This is post number 3 in the Gundam series, aimed at helping you find your way in the complex multiverse of this amazing franchise (for the other posts, see this). As if the different timelines I have discussed before were not complicated enough, locations are even worse, if possible. Timelines at least remain common across some of the series, while the locations continuously overlap, or change a great deal in the same timeline, sometimes even creating logical issues (for the Gundam experts, I recommend this page with an interesting debate about UC locations. Not recommended for the beginners though). It’s impossible to relate here all sites of all series, or even of all timelines, and I won’t even try. My aim here is to provide some general references.
First of all, *most* of Gundam series / events happen nearby Earth – i.e. on Earth itself, Earth’s orbit, the Moon, and Lagrangian Points of the Earth-Moon orbit, where artificial colonies are located (I have written a lot about LPs, see this or this for more technical explanations). Generally, more than one colony is located at a given LP, and they’re clustered in the so-called Sites – some more famous than others. Most of the colonies itself are, at least in the U.C. timeline, space habitats of the type of the O’Neill cylinders.
In series adopting U.C. Sites stay more or less the same (though variations do exist), while when we jump to other timelines things change a great deal (see for example Gundam Wing, A.C.timeline, map below). Also, sometimes areas of action simply expand. Takes U.C., for instance. While in Mobile Suit Gundam everything happens between Earth and the Earth-Moon LPs, in Z Gundam (the following series) colonies expand at least to Jupiter in order to collect Helium-3 from the gas giant (and where a well-known, charismatic villain like Paptimus Scirocco, The Man from Jupiter, comes from. Mars, on the other hand, only appears in Gundam F90).
The Moon features prominently in all Gundam’s timelines, even though with different names and colonies – Von Braun, Granada, Aires City, Lorentz Crater, Copernicus City, Lunar Base just to mention a few ones). Interestingly, not all timelines consider the Moon suitable for permanent human settlements. In Gundam Wings, for example, Lunar Base is only good for tourism and as manufacturing facility for mechas, while in Gundam SEED and the rest of Cosmic Era-based series they are also important sites of battles (like at the end of First Bloody Valentine War).
Moon’s locations have not to be confused with Luna 2, which is a mining asteroid where the first colonies were constructed and that hosted the Earth Federation base in space (together with being a battle location during the the One Year War).
As I said before, some Sites are more famous, or infamous, than others. This is the case of Site 3, the location of the Republic of Zeon, known after the death of Zeon Zum Deikum as the Principality of Zeon. This colony is the single most important one in the Gundam multiverse for at least two excellent reasons: first of all, it is the side who declared war to the Earth Federation when the Zabi Family went to power – the bad guys, just to be clear. Second, because this is where the true star of the franchise, Char Aznable (シャア・アズナブル) / Casval Rem Deikum, The Red Comet, comes from (and fights for. I will dedicate to Char and its character an ad hoc post, considering his relevance for the success of Gundam).
The last site I want to mention is A Baoa Qu (in the featured image), which is the location of Zeon’s most powerful military basis and of a furious battle where the original Mobile Suit Gundam series ends. After that, the place changes name to The Gate of Zedan, where an important part of the action of Z Gundam happens. A curiosity: the name A Baoa Qu is the name of a legendary monster from Malay folklore, and it has been described by Jorge Luis Borges in his Book of Imaginary Beings (1967). Most appropriate, all considered.
For the analytic list of all locations of the different timelines, see this link.
(Credits: When not otherwise credited, all images in this post have been taken from the official Gundam Wiki Page, where all the proper credits can be found).