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Anxiously waiting for the release of The Rise of the Skywalker? We've found some real-life destinations that feature in the Star War films to visit in the meantime
In a galaxy that perhaps isn't so far away after all...
We've got good news for all the Star Wars fans out there: you don't have to travel to a galaxy far, far away to be able to visit some of the film's most iconic alien locations! Although CGI certainly played its role in many out of space scenes throughout the franchise, there are some that were filmed right here on Earth. Ahead of the final episode of the Skywalker saga releasing in December, take a look at our list of destinations from the films that you can actually visit.
Death Valley, California
From Tunisia to Abu Dhabi, the Star Wars filming crew have travelled to desert nations all over the world to try and capture the desolate landscape of Taotonie, home of Luke Skywalker. Yet they also found inspiration not far from their studios with some of the outdoor shots filmed among the rocky canyons of Death Valley in California. The panoramic view from Dante's Peak in Death Valley looking out towards the Panamint Mountains, considered to be one of the most inhospitable places in the whole world, appears in A New Hope. Twenty Mule Team Canyon in was the backdrop for scenes in Return of the Jedi where C-3PO and R2-D2 travelled to Jabba the Hutt's palace.
Skelling Michael, Ireland
Board a boat from the village of Portmagee in Ireland and sail to the island of Skellig Michael, the filming location for Luke Skywalker's self-exile in The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Skellig Michael was originally the destination for a group of ascetic monks between the sixth and eight centuries who, much like Skywalker, made the decision to completely withdraw from civilisation to the remote island. There may be no adorable porgs on the island in real-life, but you may spot a puffin or two! Being the most important spot in all of Ireland for breeding seabirds both in terms of diversity and colony size, these towering sea crags are perfect for avid birdwatchers to spot some rare and interesting species unique to the island.
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, California
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park in California is just one of the many forests that parts of the Star Wars franchise were filmed in. Yet the cluster of trees in the cathedral-like Cheatham Grove are perhaps the most iconic as they featured in the famous speeder bike chase on the Forest Moon of Endor, home of the furry and endearing Ewoks, in the film Return of the Jedi. Close to director George Lucas's own home at Skywalker Ranch, the park is far off the beaten track with great secluded campsites from which you can enjoy the surrounding towering redwoods. There are also plenty of opportunities along the winding Van Duzen River for fishing and even swimming in the warmer months.
Laamu Atoll, Maldives
Scenes on Scarif, a remote tropical planet in the Outer Rim in the Star Wars universe, were filmed at the islands of Laamu Atoll. A tropical paradise situated in the Maldives, Scarif too is a paradise world - that is, until it becomes the battlefield during the climax of Star Wars spin-off Rogue One. Explosions were filmed safely back in a studio in London whereas the heart-pounding chase scenes from inside the Imperial Security Complex on Scarif were mostly filmed at Canary Wharf Underground Station between the hours of midnight and 4am when its doors were shut to travellers. Yet we guarantee that your trip to paradise will not be overshadowed by the presence of a major Imperial military installation and instead you will be able to enjoy Laamu Atoll's sandy white beaches in peace and quiet.