26. Dagobah vs. Fangorn Forest
What was Dagobah? Jungle world, home of Yoda
What was Fangorn Forest? Middle-earth forest, home of Treebeard
Verdict: Woods and dense thickets have always been full of mystery and secret histories yet to be uncovered, at least in fairy tales. In both Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, the same holds true.
Broadly speaking, both Dagobah and Fangorn Forest are alike in both aesthetic and thematic purpose. They’re dark, murky places, alive with both good and evil. They represent a return to the basic nature of things, and are each seeming one of the last untouched areas of the respective universes.
Consequently, it’s possible for Yoda and the Ents to live out their lives in obscurity, biding their time until they’re called upon to complete their lives’ works.
For Yoda, that was preserving the Jedi through Luke Skywalker. Picking up where Obi-wan left off, Yoda completed young Luke’s training and paved the road to him becoming a full fledged Jedi Knight.
For the Ents, it was protecting the forest itself. With Merry and Pippin’s guidance, they were led to Isengard and avenged those of their flock that were felled by Saruman’s orcs.
The latter is probably the more entertaining forest-based aspect of either series, but Dagobah serves as an arguably more vital crux to the wider Star Wars story. It’s a place where Luke finds out just how strong he is, and also just how much more he has to learn. His confrontation with the ghostly Darth Vader is eerie and oddly meta for a movie otherwise lacking in such motifs. For that added bit of complexity, it takes this round.
Star Wars wins
Next: 25. Coruscant vs. Minas Tirith