven defined, “However nowhere else, so I simply labored with the equator.” Niven’s Ringworld was born, and whereas participating in a author’s workshop, he found out the story that ultimately grew to become the e-book.
The novel was standard with science fiction followers: after it was printed in 1970, it went on to win the triple crown of science fiction awards: the Hugo, Locus, and Nebula Awards, and he ended up together with it in his established “Recognized Area” universe, and adopted it up with three further novels, The Ringworld Engineers (1979), The Ringworld Throne (1996), and Ringworld’s Kids (2004), together with a handful of prequels and spinoffs.
Niven’s Ringworld is large: it’s an object that traces a planet’s orbital path, like a skinny ribbon round a lightweight bulb. Put a spin on it, and the inside facet of the ring has sufficient gravity to carry in an environment. That inside? At 1.6 million kilometers extensive, and with a 940 million kilometers in circumference, it boasts loads of lounge: 580 trillion sq. miles, or the floor space of three million Earths. Standing on the floor, you wouldn’t truly have the ability to inform that you simply had been standing on an precise ring — it will seem as if there was an enormous arch stretching up overhead.
After he launched audiences to the idea, different authors borrowed it: Iain M. Banks utilized the idea as Orbitals in his sprawling Tradition sequence (and mentions a few proper-sized Ringworlds alongside the way in which), whereas John Varley utilized residing variations in his Gaea trilogy. Scientists have theorized the idea in smaller variations as nicely, like a Stanford torus station (the place the ring is enclosed with a roof to carry in an environment), or a Banks Orbital which is an orbital round a thousand kilometers in radius. In 2013’s Elysium, Neill Blomkamp used a Stanford torus designed by famed idea artist Syd Mead, wherein Earth’s rich elite escaped the poverty and dirt of Earth to reside a lifetime of luxurious.
However essentially the most well-known utilization comes not from literature, however from video video games, within the type of the Halo franchise (and most just lately in Halo: Infinite), the place a lot of the motion takes place. These variations aren’t almost as large on the ones that Niven imagined: they’re a mere 10,000 kilometers in diameter, though bigger rings (30,000 kilometer) exist on the earth as nicely. Whereas they’re a lot smaller than the buildings that impressed them, they nonetheless make for majestic, large worlds.
The ringworld of Ringworld would dwarf what we’ve now seen in Star Wars, which seems on par with one thing just like the Dying Star: a large area station that takes benefit of its spin to offer gravity for its inhabitants. As Din Djarin strikes by way of the construction, it’s clear that it’s principally a metropolis that’s been stretched out from finish to finish, a handy interstellar hub for commerce and transportation within the galaxy’s Outer Rim.
What’s neat about this explicit construction is that it does appear like Lucasfilm has opted to borrow some components from Niven: not solely the round construction, but additionally an inside, segmented ring that gives components of the world with day and night time cycles.
The complete construction is a pleasant nod to one in every of science fiction’s best-known works. It possible gained’t be the final time we see one on display screen: an adaptation of Halo is coming to Paramount Plus later this yr, and whereas we haven’t seen an precise adaptation of Ringworld but, there’s been no scarcity of efforts to helm one. As of 2020, Amazon was engaged on a sequence based mostly on the novel, with Recreation of Thrones’ Alan Taylor set to direct a script written by Akiva Goldsman.