You may recall, if you’re a total fucking nerd, that in Return of the Jedi Admiral Ackbar describes the Death Star as “orbiting the forest moon of Endor.” (Grainy bootleg clip here if you’re interested.)
That’s an ambiguous description. It could mean “the forest moon belonging to Endor,” in which case Endor is presumably the planet that the moon orbits (although it could also be a government, a corporation, or even a person). It could also mean that “Endor” is the name of the moon itself, as in “the land of Oz” or “the kingdom of France.”
If Ackbar had said “the planet Endor’s forest moon,” or “the forest moon known as Endor,” we’d know for sure. But all we get is “the forest moon of Endor,” and since that’s the only time anyone mentions the moon by name, that’s what we’re stuck with.
No big deal — until Star Wars became a massive media enterprise with literally hundreds of contributing authors, and thousands of obsessive fans. The subsequent attempts to fix Return of the Jedi‘s ambiguity, as laid out on Wookiepedia, are frankly hilarious:
The planet Endor was never visible in any scenes in Return of the Jedi set on the forest moon, a fact which the novelization explains by asserting that it was destroyed some time earlier, and that the moon now orbits its star in a planetary orbit of its own. It should also be noted that in two of the space battle scenes, a pinkish planet can be seen in the background, in the vicinity of the forest moon. Another shot showing TIE fighters flying towards the Death Star (and camera) with several Star Destroyers in the background shows the pinkish planet. This, coupled with the fact that a moon without a planet should itself be defined as a planet in its own right, has caused some fans to speculate that this pinkish planet is in fact Endor, and the novel is wrong. In addition, a large body, probably the planet Endor, can be seen in the sky during some scenes in the two Ewok telefilms (Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor), though this does not closely resemble the planet seen in Return of the Jedi. Star Wars: Battlefront IIshows the planet Endor as a large blue planet, possibly a gas giant, when in Galactic Conquest mode.
Apparently there’s also stuff in other Expanded Universe novels about how the planet Endor (not the moon Endor) was destroyed, leaving the moon to orbit its star on its own, but later that turned out to be an elaborate hoax? Something like that, anyway. The point is, a lot of people have tried very hard to turn “the forest moon of Endor” into something that makes sense and stays consistent throughout a massive and badly-organized canon.
It’s almost like Admiral Ackbar was laying a massive…linguistic…wait a minute…