To keep fans and paparazzi off their trail, crew members of the new Star Wars film, The Last Jedi, referred to the movie as Space Bear.
But now that the movie it out in theaters nationwide, producers are starting to confirm the real-life locations where the movie was filmed.
I don’t know if you’re as excited about The Last Jedi, as I am, but I hope you are. Because in this episode we’re going to explore some of The Last Jedi’s filming locations, and how you can visit them for yourself. Click play above to listen or keeping reading below:
Our first and the easiest filming location to recognize is the iconic Skellig Michael island in western Ireland.
This towering sea crag is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that juts steep out of the ocean. In the Star Wars franchise it represents Ahch-To, a fictional planet that is covered almost entirely by water. Here is where Star Wars character Rey, accompanied by R2-D2 and Chewbacca, traveled to in search of the reclusive Jedi, Luke Skywalker.
You get a short glimpse of the island in the last scene of The Force Awakens, which came out in 2015.
The real-life Skellig Micheal had actually been inhabited by reclusive monks for hundreds of years. This monastic site dates back to the year 588 and several stone structures called beehive huts are still remarkably intact.
The island was abandoned in the twelfth century but is still home to an abundance of Puffins.
If you want to see the site yourself, you have to go between May and September. The ferry ride takes about 45 minutes to reach the base of the island and to reach the top you’ll have to climb 600 steep and slippery steps, without any guardrails.
The stones structures and remote location made it the perfect atmosphere for the reclusive Luke Skywalker to call home.
But the production crew faced a lot of restrictions during filming around the 1,400-year-old structures.
To get around this, they recreated the entire monastic settlement on mainland Ireland.
The replica was built on a golf course in the Dingle Peninsula, of western Ireland. The intricate structure consists of eight stone beehive huts, right above a dramatic cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
The closest you can get to the site is probably with playing a round of golf at the Dingle Golf Club for anywhere between 30 and 75 Euros.
The second scene in the official trailer for The Last Jedi shows massive vehicles that look like Imperial Walkers in a white-sand desert.
In the latest film, these vehicles are the updated AT-M6 Imperial Walkers and made to look even more menacing than their predecessor. You might have also noticed that the scene was filmed in the world’s largest salt flat: the Salar de Uyuni, in Bolivia.
The flats represent the fictional planet of Crait, a red mineral world covered with a layer of white salt. It’s the home of an old Rebel Alliance Base, and hosts an incredible battle scene involving villain Kylo Ren, in the upcoming movie.
The real-life salt flat is nearly 12,000 feet above sea level, and located in the Daniel Campos Province of Bolivia. National Geographic considers it one of the most extreme and remarkable places in South America. The flats cover more than 4,000 square miles and is home to the only hotel made completely out of salt blocks.
Traveling here is difficult, which makes it an ideal spot for filming a blockbuster movie in secret.
It’s also rumored that parts of the battle scene on the fictional salt planet were also filmed in the US.
The Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, is home to the Bonneville Speedway, an area of the flats that are marked out for motor sports. The smooth even surface is perfect for racing and breaking land speed records, which is the highest speed achieved by a person in a vehicle on land.
The flats are open to the public year round and it’s conveniently located an hour and a half drive west of Salt Lake City.
Filming Star Wars in remote areas were easier to keep under wraps than in busy city streets. But scenes that require a more urban feel are much harder to pull off in secret. Here’s where the name Space Bear came into use.
The Mediterranean city of Dubrovnik, Croatia was the site of filming for several scenes in the Last Jedi.
The Medieval European city depicts the desert city Canto Bight in The Last Jedi. This fictional place is known for its casinos and lavish wealth.
It’s really cool how they actually transformed Stradun Street, one of the main streets in Dubrovnik. The original buildings here are built with tan and light brownstone. So to make the scenes appear like they weren’t filmed on Earth, the production team added round stone doorways with futuristic lights to many of the entryways.
The outside walls were fitted with stone features that look completely alien.
With about five days of shooting, the crew filmed what they were telling locals was Space Bear, in various sites throughout Dubrovnik.
The scenes depicted here is also where Carrie Fisher’s dog Gary Fisher, supposedly makes a cameo appearance.
Dubrovnik is one of the most beautiful small cities in Europe. The easiest way to get there is to fly directly into the city’s airport. Round trip tickets from New York are going for under $600.
Star Wars, the Last Jedi comes out on December 15th.
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