A few years ago I went to see "Star Wars: Return of the Sith" (mercifully the last of the prequels) and while watching it I had a thought. No, not "Boy, do I wish I was in a different theater," although I'm sure I probably said that before it was over.
It happened during the big battle between the Wookiees and the Trade Federation droid army. Something about the Wookiee home world of Kashyyk seemed awfully familiar.
It finally came to me after I got home. Kashyyk bears more than a striking resemblance to the Chinese city of Guilin!
At the top is a scene of Chewbacca and a Wookiee General planning their strategy on Kashyyk, with a view of some unusual mountains in the background.
At the bottom is a photo I took of the city of Guilin, with a view of some unusual mountains in the background. Notice anything familiar?
In another example, at the top we have the Wookiee army rushing toward a river with the strange mountain formations in the background.
At the bottom is a photo I took of the river Li, which winds through the strange mountain formations in the background.
At the top we see a Wookiee flying some sort of dragonfly-copter over the river with the strange mountains in the background.
At the bottom we see me sailing the river Li in Guilin with the strange mountains in the background.
I've been to the Wookiee planet!
Apparently when the folks at Lucasfilm needed an alien landscape for the Kashyyk, they realized they'd already used ice planets, swamp worlds and cities in the clouds, so they turned to China. Guilin, with its beautiful and unusual mountain formations, has some of the most alien-looking landscapes on earth. Guilin's not exactly the most well known place on the planet, especially in America, so they probably thought no one would notice if they co-opted it to stand in for Kashyyk. Sorry, guys, but I gotta call you on this one. Next time try coming up with a truly alien landscape instead of copying one from the Chinese.