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The rise of Skywalker ends the saga. But these locations offer the opportunity to enter the Star Wars universe.

Few film sagas – except for James Bond – have been shot in such a wide variety of locations such as Star Wars. You can immerse yourself in the places of the nine films of the saga that, after 42 years, ends with the episode Star Wars: The rise of Skywalker, which was released in Italian cinemas last December 18.

Like a sort of planetary Pantone, these locations look like canvases painted in various colors, from the burnt orange of an arid planet to the bright white of an icy one, to the icy interiors of spaceships and the hideouts of villains, passing through swampy, wooded and aquatic worlds Of every kind. And none of these places really exist, in the sense that before the advent of CGI technology, manufacturers had to find valid substitutes on Earth.


The famous Star Wars robots C-3PO and R2-D2 approach the palace of Jabba the Hutt on the planet Tatooine, in Return of the Jedi. Actually this scene was shot in California’s Death Valley

Even today that technologies allow you to show practically everything on the screen, natural settings are still the basis for creating fantastic environments: a sort of real-world anchor that captures viewers, offering them scenarios in which they can immerse themselves.

And so, while in the Star Wars universe our planet and its civilization are located – paraphrasing the famous incipit “long ago in a distant distant galaxy”, many of those locations are reminiscent of sometimes exotic, sometimes incredibly amazing landscapes neighbors.


Star Wars (1977) – The Phantom Menace (1999)

It is probably the only Star Wars setting that takes its name from its terrestrial location (the name of the planet Tatooine is based on the Tunisian village of Tataouine. The deserts of the North African country are an important part of the bleak aesthetic of the first film of the saga, whose subtitle was A New Hope and the prequel The Phantom Menace.

Some of the structures created for the film can still be seen in the port city of Ajim and on the island of Djerba. Most of these sets commissioned by George Lucas today are dilapidated, slowly swallowed up by desert sand – although many have been kept in good condition by local people, aware of the tourist value of these structures. Unfortunately, the Tunisian tourism sector has been hit hard by the attacks of 2015 and the unrest that followed, and many destinations today host only a small part of what were once visitors. Some remain, like the Sisi El Driss hotel, a traditional Berber underground house that was Luke Skywalker’s childhood home in A New Hope.

In Nefta, in the Tunisian Sahara, an entire set was made for the original film of the saga. The rest were made in the late 1990s for the prequel trilogy. Many of those structures are still there, despite the advance of the desert

Skellig Michael, Ireland

The Last Jedi (2017)

On these two rocky islands almost 13 kilometers south-west of Ireland there are steep slopes that reach 600 meters in height in the North Atlantic. The largest, Skellig Michael (Sceilg Mhichil in Irish) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its importance as a habitat for birds and also for its solitary monastery. St Fionan, founded between the sixth and eighth centuries, is one of the first in all of Ireland. Inhabited by monks who lived in beehive houses and fished to eat, this monastery was isolated from the mother Island, ideal for practicing one’s belief without the risk of being persecuted. In The Last Jedi, the island and its ruined monastery were Luke Skywalker’s hermitage.

An aerial view of Skellig Michael, the larger of the two jagged islands of sandstone and slate found in the Atlantic Ocean, on the south-west coast of Ireland

Hardangervidda, Norway

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

This region of Norway, which acted as an alter-ego to the deserts of the frozen planet Hoth, ensured real blizzards for the production which, in some cases, was enough to make a jump outside the hotel in the village of Finse to do some shooting. Most of the larger scenes were shot in the nearby Hardangerjøkulen glacier: on which tours organized by the Finse 1222 hotel, the structure that also hosted the crew, are managed.

The Handargervidda plateau in Norway was used to simulate the frozen planet of Hoth. The conditions were so authentic that, to shoot some short scenes, the crew just had to put their noses outside their hotel in Finse

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean

The Force Awakens (2015)

Puzzlewood’s hazy landscape in Dean’s Forest is part of a famous scene from one of the most anticipated films in the series, The Force Awakens. This ancient forest is full of curiosities: rocky outcrops, branches twisted over the years and covered with lichens, caves and large roots. It is said to take its name from the mysterious people who inhabit that place, but also in reference to its strange characteristics.

The enigmatic Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire, was the set for a battle scene in the film The Awakening of the Force

Death Valley, California

Return of the Jedi (1983)

Two continents lent themselves to the arid and orange-colored landscapes of the planet Tatooine: Africa and North America. In the latter case, California’s Death Valley was chosen when a storm stopped shooting in Tunisia. The valleys of the Golden Canyon, Desolation Canyon and 20 Mule Team Canyon were the backdrop to several fundamental scenes of A New Hope, but they also served as a backdrop for the path that the droids take to reach the Jabba palace in The Return of the Jedi.

