By Amanda Little
The wildly popular Star Wars films used a combination green screen, mechanical special effects, and footage of real places to bring other planets to life. They picked some of the most beautiful places to film, so take a trip around our world to visit many others.
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Redwood National and State Parks • California, USA
Trek through the forest moon of Endor, home to the loveable Ewoks. While most well-known shots were filmed on private land and heavy logging has left much of the landscape unrecognizable, you can still find a piece of Endor throughout the national park, especially along Avenue of the Giants Highway and in Grizzly Creek.
Ajim • Island of Djerba, Tunisia
Sit down for a drink in the cantina where Luke and Obi-Wan run into trouble - and stormtroopers. The building was once a bakery and proves a little tricky for fans to find, so look closely while searching! Nearby, however, is Obi-Wan’s home, which is easier to find and actually has stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea. Both of these filming locations are in the port town of Ajim.
Death Valley National Park • California, USA
While many Tatooine scenes were shot in Tunisia, a few important scenes in "A New Hope" and "Return of the Jedi" were filmed in Death Valley. It’s here that Obi-Wan Kenobi meets Luke Skywalker, C-3PO, and R2-D2 for the first time in "A New Hope," and Twenty Mule Team Canyon was used to film C-3PO and R2-D2’s journey to Jabba’s palace.
La Grande Dune • Nefta, Tunisia
The exterior of Luke’s childhood home was actually almost 200 miles away, resting in the dried-up salt lake Chott El Jerid. The igloo which makes up the outside was dismantled after the movie in 1977, but like the interior, re-assembled in 2000 for Attack of the Clones, and restored by a fan later. About 30 minutes from the igloo is Mos Espa, the spaceport town where Anakin started out as a slave.
Krafla • Iceland
Stop by Krafla, an active volcano in northern Iceland, to visit Eadu from "Rogue One." This amazing spot has made it to the silver screen more than once! The steamy crater near Lake Myvatn, warmed by a powerful geothermal energy source, also made a cameo in HBO's "Game of Thrones."
Buttercup Valley • Yuma Desert, Arizona
Skip down to Buttercup Valley to enter the horrific Great Pit if Carkoon, where Jabba feeds the sarlacc prisoners in Return of the Jedi. Filmed in Arizona instead of Tunisia, the sail barge was built there and then surrounded by fences to keep wayward fans out. While they didn’t blow up the barge there, fans still visit and scour the area for pieces of the set left behind.
Canary Wharf Station • London, England
The commute through London’s already crowded metro system would only be aggravated by the Galactic Empire trying to take over. You can see Canary Wharf station in "Rogue One," where it serves as an Imperial Base. Sitting in London’s financial district and composed of steel, glass, and concrete, this was a perfect place to be filled with stormtroopers and “relocated” to the Scarif.
Hardangerjøkulen Glacier • Finse, Norway
Pack your parka and visit the ice-crusted world of Hoth in much easier-to-reach Finse, Norway. Some snowstorm scenes were shot simply from the backdoor of the hotel the cast and crew stayed in, but the battlefield scene took place on the nearby glacier. In Finse, you’ll find snow all the way into April, clear skies, and the location of the Rebel Alliance’s Echo Base. Asnowstorm hit during filming in 1979, creating the perfect atmosphere for Luke’s escape from the Wampa cave and his meeting with the spirit of Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Plaza de Espana • Seville, Spain
Padme and Anakin arrive in the plaza outside the palace in Theed in "Attack of the Clones" and the "Phantom Menace," but those scene were actually shot in the half-circle Plaza de Espana in Seville, Spain. The actual plaza is ringed by a moat with four bridges, but they expanded the plaza into a full circle for the movies, and added in the towers and green domes of Naboo.
