If you were to tally every planet ever mentioned in Star Wars—we’re talking movies, comics, video games, and animated series—you’d end up with a number north of 300. That Star Wars became the cultural phenomenon we know today is no doubt the result of its dedication to truly thorough world-building. Every planet in the universe comes with its own history, culture, and landscape. And now, they have flags, too.
Scott Kelly is an art director from New Zealand who’s spent the last year designing flags for more than 100 planets in the Star Wars galaxy. As a self-professed Star Wars and flag-design nerd, Kelly drew on information from Wookieepedia to craft the brilliantly detailed emblems. He followed vexillological traditions to design his flags—think cantons, chevron patterns, and the classic 2:3 aspect ratio—and combined it with graphics that duly represented the otherworldliness of the series. “I tried to walk the line between traditional flag design and these far-off alien planets,” he explains.
Every flag in the series is inspired by the culture, economy, history, and natural landscape of the fictional world it stands for. Tatooine’s flag, for example, is a deep red and yellow, which references the fact that travelers had long mistaken the planet for a sun because of its desert landscape (the two circles, of course, represent the two suns around which Tatooine orbits); while that of Thule, a planet in the outer rim territories known for its semi-arid savannah and rocks charred from lightening strikes, is more graphically aggressive. “It needed to have a quite masculine feel to it,” he explains. “Almost oppressive.”
Naturally, Kelly took some creative liberties. For instance, he deciding that planets associated with the Galactic Republic would be colored royal blue. Other flags were simply Kelly’s interpretation of specific traditions and histories. He figures not everyone will agree with his vision (Star Wars fans are a tough crowd!), but regardless, you have to applaud his dedication. “There’s been a series of emails and replies that have said, ‘Oh I bet that guy doesn’t have a girlfriend,’” he laughs.