The Star Wars saga is set on foreign planets which couldn’t be more different: desert landscapes, planets covered in ice, dense forests and volcanic panoramas. One or two of us have definitely already been asking ourselves where on Earth scenes could have possibly be filmed. Or maybe it’s all just a trick and the entire Star Wars films are filmed in a studio? I can reassure you: many of the places shown in the films really do exist. Today I’ll show you the most exciting Star Wars filming locations!
The desert planet of Tatooine is home to smugglers, thieves and many more shady characters. It’s Tatooine where we meet the young Anakin Skywalker, who extends a helping hand to the two Jedi knights Qui-Gon Jinn and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Episode I (1999). The dynamic pod race in which young Anakin takes part was mostly filmed in Tunisia, just like most of the other scenes from Tatooine. The Tunisian region with a familiar name, Tataouine, offers the best conditions for desert shots.
“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away….”
The desert scenes from Episode IV (1977), were also partially filmed in Tunisia. Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi and the droids meet for the first time in the city of Mos Eisley. These scenes were filmed on Djerba Island. There’s even a Star Wars Canyon in Tunisia: the fans decided to give this name to the Sidi Bouhel gorge where the said pod race took place.
Kashyyyk – planet of the Wookies
Chewbacca is the favourite character of many Star Wars fans. The furry Wookie comes from planet Kashyyyk which is characterised by dense forests. The scenes shown in Episode III from 2005 were filmed in another popular holiday destination, namely in Thailand. Phuket provided George Lucas with the perfect setting. Further scenery shots of the Wookie planet were filmed in Guilin, China. Who would have thought, right?
Hoth – the (almost) uninhabited, icy planet
The uninhabitable, icy planet of Hoth, widely known as the hideout of the rebels in Episode IV (1980) is located not too far away in the wintry land of Norway. George Lucas used the barren landscapes and icy glaciers in order to perfectly imitate a planet covered in ice. In a large battle sequence, the imperial troops march through Norway’s snow covered landscapes and finally destroy the brilliantly camouflaged rebel base – a scene remembered by all who have watched the film.
Endor – dense forests and quirky inhabitants
Episode VI (1983) is set on a densely forested moon of Endor. This is where the Empire has placed its protective shield generator which protects the second Death Star. But the Rebel Alliance manages to destroy this one too, as well as a large part of the Imperial fleet, with the help of the local Ewoks. Scenes for this sequence were filmed in the USA. With its dense forests the Redwood National Park in California provided the perfect conditions for thrilling battle and chase scenes among the trees.
Tropical moon Yavin IV
The moon of Yavin IV, littered with the ruins of the temple of the Sith was used in Episode IV (1976) as the rebels’ headquarters. After the Emperor was defeated, Luke Skywalker raised a Jedi Academy here. The ruins present in the film can really be found there. The only difference is the fact that it was not a Sith but a Mayan Temple and you can still admire its ruins in Guatemala.
Mustafar – the final battle
The last episode of Star Wars we could view in the cinemas was Episode III (2005). The enthralling ending of the film was the fight to the death between Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his former Padawan Anakin Skywalker, who then adopts the name of Darth Vader. This scene casts a light on the origins of the famed mutilation and mask of Darth Vader. The duel took place on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, more commonly known as Mount Etna in Sicily. Even the footage of real volcanic eruptions was used to highlight the danger of the scene. A fitting finale indeed!
Filming locations of Episode VII
Episode VII The Force Awakens, took us again on a tour of various locations from around the world.Iceland, Morocco and Abu Dhabi are some of the well known settings.
Filming locations of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Did you know that most of the scenes in the latest Star Wars movie were filmed at the Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, England? But other than its studio settings, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was also shot in Iceland, Jordan and a deserted island in the Maldives.
You probably remember the iconic scene when the Stormtroopers march through the crystal clear ocean, right? The pristine water looks almost unreal, but it’s actually one of the beaches of Laamu Atoll! The white sandy beaches, dotted with palm trees, provide the setting for the planet Scarif. During filming, the cast and crew stayed at Reveries Diving Village. Heaven really is a place on Earth. :)
The Canary Wharf underground station in London was also used for some interior shots of Empire’s military base on Scarif.
So keep your eyes wide open when you watch the newest episode in the cinema, as one or two places in the galaxy far far away are not as obscure as you might expect!