Several Death Valley canyons, such as the Golden Canyon in this photo, were perfect for recreating the planet Tatooine in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi

Tikal, Guatemala

A New Hope (1977)

A dense rainforest with ancient structures created by the Mayans were the setting for the climax of the original film of the saga. Considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Tikal has been a ceremonial city inhabited for 1,500 years and remained shrouded in mystery until relatively recent times, despite some of the ruined pyramids rising more than 60 meters, passing the top of the trees, such as Pyramid IV. At its peak, a real city and its remains still offer a fascinating insight into the ingenuity of the Mayans. According to UNESCO, in the abundance of artistic and architectural expressions there are also important symbolic elements, such as the idea that the pyramids were like mountains that defined a universe in which human beings lived with their environment.

The temple of the Great Jaguar in Tikal, Guatemala. The pyramids of this site, recognized by UNESCO, are so high that they exceed the roof of the forest in height. This image was used for a rebel base hidden in A New Hope

Etna, Sicily

Revenge of the Sith (2005)

If several locations of the prequel trilogy have been computer generated, some have been integrated with real shots of places and, in this case, of lava. In 2002 an eruption of the Sicilian volcano was filmed and added to the scene of a duel with lightsabers between Obi Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker in a lava-sprayed scenario.

The Etna during an eruption. When the Sicilian volcano erupted in 2012, a crew of Revenge of the Sith was sent to film the lava flows, which were used as an integration of a largely computer-made scene in which Anakin Skywalker and Obi Wan Kenobi were also located.

The duel with lightsabers, the key scene of Revenge of the Sith (2005) is part of a scene largely computer-rendered but integrated with the images of a true eruption of Etna

Cheatham Grove, California

Return of the Jedi (1983)

To recreate the wooded Moon of Endor, inhabited by those bears called Ewok, a grove of ancient redwoods was used that is located in California. The fastest sequences were shot inside Cheatham Grove, in Crescent City, with nearby Redwood National Park in the background. The latter houses the tallest trees on Earth: some reach a 35-storey building in height. The tallest of all is said to be a 115-meter redwood tree that has been named Hyperion, but the exact location where it is located is secret.

Cheatham Grove, populated by ancient redwoods, is located near Crescent City, California. It was used for chases in Return of the Jedi. Other woods from Redwood National Park were used as a backdrop

Thirlmere and Derwent lakes, Lake District

The awakening of strength (2015)

There was surprise in the UK when the first trailer of The Force Awakened was released, in which a fleet of X-Wing sailed the surface of a lake that seemed strangely familiar. Several imagined that it was the English Lake District. And they were right. Several lakes found in Cumbria National Park were used as the backdrop for scenes, then subjected to different levels of computer enhancement. And yet, even after these works, they continued to resemble unquestionably one of the most loved green places in the United Kingdom. Many other highlands in the Lake District can be identified in the film, including the viewpoints of Raven Crag and Blenchatra.

Thirlmere in the Cumbria Lake District was used – together with nearby Derwent Lake for several aerial scenes in The Force Awakens (2015)

At the top right of this still image of The Force Awakens you can see the wooded peak of Raven crag, in the Lake District (2015)

Como lake, Italy

Attack of the Clones (2002)

The Villa del Balbianello, on the shores of Lake Como, represented a sumptuous royal residence on the planet Naboo. The lake is the deepest in Europe with its 410 meters and the luxurious structure that is on its shore was built in the eighteenth century as a literary retreat. It was then purchased by Count Guido Monzino, traveler and adventurer who among his achievements included being the first Italian to climb Mount Everest. Many of these achievements are commemorated in the Shipping Museum which is located inside the structure. Since the Count’s death in 1988, the villa has been managed by the Italian Environment Fund.


The Villa del Balbianello on the shores of Lake Como, in Italy. Once the home of a blue-blooded adventurer, the villa was used for an important galactic wedding scene in The Attack of the Clones. Today the villa is used for real weddings

Tesco, Elstree

The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

The spiritual home of Star Wars – among many others – is this venerated studio complex located just north of London. Several sets of this structure have been monopolized by the production of the original trilogy but the gigantic Stage 6, completed in 1979, was built specifically to host The Empire Strikes Back, and from there it would have been called by everyone as “the Star Wars studio “. It was dismantled in 1989 and the land sold to a supermarket chain. That’s why the customers of the superstore in Elstree today trample the same ground where the most important indoor scenes of The Empire Strikes Back and The Return of the Jedi were shot. From the parking lot you can see the George Lucas Stage, named after the creator of Star Wars, also the father of the Indiana Jones saga which was also filmed here.

Mark Hamill, George Lucas, Carrie Fisher e Harrison Ford sul set di Elstree del film L’impero colpisce ancora. Uno degli stage è stato costruito appositamente per la produzione del film. Oggi nello stesso luogo c’è un supermercato

by www.travelworld.it source: quotidiano.net