A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… George Lucas and his team scouted some incredible filming locations to create the Star Wars universe. And because we’ve been counting down the minutes until the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story premier (patience, young padawan), we rounded up ten dramatic backdrops you can visit in real life.
Laamu Atoll, Maldives
Planet Scarif, introduced in Rogue One would be a tropical paradise, if not for the Imperial forces that have taken it over. If you’ve seen the giant AT-ACT walkers stomping palm trees in the trailer, this is the place. In real life, you can stay in an overwater bungalow at Six Senses Laamu, the only resort on the atoll.
Lake Como, Italy
Whether you love or hate the prequels, it’s hard to deny the beauty of Anakin and Padmé’s Naboo wedding location in Attack of the Clones. The scene was filmed at Villa del Balbianello which dates back to the 12th century. You can tour the property or even host your own destination wedding there.
Phang Nga Bay, Thailand
Through the power of CGI, the iconic limestone karst cliffs in Phang Nga Bay were transformed into Wookie planet Kashyyyk. This is where the epic Battle of Kashyyyk took place in Revenge of the Sith.
The Mayan ruins in Tikal, Guatemala, make brief cameo in A New Hope, when the Millennium Falcon lands at the rebel base on the jungle-covered moon of Yavin. (More scenes were filmed here for Rogue One.) The national park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest excavated site on the American continent.
Skellig Michael, County Kerry, Ireland
The final scene between Rey and Luke in The Force Awakens was a cliffhanger in more ways than one. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is only accessible by boat (weather permitting), with a 714-foot summit and steep drop-offs. (The actors were advised not to look down.) Adventurous types can hike the 600 stone steps to see the village that was once inhabited by monks. The Star Wars crew was spotted filming here in May, so we’re guessing we’ll be seeing more in Episode VIII.
This Middle Eastern country served as the backdrop for many of the scenes on Tatooine in A New Hope and The Phantom Menace. (The fictional planet was named and inspired by the real Tunisian city, Tataouine.) Many of the sets used in the film can still be visited today, including Mos Espa and the homes of Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Hardangerjøkulen Glacier, Norway
What better home for a secret rebel alliance base than an icy glacier? Norway’s sixth largest glacier appears in The Empire Strikes Back as Hoth, one of the most infamous planets in the Star Wars universe, thanks to a tauntaun, a wampa and an awesome battle in the snow.
Del Norte County, California
Just like the prequels, there are mixed feelings about Ewoks and their weird celebration song in Return of the Jedi. But the general consensus is that the Ewok village was definitely cool. The setting for the forest moon of Endor was Del Norte County, California, home to the giant redwoods.
In Attack of the Clones, Anakin and Padmé stroll through Theed, the capital city of Naboo, talking about waterfalls and politics. Bad acting aside, the regal setting is actually the Plaza de España (with some computer enhancements), which was built in 1929 for the World’s Fair.
Death Valley National Park, California
When A New Hope exceeded the filming budget, the producers found a closer-to-Hollywood home for Tatooine. Death Valley is where the scenes were filmed when R2-D2 took a long, lonely stroll and was captured by Bantha-riding Jawas. A brief scene for Return of the Jedi, where R2-D2 and C-3PO walk the road to Jabba’s Place, was also shot here.