A galaxy not so far, far away
17th December 2015 is a date that many around the world have marked in their diary… 38 years after the first film in George Lucas’ space opera stunned global audiences, we’re on the cusp of being able to experience a new trilogy in the series. The rights may have passed to Disney but what we’ve seen from the trailers and TV spots seems to show that J.J. Abrams, noted for his sci-fi work on projects like the new Star Trek films and acclaimed TV series Lost, may well have captured the flavour of the beloved original trilogy.
The Star Wars universe is one filled with diverse planets, star-system spanning cultures and amazing sights – from the lava rivers of Mustafar to the rolling oceans of stormy Kamino and the bleak deserts of Tatooine. Star Wars: The Force Awakens carries on the tradition of showcasing sweeping landscapes with lots of on-location filming. Thus, there are plenty of places for fans to visit and imagine the grand scenes that take place there as well as explore and appreciate as fantastic locales in their own right.
With the release of the seventh edition of the series nearing, who can blame the Flexicover Teams for engaging in some Star Wars related wanderlust!
One of the largest Mayan ruins still in existence, this World Heritage Site and ancient capital lies in northern Guatemala. It was used for the Rebel Alliance military base on the fourth moon of Yavin in Episode IV: A New Hope (or just Star Wars, to those who remember the original theatrical release). Most memorable is the arrival of the Millennium Falcon with a Rebel guard tracking the ship over the forest canopy as it comes in. To see this breathtaking view for yourself, climb Temple IV, the tallest remaining Mesoamerican structure, to survey the complex of pyramids, monuments and solar observatories that marked a thriving civilisation.
There’s probably no better location to star as the forest moon of Endor (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi) than the stunning Redwood State Parks on the northern Californian coast. These parks are home to the largest and tallest trees in the world, the Giant Redwood and the slightly smaller Giant Sequoias. Dedicated Star Wars fans spend hours exploring these serene woods to find out where scenes from the movie were shot. Though we can’t promise any Ewoks, and, thankfully, no hostile imperials on speeder bikes, the Save the Redwoods League celebrates Star Wars Day (4th May) with hikes through this gorgeous wilderness
The beginning of Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back sees the Rebel Alliance holed up in Echo Base on the icy planet of Hoth, leading to an epic battle featuring snow speeders and the now iconic AT-ATs. For this desolate ice planet, the location managers sought a remote, frozen place and settled on a little mountain town about 290km north-west of Oslo. Located high in snow-covered mountains, Finse is home to Norway’s highest train station – 1,222m above sea level – so there’s no need to stowaway on a Star Destroyer to get there. Simply get off the train on your way to Bergen and explore a snowy realm and the frozen lake Finsevatnet that’s very popular with outdoors folk.
Lake Como, Italy
The Villa Del Balbianello is a stunning lake retreat overlooking Lake Como, one of Europe’s deepest lakes, in northern Italy. Showcased in Episode II: Attack of the Clones, this was the villa on Naboo where Anakin and Padme hid while Obi-Wan Kenobi tracked down an assassin and where the two finally get married in secret at the end of the film. The villa itself is open to the public (except in winter) and can be reached by boat from Lenno or nearby Sala Comacina. Or you can walk from Lenno to take in the magnificent lakeside views and the alpine backdrops which were a favourite of poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. It’s also a great place for relaxing with spas and sailing a-plenty.
The Wookies are one of the most recognisable and formidable races in the Star Wars universe, standing 2.1m tall on average and, as such, their tropical forested home world needed an imposing background. The stunning limestone Karst Mountains served perfectly as the otherworldly backdrop to Chewbacca’s stomping ground in Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Interestingly no principal photography took place here; instead the producers took plate photographs of the area that were used to really bring the planet of Kashyyyk alive. These mountains and caves are a leading tourist destination and some inscriptions on the cave walls date back to 729CE in the Tang Dynasty.
As for the new film, some of the shooting locations are already known. Greenham Common, Abu Dhabi, Krafla Volcano and Skellig Michael are rich, new additions to the Star Wars atlas. Though it’s not clear what scenes were shot here yet, there’s fun to be had hazarding a guess before the movie releases!
Wherever you are planning your own adventure and excitement, remember that we at Flexicover are committed to providing you with the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.
“May the Force be with you.”