Whippendell Woods • Hertfordshire, England
Wander through Whippendell Woods while searching for the charmingly blundering Jar Jar Binks. In the "Phantom Menace," the Whippendell Woods become the forest of Naboo, where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn first run into Jar Jar. Jar Jar and his kind treat the woods as a sacred space, but you won’t find any lake leading to the home of the Gungans. That was all movie magic.
Skellig Michael • County Kerry, Ireland
Finding Skellig Michael isn’t too hard, however arriving on Skellig Michael is a little tricky. This island off the coast of Ireland in County Kerry has steep sides and sits in ferocious sea. Clinging to its surface is a seventh-century monastery, where Luke may have been hiding all of these years. It’s here that Rey dramatically arrives to return Luke’s lightsaber in "The Force Awakens."
Villa del Balbianello • Lenno, Italy
Find cover like Anakin and Padme did in "Attack of the Clones" along Lake Como in Italy, where Villa del Balbianello looks out over the water. The villa was built in 1787 and is a popular place for weddings because of the palace nearby, making it no surprise when Anakin and Padme return to it for their own wedding. The villa is so beautiful, it also housed James Bond for a short while in Casino Royale.
Phang Nga Bay • Phuket, Thailand
Visit Chewbacca’s home planet Kashyyyk, a beautifully lush planet Start Wars fans get to see in "Revenge of the Sith." Head to Thailand, and more specifically, the island of Phuket. Some shots were edited together with shots of Guilin in China as well. But the beautiful island vibe comes from the stunning coastline of Phuket. Keep an eye out for the Wookies while visiting!
Palace of Caserta • Caserta, Italy
The Palace of Caserta became a safe haven for Padme and Anakin. It overlooks the lake with Villa del Balbainello, and served as a monastery before it was turned over to the National Trust of Italy in 1988. It is the palace that Anakin and Padme get married at the end of "Attack of the Clones."
Abu Dhabi • United Arab Emirates
Leave the powerful and modern city of Abu Dhabi behind in favor of its desert, Star Wars fans. "The Force Awakens" was filmed in the United Arab Emirates instead of Tunisia’s deserts, and the rolling expanse of dunes make up the planet Jakku under J.J. Abrams’ direction.
Wadi Rum • Jordan
In the Middle East, the sandy country of Jordan provided the perfect setting for the moon Jedha in "Rogue One." The expanse of Wadi Rum covers the southern part of the country and becomes the spiritual home of the Jedi. This desert also was used as the setting in "The Martian with Matt Damon.
Grindelwald • Switzerland
While many scenes from "Attack of the Clones" and Revenge of the Sith were shot in a studio in Australia using green screen, George Lucas would send crews to capture scenery in specific locations around the world to use as plates. One of the amazing shots that made it into the "Revenge of the Sith" was Grindelwald, a stunning mountain range that composed Princess Leia’s homeworld, Alderaan.
Mayan Ruins • Tikal National Park, Guatemala
The Rebel Alliance’s Massassi outpost on Yavin’s fourth moon go way back. The thousand-year-old Mayan Ruins make these scenes from "A New Hope" stunning as the second and third temples reach up over the canopy of the jungle. Stories about filming say the site was chosen when Lucas saw the Mayan ruins on a poster while filming in London.
Hotel Sidi Driss • Matmata, Tunisia
Visit the centuries-old underground structures built by the Berbers, which became the interior of Luke Skywalkers childhood home. Eventually it became a hotel, which was used in the first Star Wars film and again in "Attack of the Clones." Since then, the sets have remained so you can still eat at the table where young Luke did and sleep in the in one of the five pits that are very similar to the film set. Unsurprisingly, the hotel earned the nickname “Star Wars Hotel.”
Mount Etna • Italy
While the bowels of Mount Etna weren’t available for Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin’s battle in Revenge of the Sith, the slopes of Italy’s most active volcano were used as a plate for those heart-wrenching scenes. The scenes weren’t actually shot on the volcano, because Mount Etna was actually erupting during filming. Lucas did send the crew down to capture footage of flowing lava.