The Star Wars universe is enormous, and there’s so much more you can learn about the films, their shooting locations, and what happened there.
Being a fan is serious business, because we spend a lot of time learning more about what we love, until it becomes a part of our identity. Of course, there are some obnoxious fans out there, like the kind of person that asks you to list a director’s filmography in order of importance to prove that you really admire his work (and to tell you that his most famous movie is the most overrated one). But the positive side of being an unabashed geek is the openness with which we allow ourselves to express our genuine love for something. The Star Wars franchise, for instance, has one of the biggest fandoms in the world. If you’re a part of it, you know that sharing your enthusiasm for something with a lot of people is more fun than congratulating yourself for being the only person that knows an obscure experimental film from former Czechoslovakia.
Being a Star Wars fan comes with some privileges, one of them being the fact that the Star Wars universe is enormous, and you’ll never run out of things to discover about the films and its universe. So maybe you’re the kind of fan that obsesses over seemingly small but significant details about the plot (like the “Han shot first” controversy), or perhaps you simply enjoy the movies and move on with your life after watching them. In any case, there’s so much more you can learn about the films, their shooting locations, and what happened there by visiting the mind-bending places where iconic scenes take place.
The memorable scene when Obi-Wan Kenobi says, “These are not the droids you’re looking for” was filmed in Djerba. If you decide to take a trip to this Tunisian island, you’ll see visit the Mos Eisley spaceport, where Han Solo meets Obi-wan and Luke for the first time in Episode IV: A New Hope. The scenes that were recorded there have an immense cultural impact, and you can visit the island to deepen your experience of the first Star Wars film.
This astounding place will make you fantasize about traveling to an otherwordly setting, worthy of a galaxy far, far away, here on Earth. A scene from Episode III: Revenge of The Sith was filmed in Guilin, where the surreal karst mountains enhance the atmosphere for the Wookiee planet, Kashyyyk.
Wadi Rum, Jordan.
Sadly, we cannot go to Mars yet. We can hope for radical technological advances to help us go there during our lifetime, but we have to be patient. If you don’t think you’ll ever be able to set foot on Mars, go to Wadi Rum, in the Jordan desert. The photographs of this place look similar to the pictures taken by Curiosity, the rover that explores and captures images of Mars since 2012. It became the location for The Force Awakens (and, predictably, the main location for The Martian).
Skellig Islands, Ireland.
The Force Awakens’ epic final scene was filmed in the Skellig Islands. To film this part of the movie, a no-fly zone was established to keep gossipy journalists from leaking and spreading spoilers about the ending. You can go there with a friend to reenact the moment Rey meets Luke and take some amazing pictures, but it’s a pretty inhospitable place, so be careful.
Star Wars’ portrayal of time is probably the most interesting aspect of the films (the whole story happened in the past, you know?). So an ancient site like the Mayan temple of Tikal is a wonderful choice among the futuristic esthetic that most sci-fi films are supposed to have. The temple gives the Yavin IV Rebel Base (of the 1977 film) an anachronistic look, which successfully evades the esthetic of science fiction movies that, thanks to repetition, may look pretty old by now.
Matmata is the setting for Tatooine in Episode IV: A New Hope. On a dangerously hilarious note, Star Wars almost started an actual war during the shooting in Tunisia. The Libyan government had to ask George Lucas to remove the “massive military vehicle” (the Jawa sandcrawler) from the border because they were receiving threats of retaliation. If you plan to take a tour through Star Wars’ shooting locations, try not to start any fuss while doing so.
Scenes from Rogue One were filmed in Iceland. By now we know that a lot of places on Earth look quite otherworldly, but Icelandic landscapes definitely have something that attracts the producers of sci-fi films. This Nordic island has also been the chosen location for movies like Interstellar and Prometheus. So if you’re a fan of all these films, Iceland is an obvious choice for your travels as a movie buff.
Sometimes, to truly appreciate something we already love, we need to take a deep dive into it in multiple ways. You can stay home and read plenty of curious facts and anecdotes about the filming process of the Star Wars movies, or you can leave your house and do the same thing while standing right there, where the iconic scenes were filmed.
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