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Desolate Locations That are in the Star Wars Movies

Darko Nanevski

Following the excitement surrounding the premiere of the new trailer for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the series’ recent 40th-anniversary celebration in Orlando, Florida.

We think it’s time to revisit the most beautiful and exotic locations used for the filming of the Star Wars saga. These places, many of which are in Tunisia, were responsible for creating the aesthetic of the Star Wars films.

The following are some of the most notable places on Earth that evoke a galaxy far, far away.

Ajim, Island of Djerba

Abandoned house in Port Ajim on the island of Djerba, and the iconic Mos Eisley Cantina. Author: Stefan Krasowski CC BY 2.0 

Abandoned house in Port Ajim on the island of Djerba, and the iconic Mos Eisley Cantina. Author: Stefan Krasowski CC BY 2.0 

Ajim is a port town on the island of Djerba, off the coast of Tunisia. This place is legendary in the Star Wars canon. It doubled as Mos Eisley, the spaceport town on the planet of Tatooine in the fictional Star Wars universe.

This is the place where Luke and Obi-Wan meet Han Solo for the first time and the rough exterior of the Mos Eisley Cantina Bar is still there.

Actually a beach house, “So what I told you was true…from a certain point of view.” (Star Wars). Author:Stefan Krasowski CC BY 2.0 

Actually a beach house, “So what I told you was true…from a certain point of view.” (Star Wars). Author:Stefan Krasowski CC BY 2.0 

An old mosque located outside of town was used as an exterior for Ben Kenobi’s house. The places are open to the public, and tourists and fans are always eager to see them.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley. Author: specchio.nero CC BY-SA 2.0

Death Valley. Author: specchio.nero CC BY-SA 2.0

This national park, located east of the Sierra Nevada, is the hottest, driest, and lowest area of North America. It was also used to represent the planet of Tatooine in some scenes.

Dante’s View, Devil Golf Course, salt shoreline

Dante’s View, Devil Golf Course, salt shoreline

The rocky canyons were the home of the Jawas and the Sand People. Dante’s View was a notable viewpoint for the panoramic shots of Mos Eisley.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.Author: sodai gomi CC BY 2.0

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.Author: sodai gomi CC BY 2.0

Perhaps the most memorable of the California locations were the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. It was used for a scene in A New Hope when R2D2 and C3PO go their separate ways after crash-landing on Tatooine.

Tikal, Guatemala

The remains of the ancient Mayan temple complex were stand-ins for the Yavin IV Rebel Base, where the surrounding jungle can also be seen.

The main plaza during winter solstice celebrations. Author: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen CC BY-SA 3.0

The main plaza during winter solstice celebrations. Author: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen CC BY-SA 3.0

The most iconic shot is when the Millennium Falcon lands at the Rebel base, passing by the real-life Mayan ruins.

Hardangerjøkulen glacier, Norway

Hardangerjøkulen is the sixth largest glacier in mainland Norway and is located in Eidfjord and Ulvik municipalities. Author: Smtunli CC BY-SA 3.0.

Hardangerjøkulen is the sixth largest glacier in mainland Norway and is located in Eidfjord and Ulvik municipalities. Author: Smtunli CC BY-SA 3.0
.

In The Empire Strikes Back, part of the film’s setting takes place on a desolate ice planet Hoth, including a lengthy action sequence.

And for the purposes of filming those scenes, the crew needed something to convey that atmosphere. They found that in Norway. The Hardangerjøkulen glacier was the setting for the Battle of Hoth, which introduced the AT-AT imperial walkers.

Grindelwald, Switzerland

Grindelwald from above. Author: CC BY-SA 3.0 CC BY-SA 3.0

Grindelwald from above. Author: CC BY-SA 3.0 CC BY-SA 3.0

Grindelwald is a municipality in the Berne canton in Switzerland. The village is located at 3,392 feet above sea level in the Bernese Alps. The snowy peaks near the village served as the backdrop for the planet Alderaan, Leia’s home that was destroyed by the Death Star.

Del Norte County, California

Del Norte County Stout Grove State Park.Author: Ray Bouknight CC BY 2.0

Del Norte County Stout Grove State Park.Author: Ray Bouknight CC BY 2.0

Return of the Jedi is the Star Wars movie that is mostly filmed in the US. The forest in Del Norte County was used for the setting of the Battle of Endor and the home of the Ewoks.

Palace of Caserta and Villa del Balbianello, Italy

Main façade of the palace 

Main façade of the palace 

 

The Villa del Balbianello.Author: MarkusMark  CC BY-SA 3.0

The Villa del Balbianello.Author: MarkusMark  CC BY-SA 3.0

These two places were featured in scenes from the prequels. The Royal Caserta palace was a stand-in for Queen Amidala’s palace on planet Naboo. The Villa del Balbianello was the setting of Anakin and Amidala’s wedding ceremony.

Puzzlewood, Forest of Dean, UK

Moss-covered rocks in Puzzlewood Forest. Author:Trubble CC BY-SA 2.0

Moss-covered rocks in Puzzlewood Forest. Author:Trubble CC BY-SA 2.0

The latest film in the saga, The Force Awakens introduced new planets and places to the Star Wars films. Therefore, new filming locations were needed. The mysterious and magical Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean was used as the Earth substitute for the planet Takadana. The most notable scene that took place in there was the first encounter between Rey and Kylo Ren.

Matmata, Tunisia

Hotel Sidi Driss, Matmata. Author:  Acarvin CC BY-SA 2.5 

Hotel Sidi Driss, Matmata. Author:  Acarvin CC BY-SA 2.5 

The first film in the franchise, A New Hope, was set more than any of the other films in Tunisian locations. It gave the movie an authentic feel, even if it is essentially a space opera. And this place is no different. The now-legendary Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata is the set of the subterranean Lars moisture farm on Tatooine where Luke Skywalker was raised by his uncle Owen and aunt Beru.

Skellig Michael island, Ireland 

The Skellig Michael island. Author: Jerzy Strzelecki CC BY-SA 3.0 

The Skellig Michael island. Author: Jerzy Strzelecki CC BY-SA 3.0 

Finally, the location where the last scene of The Force Awakens was filmed that will undoubtedly play a big part in the next film, The Last Jedi. Skellig Michael holds the remains of a sixth-century Christian monastery where Luke and Rey meet for the first time and is the film setting of the ancient Jedi temple where Rey will train to become a Jedi.