Star Wars has a long list of unworldly and alien planets, and the list of real-world locations where they shot these scenes is equally impressive. I did a Star Wars thing there. Location shooting adds a level of depth that you just can’t quite get on a sound stage. I would have butchered many of these names if I had to pronounce them. Let’s look at some original trilogy filming locations.
Star Wars films need no introduction, and even if you have seen the movie, you know at least something about it. But for those who lived in a cave and do not know about Star Wars, first of all, what’s wrong with you?
Star Wars shows us the story of the Galaxy Far Far Away. Mainly, we see Luke Skywalker as he teams up with the rebels to fight against the Dark villain named Darth Vader. During this journey, we see an adventure filled with space fights and lightsabers and “I AM YOUR FATHER.”
Star Wars Filming Location
There are a lot of movies and TV shows in the Star Wars franchise, but we will stick to the OG one and talk about the filming Locations of the First Six Star Wars movies, from Star Wars Episode IV to VI and then from the prequel movie Star Wars Episode I to III.
Now, Star Wars was filmed on both Sound Stages and real locations. We will mostly talk about the Star Wars real filming locations and how you can visit these places if you want to experience the Saga to the fullest.
A New Hope Filming Location
The first stop is Tunisia, which you know as Tatooine. Follow in R2-D2’s footsteps and travel to Sidi Bouhlel. This rocky canyon is home to some iconic scenes. To stay in theme, lunch at Hotel Du Lac in Tunis. The resemblance between this building and the Jawa Sandcrawler is just too much to be a coincidence.
A lot of the Tatooine shots were filmed in Tunisia. There was this Mos Eisley cantina that was shot at Ajim on the island of Djerba, off the coast of Tunisia. You’ll recall one of the buildings from the deleted scene with Luke and Biggs at the Tosche station.
We also have Obi-Wan Kenobi’s house, located on Djerba’s island. Then, there is the exterior of the Lars homestead. It’s located at Chotte El Jarid on the West side of central Tunisia, near Algeria. Since the interior shots were filmed at a different location, the production crew had to dig big craters to make it look like the property went below ground.
The Lars homestead’s interior can also be seen there in Tunisia. It’s a hotel that’s been open since 1969. It’s called the Sidi El Driss Hotel in Matmata, Tunisia. You can spend the night in Luke Skywalker’s house for about ten bucks.
Then, there is the spot where Tusken Raiders attacked Luke. It’s a narrow gorge surrounded by 200 feet of Cliff walls. This location was also used in the Raiders of the Lost Ark scene.
Death Valley & Yavin 4
While some of Tattooine was filmed in Tunisia, Death Valley in California played a huge role. You’ll recognize the scene from when R2 is rolling through the Canyon and eventually gets interrupted by some Jawas. Some of Tattooine’s scenes were filmed in Death Valley, in A New Hope and Return to the Jedi.
Yavin 4 was filmed at Call National Park in Guatemala. The National Park is the site of an ancient Mayan citadel that flourished between 200 and 850 AD. The highest temp is known as Temple 4, and if you get to the top of Temple 4, you get this classic view from Yavin 4.
The Empire Strikes Back Filming Location
The Empire Strikes Back only had one filming location that you could visit. Everything else was done in a studio. Tikal is one of the largest ancient main cities and is home to Massassi temples. Fly to the small town of Finse in Norway, which you know as the planet Hoth. During filming, both the cast and crew stayed at the Finse Hotel, and because of harsh conditions, scenes were filmed just outside of the hotel.
For the real adventurer, take a guide or a Tauntaun and head out into the snow to see the Hoth battlefield and the Probot landing site. For the backdrop of Hoth, the production team used the enormous, and I don’t think I can ever pronounce this. It’s Hardangerøkulen Glacier and Finse Norway. To get to the location, it is a four-and-a-half-hour train ride from the capital, Oslo.
While filming the scenes for the movie, the Crew was hit with the area’s worst winter storm in 50 years. Finse is located in a National Park and requires both a guide and a permit to visit due to the dangerous terrain. There are numerous specific locations that you can check out, and you can also get an official travel guide from the Star Wars website.
Return to the Jedi Filming Location
Instead of returning to Tunisia for Tatooine shots, the crew went to Buttercup Valley and the Yuma Desert. This is where the Sarlac pit scenes were filmed. The forest moon indoor was shot at Redwood National State Parks. Many of the shots were taken in Marin County in multiple Redwood Groves. Specifically, scenes were shot at Grizzly Creek, Redwood State Park.
What I’ve heard from people who have attempted to find this specific location is that it can be difficult to pinpoint exact spots. But I have heard that if you’re going to hunt for a location, your best bet is finding Owen R.
Cheatham Grove in Grizzly Creek, Redwood State Park. Grizzly Creek and Humboldt State Park in Crescent City, California, both locations were used as backgrounds for the iconic speeder bike chase.
Star Wars Prequel Movie Filming Locations
You can also travel through some Star Wars Prequel Movie Filming Locations. Here’s where you should go. – Mesa called Jar Jar Binks. The first stop is Spain, Seville, for the Plaza de Espana.
This beautiful plaza was used to portray the city of Theed on Naboo, home of Queen Amidala. Blast off to Italy to visit the Palace of Caserta, which you might know as the Royal Palace of Naboo. Walk up the giant staircase, and you’ll find yourself in the throne room.
While you’re in Italy and in a romantic mood, take a loved one to Villa Balbianello in Lenno. It was here that Anakin used his most iconic pickup lines on Amidala. – I don’t like sand. Fly to Chott el Jerid in Tunisia to visit the last family homestead set, Luke Skywalker’s home.
The original 1977 set was removed after filming, but in 2000, the set was rebuilt using the original specifications for Attack of the Clones. Venture to the lower levels of the Sidi Driss Hotel in Matmata to dine in Luke’s dining room. And while you’re at it, grab a drink at the Star Wars-themed bar. While in Tunisia, visit the Ksar of Medenine to see the exteriors used for Anakin Skywalker’s home.
The next stop is the snowy mountains of Grindelwald in Switzerland and Mount Etna in Italy. The mountains and the erupting Etna were used as backgrounds of Alderaan and Mustafar. But, if you want to see the most iconic locations of the Star Wars prequels, you’d better take a visit to your local green screen studio.
The Star Wars Travel Guide
There’s a ton of information out there about these locations, and even more locations, extremely specific locations. I just wanted to give a brief overview, a little glance, and what’s neat is that these locations can be traveled to. The official Star Wars website ran multiple articles back in 2004 called Galactic Backpacking.
Each article talks about in-depth locations you can travel to, how to get there, exact GPS coordinates, lodging, and what you can do while you’re there. If you’re considering visiting one of these many Star Wars filming locations, I would follow their guidance.