Sci-fi movies and TV shows love to visit hostile planets filled with violent alien creatures, environmental perils, and an overall vibe of “get me the hell out of here”—not exactly the ideal components for a space vacation. But there are a few extraterrestrial hotspots we wouldn’t mind visiting on our next getaway.
Raise a piña colada for Scarif, a tropical paradise forever ruined by the arrival of something even worse than American tourists: the Empire. Fortunately, Star Wars will always have Naboo—a lush, forested world with cities both above and beneath the water, elaborate palaces and villas, and beach vistas that suspiciously resemble Italy’s picturesque Lake Como.
Home to Padmé Amidala, Jar Jar Binks, and Emperor Palpatine, Naboo is a place of great beauty that also saw plenty of political intrigue and, of course, at least one pivotal battle. But it’s also tempting to imagine Naboo also had a whole “upscale interplanetary weekend getaway” industry the movies never got around to showing us, propelled by wine-tastings, facials, opportunities to wear a lot of unnecessarily elaborate headdresses, and so on.
Mega arcade Blips and Chitz would’ve been our first choice for a Rick and Morty vacation, but since this list is focusing on actual planets—not casinos floating in space—we’re going with the unnamed planet that Rick and Jerry visit in the season three episode “The Whirly Dirly Conspiracy.” Yes, there are giant snakes and other gruesome creatures roaming the forests, but there’s also a “super fancy” amusement complex perched atop a mesa, contained within an immortality field that allows you to fake-murder friends and family for fun.
The Westworld reference is crystal clear: “Rich a-holes are rich-holes,” Rick explains to Jerry. “They all pay top dollar to come here and enjoy a consequence-free vacation.” Just watch your head on that high-flying roller coaster—and maybe don’t indulge your desire to fake-murder anyone when Rick and Jerry, who inevitably figure out how to wreck the immortality field, are anywhere nearby.
If things like real-world global pandemics don’t especially bother you, you can visit an elaborate, immersive land at Florida’s Walt Disney World Resort dedicated to James Cameron’s ever-percolating Avatar franchise. But actually getting to visit the real Pandora would be a thrilling (and probably safer) adventure all its own. Don’t listen to the greedy, trigger-happy Earth invaders who sum up the lush local flora and fauna by estimating that “every living thing that crawls, flies, or squats in the mud wants to kill you and eat your eyes for jujubes.”
Yes, there are some aggressive plants and animals, and the atmosphere is highly poisonous for humans. Plus, the indigenous Na’vi people aren’t exactly welcoming to outsiders—can you blame them? The movie Avatar basically exists as a “what not to do” visitor’s guide to Pandora. Be respectful of the environment and the creatures that exist harmoniously in the planet’s unique ecosystem, don’t bring a bunch of macho weapons with you or threaten any sacred locations, and it’s entirely possible you could have an imaginary vacation to remember and return home with both eyeballs intact.
Ragnarok happened, so Asgard as we knew it throughout most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is no longer. But as Avengers: Endgame showed us, as long as you have time-travel technology, you can still visit Thor’s homeworld in its prime—a place full of sweeping natural beauty, sparkling architecture, Norse magic, and a lot of very, very good-looking locals. “It was Asgard and its warriors that brought peace to the universe,” Odin (Anthony Hopkins) serenely reminds us at the beginning of the first Thor movie, while escorting mini-Thor and mini-Loki on a stroll past the kingdom’s artifact collection. Obviously, that would be a must-see on any Asgardian visit—just try not to lose your mind around that creepy Tesseract.
Exhausted and grumpy after a grueling stretch of assignments, Picard (Patrick Stewart) very reluctantly agrees to take some shore leave in season three episode “Captain’s Holiday.” The destination: Risa, a place that Riker (Jonathan Frakes) promises will hold “warm tropical breezes, exotic foods, [and] nothing to do but sit around all day” and, of course, pitch woo at any willing partners who catch your eye. (It helps if you’re toting around a small statue advertising your horniness, which a bathing suit-clad Picard accidentally does thanks to a prank trap set by Riker. Heh.) At any rate, Picard eventually loosens up and enjoys his holiday—archaeological intrigue and a mysterious woman named Vash (Jennifer Hetrick) help with that—but the average vacationer probably wouldn’t have quite as tough of a time resisting Risa’s relaxing atmosphere and plentiful temptations.
Of course, not everybody’s dream space vacation is the same, so share below which (preferably non-terrifying) alien planet from sci-fi movies or TV you’d like to visit. Cross-country skiing on Hoth, anyone?
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