Perhaps more importantly, where has Star Wars BEEN this time around? Filming has been taking place in exotic locations around the globe and if you are in the mood there is no reason why you shouldn’t visit one of them yourself. If you are a real diehard fan, you might want to visit all of them.
The plot of Star Wars: Rogue One centres around Jyn Erso, played by Felicity Jones as the daughter of Galen Erso, who, as a leader of the Rebels, is seeking to steal the plans for the Death Star. This ties in very neatly with the scene in the follow-up A New Dawn where Princess Leia hides the plans in the droid R2-D2 before she is captured by Darth Vader. We are not going to spoil the story here by giving you all of the details, but merely show you some of the real – and incredible – places on earth where filming took place, and which you might wish to see.
Scarif is a tropical planet which is the place selected by the Empire to build the Death Star. In addition, it is the scene of a bloody battle on the beach involving many storm troopers.
In reality, Scarif is on Laamu Atoll in the Maldives, deep in the Indian Ocean. What a place for a holiday in the sun! Six Senses Laamu is a holiday resort consisting of wooden villas both on land, and in the lagoon on stilts. Here there is a spa, a fitness centre (just about every resort seems to have one these days), an on-site dive centre, restaurants serving Mediterranean style foods using organic ingredients, a pizza place, and a choice of various different Chinese foods. If you are in a sporting mood you can take a fishing trip, but if not you can just laze around on a sun lounger on the white sands of the beaches.
Tikal, Guatemala, is thought to represent the green moon of Yavin lV which is the base of the Rebels in A New Hope. In Rogue One it is not specifically mentioned as being the same place, but it seems identical. Tikal is an ancient Mayan city dating from the 4th century BC and has a temple rising 150’ into the sky, deep in the jungle.
Stay at neighbouring Flores where a minibus will pick you up from your hotel and take you on a guided tour. Tikal has a visitor centre, rest rooms, gift shops, and even a post office. But beware: there are no ATM’s, so make certain that you have sufficient cash for a day out.
This small moon is now occupied by the Galactic Empire, but used to be a place where followers of The Force would make a pilgrimage in much the same way as present day worshippers do to Mecca.
In reality, it is located in Jordan where you can float on the surface of the Dead Sea even if you cannot swim, so salty is it. Visit the city of Accra where you can see the citadel which is one of the longest continuously inhabited places on earth, and even today has sites which have not been excavated.
You can go into the desert and spend a night under the stars with the Bedouin. Visit the ancient city of Petra where the buildings are half cut into the rock. Check out the well-preserved Roman ruins of Jerash. Jordan takes you way back in time, yet the locals are friendly, and the country is perhaps one of the safest in the Middle East.
This is the planet where Jyn Erso spent time with her father when she was a child, and may be her home planet. It is also where, as an adult, she returns to try to find Galen and discover what he knows about the plans for the Death Star.
It is actually in Iceland in the far south of the country at Myrdalssandur, near the village of Vik i Myrdal. Stay in the capital city or Reykjavik. Visit the geothermal area where you will see the hot spring and see Gullfoss, one of the country’s famous waterfalls.
Take a trip out on to Faxafloi Bay where you are 98% guaranteed to see minke and humpback whales, and in the summer hordes of puffins. Take a Viking Horse Riding tour, or go to the Blue Lagoon and immerse yourself in the healing warm waters.
The Death Star
Maybe you won’t want to visit the Death Star, especially if you are not a fan of the London tube system. The interior of the Death Star is actually the inside of Canary Wharf tube station, so unless you like crowds and escalators, stay away.
Instead of Canary Wharf, how about visiting another place that features not in Rogue One, but in the previous film The Force Awakens? Part of this was filmed on Skellig Michael Rock off the South West coast of Ireland which you can visit on a Skellig Michael Rock tour here.
Stay in the same hotel as Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, and other members of the cast and crew, which has also been visited by Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones, and Charlie Chaplin, among others. You can book a boat trip out to the rock where you can climb the ancient stone steps to the top and see the “beehives” where monks used to live over 600 years ago. If climbing steep heights is not your “thing” you can just book a boat trip around the island.
Star Wars: Rogue One is due for release in the UK on December 15th.
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