The Galaxy in All Its Grandiose Glory
Talk about a broad scope, eh? Revenge of the Sith takes place all over the Galactic Empire, naturally, so we could spend weeks talking about the various nuances of the different planets.
For example, it's no surprise that Kashyyyk, the Wookiee planet, greatly resembles the forest planet of Endor because the Wookiees are kind of like bigger, less cuddly Ewoks, right?
Or, we could talk about how closely Utapau, the sinkhole planet where Obi-Wan finds General Grievous, is a bit too similar to the Sarlacc pit with teeth that Luke has to save Han from in The Empire Strikes Back.
And, we already mentioned over in our "Symbols" section how tidy it is that Obi-Wan and Anakin battle over the latter's soul while dancing through literal hellfire on Mustafar.
What we find more interesting is the when of it all. For non-Star Wars devotees, one might assume that all of this happens in the future. There's space travel far beyond our current capabilities, technology that is unthinkable today, and a galactic unity that seems like it must have taken centuries to develop … so it hasn't happened yet, right?
But no, young Padawan. It's already happened. In the opening crawl of every film, there is the phrase "a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away." So, what we're dealing with is more of an alternate universe.
In our research to explain this conundrum, we found an expert in the non-canonical Star Wars universe who theorizes that the events of Revenge of the Sith occur roughly around the year 1785. (Source)
There are, we're sure, several other theories out there as well because George Lucas doesn't really want to nail down the specifics.
So, regardless of the actual dates, the fact that we know we are dealing with a universe outside of our understanding gives Lucas the ability to do just about whatever he wants. He can pick and choose environments that are fitting for the challenges his characters encounter—a freedom that must be pretty fun for a filmmaker.
It also allows him to break some rules. In some movies set in outer space, there are some real (and terrifying) obstacles to overcome. In Interstellar, they battle the idea of the time-space continuum. In Gravity, the protagonists are up against space itself when they become stranded in orbit.
But, in Star Wars, the science never seems to get in the way. Characters seem to jump between star systems as easily as picking their nose, with no time-space issues or fear of the technology failing them.