May the ‘fourth’ be with you – who knew what started as a pun could one day become one of the most widely celebrated phenomenon all over the world (Thank you, Social Media!). With the ninth and final installment to the sequel trilogy in line, this Star Wars Day is bound to be special. For generations, the franchise has been showcasing larger than life characters, intergalactic battles, room-illuminating lightsaber duels and some very exquisite locations (our points of interest) from galaxies very far away. Celebrate your favourite moments as we breakdown some very important and visually immersive scenes from the series and the real locations they were shot in.
Star Wars Scenes and their Real Locations:
1. Episode IV: Introduction of Luke Skywalker; Episode VI: Great pit of Carkoon; Episode I: Rise of Anakin Skywalker
Tatooine: Real Locations – Tunisia, & Yuma Desert, Arizona
The year is 1977 and the world is introduced to a young boy in a desert igloo, ready to dive into the face of danger. The sequence depicted the planet Tatooine, famous among Star Wars fans as the home planet of one of the most celebrated protagonists of all times.
Tatooine was a desert planet, filmed mostly in western Tunisia. The small, Berber-speaking town of Matmata is where Luke Skywalker lived with his uncle and aunt. Interestingly, Anakin Skywalker was also discovered here, whose backstory we’re not going to discuss here because of the big reveal. (It’s been 40 years, people!)
The creators also took the liberty of designing the desert Sands of Yuma, Arizona, containing tentacles and a gaping mouth with jagged teeth. This resulted in the creation of the Great pit of Carkoon, inhabited by the infamous Sarlacc from the Return of the Jedi.
2. Episode V: Battle of Hoth; Introduction to AT-ATs
Hoth: Real Location – Hardangerjokulen, Finse, Norway
The famed Battle of Hoth was filmed on the Hardangerjokulen glacier in Norway. The Empire Strikes Back infamously introduced All Terrain Armored Transport Vehicles – AT-ATs (or walking thingies, as Peter likes to call them) as the perfect weaponry for an ice battle.
Surrounded by snow-covered mountains, Finse is a relatively small town of Norway, whose only major claim to fame is the shooting of iconic Hoth scenes in 1979.
3. Episode II: Anakin marries Padme
The secret union of Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala on the planet of Naboo, was actually filmed on the western shore of Lake Como, in the Villa del Balbianello. The Villa is famous for its elaborate terraced gardens and the wedding shot is filmed on one such terrace. The Villa is open to public for exploration (personal weddings can be possible here, too).
The fictitious town of Theed was designed on the Plaza de España of Seville, Spain.
4. Episode III: Obi-Wan vs Anakin Skywalker
Mustafar: Real Location – Mount Etna, Italy
The epic protégé vs mentor duel on the planet Mustafar in Revenge of the Sith was a culmination of shots taken from Mount Etna in Italy.. This intense scene shows Anakin and Obi-Wan battling their ideologies out with the famed lightsaber, while being surrounded by flowing molten lava on all sides.
Mount Etna in Sicily is the largest active volcano in Europe. Conveniently, it erupted during filming, allowing the creator George Lucas to capture the shots of lava and the column of ash which would later be used during production of the scene.
5. Episode VII, VIII: Rey meets Luke; Trains
Ahch-To: Real Location – Skellig Michael, Ireland
Scorching her way through Jakku (Rub’ al Khali desert, UAE), the young jedi from the sequel trilogy, is left perplexed and confused as to her parentage throughout the first half. Seeking out the OG protagonist, she embarks on the island planet of Ahch-To where Luke Skywalker self-exiled himself. By the end of The Force Awakens, Ray visits Luke on the rocky island, filmed beautifully on the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Skellig Michael, Ireland.
The island is also known for the renowned Gaelic Monastery. Located about 7 miles off the southwest coast of Ireland, perched 600 feet above-sea level, the monastery was built by a group of monks in around 600 CE on the larger of the two Skellig Islands. However, for many years to come, Skellig Michael will only be considered by Star Wars devotees as the first place where Rey received her Jedi training.
The creators were so fascinated by the island that one of the most famous inhabitants, the puffins, were recreated as the cute fictional animals, ‘porgs’.
6. Episode VIII: Skywalker faces the First Order
Crait: Real Location – Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The fictional planet of Crait served as the battleground for the First Order’s retaliation on the seemingly abandoned rebel base. Although there were many awe-striking moments, from the arrival of the legendary Millenium Falcon to Luke facing the entire First Order alone, the setting in particular, was mesmerizing. The planet Crait was brought to life using none other than the world’s largest salt flat, Salar de Uyuni!
The Bolivian landscape, spread across around 4,000 square miles and elevated nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, is known for more than just its white expanse. As the rain covers the flat surface, a silvery coating forms above, creating the illusion of what has been described by many as the ‘world’s largest mirror’. With the impeccable reflection of the clear sky on the ground, it is almost impossible to distinguish between the either. A horizon that never ends – could a photographer ask for more?
Episode IV: Rebel Base, Yavin 4.
Yavin 4: Real Locations – Tikal Temple, Guatemala
The rebel base on Yavin 4, the jungle-covered moon of the red gas giant Yavin was filmed in Tikal’s Mayan ruins in Guatemala.
Rogue One: Battle of Scarif, Scarif.
Scarif: Real Locations – Maldivian Islands
Searching for their new alien world on Earth, the visionaries for Rogue One settled on the Maldivian islands of Laamu Atoll, home to pristine beaches and lagoons.
An interesting fact was that the actors portraying villainous Stormtroopers were actually members of the Maldivian army and hopefully as their on-screen characters, they don’t miss.
Episode III, IV, Rogue One
Alderaan: Real Locations – Grindelwald, Switzerland
The scenes of Princess Leia’s home world, Alderaan, were shot on the real location of Grindelwald, Switzerland. Though Alderaan was never fully flaunted, its beauty has been frequently mentioned.
So this 4th of May (intentional), immerse yourself into the grandeur of this epic sci-fi saga and relive some most cherished moments. May the Fourth be with you! (intentional)