Photo courtesy of Hispanicize

Oh yes, we’ll say it: May the force be with you!

This May the 4th, millions of Star Wars fans celebrate the famous phrase of the Jedi and remember the saga that changed the history of cinema forever.

From its beginnings in 1977, with “Episode IV: A New Hope,” to the present day, eight sequels, anthologies, animated films, and series are just part of the Star Wars legacy. 

Its intricate stories, groundbreaking and trend-setting special effects, and inspiring characters have made the saga an imaginary in itself, but did you know that this cinematic marvel has profound influences from Latin culture?

From landscapes to indigenous languages, these are the Latino influences in Star Wars.

El Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Photo courtesy of Youtube

Known for being the world’s largest and highest salt desert with an extension of more than 10 thousand square kilometers and at an altitude of more than 3 thousand meters, El Salar de Uyuni, is located in southern Bolivia in the province of Potosí. 

This would be the site that gave life to the planet Crait in Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi.

In this installment of the Saga, the planet Crait is where the abandoned rebel base to which the resistance would flee after what happened in The Force Awakens is located. According to the film’s director, Ryan Johnson, the planet Crait had to be very dry and full of salt, which made the Salar de Uyuni the perfect location.

Quechua, the language of the Incas

Quechua, also known as ‘Runa Simi,’ is the most widely spoken indigenous language in South America, with some 10 million speakers spread across Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Chile, and Colombia.

Used in the Inca empire in the 15th century, this language has survived to the present day and is considered an official language in Peru. 

For those who have never heard it, it may sound like a language from another planet, and it is not surprising that it was used as the language of aliens in the famous saga.

In Episode IV: A New Hope, Han Solo must meet Greedo, a mercenary working for Jabba The Hutt, on the planet Tatooine. When this meeting takes place in a cantina, Greedo uses several words from the Quechua language, among which we can distinguish “qhenchalla,” which means ‘bad luck,’ “q’enqo,” which means ‘labyrinth’ and the expression “chasca Ñawi” which means “messy eyelash.”

Guatemala and Poe Dameron

Photo courtesy of Youtube

In Tikal, Guatemala, there are Mayan ruins shown in the first movie of the saga Episode IV: A New Hope. These ruins were the perfect setting to give life to Yavin IV, one of the moons of the planet Yavin and its temples were seen as bases for the rebels.

And of these rebels from Yavin IV, the young pilot and commander Poe Dameron, a character who appears in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, stands out. Guatemalan-Cuban actor Oscar Isaac plays Dameron. The latter said in an interview that Poe comes from a planet inspired by his native Guatemala, giving him a more personal connection with the character and inspired by his culture when playing him.