Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Star Wars! I don't think there's any greater franchise. It's more than just films, it's a cultural phenomenon.

  • The first Star Wars movie came in 1977 and revolutionized Hollywood and changed the way films were made.

  • Today there's six Star Wars movies, and they are made by George Lucas who also wrote the story.

  • when I first thought about finding the Star Wars filming locations, I though there wasn't much to find.

  • for when I hear Star Wars, I think about spaceships and futuristic environments.

  • So what is there to find?

  • A big part of the movies is of course shot on sets in studios, and the effects are either models or computer generated, -

  • but a big part of the movies which is suppose to take place on forreign planets, were shot in different locations around the world, -

  • which can easily be visited. And there were a lot more places to find than I initially thought.

  • We'll go through the movies in the chronologically order they were filmed. So the first movies we're going to look at is "Star Wars episode IV - A new hope" from 1977.

  • In the beginning of the movie we follow R2D2 and C3PEO who escape from the ship that Darth Vader took, and land on the dessert planet Tatooine in a escape pod.

  • Afterwards we see R2D2 and C3PEO wander around in the dessert, and the scenes were actually shot in both Tunisia and USA.

  • We didn't visit the location in Tunisia, but we visited the one in USA.

  • We're going to a dessert called Death Calley, which is a national park in California.

  • A lot of scenes for Star Wars were shot in Death Valley, and we'll go through them one by one.

  • Death Valley is quite a dessert area, so if you look for the Star Wars locations, you need to know exactly were to go.

  • Luckily there're road that leads all the way to the locations, so there're easy to get to.

  • The first locations is called "Mesquite flatsand Dunes" and there's a parking lot near the location, -

  • but from there, you have to do a bit of walking through the dessert to get to the location.

  • We've arrived on the first location of our Star Wars filming location hunt.

  • The place is called "Mesquite Flatsand Dunes" and as you can see, it's a dessert.

  • Unfortunately sand formations are constantly changing, and of course a lot has happened over the last 30-40 years.

  • So it's impossible to find the exact spot of where they filmed.

  • But luckily with help from the mountains in the background, we've managed to get close to the spot where R2D2 drives away from C3PEO.

  • As far as I know this shot was the only one done in Death Valley.

  • All the other shots for the scene, were done in Tunisia.

  • And there's only sand to see in the shots, and no backgrounds to identify, like the mountains in the shot from Death Valley.

  • So if you go to the location in Tunisia, you won't be able to recognize anything anyway, since sand formation are constantly changing, as I said.

  • It's actually a beautiful place and there are tourist walking around taking pictures.

  • And I don't think it's because of Star Wars, it's just a beautiful place in general.

  • So we're off to the next place.

  • We're going to the next location. When R2D2 drives towards the moutains, we afterwards see him go through a canyon.

  • The scene was also shot in Death Valley, and the filming location is located 50 kilometers south-east in a place called Artist's Palette.

  • The location is easy the find, and there's a parking right where the scene was shot.

  • After C2PEO and R2D2 split up, we see R2D2 drive through this canyon just before he gets kidnapped by jawas.

  • The background isn't recognizable, it's been digitally created in the movie.

  • It's easier to recognize the background, if you compare it to the original unaltered Star Wars movie, which doesn't have the digital background.

  • Most Star Wars fans know very well that George Lucas in 1997 released a special edition of the three original Star Wars movies.

  • But for those who don't know the story, we'll go through it quickly.

  • In the mid 90's George Lucas got the idea to change the Star Wars movies.

  • It wasn't the first time they were changed. Small picture and sound changes were also done before the 90's.

  • For example the original title of the first movie was just Star Wars, the subtitles "Episode IV - A New Hope" was added in later.

  • But it's wasn't until the 1997 they were changed dramatically.

  • When the digital visual effects, also called CGI, took over the film industry in the mid 90's, -

  • George Lucas saw the need to change the original three Star Wars movies with the new digital tool.

  • When he made the movies back then, he felt he made a lot of sacrifices with the sets and the effects not living up to his vision.

  • And therefore he thought it was exiting to change the movies into his initial vision of what everything should look like, -

  • which wasn't possible at the time, primarily because of money of time.

  • So therefore in 1997 the three movies were re-released in theaters in a special edition, with a lot of digital changes and new scenes added.

  • And the canyon were R2D2 drives through, is no exception to the changes.

  • The shot now pans from top to bottom, and whereas the original version was just a static shot.

  • And the extra background is digitally created, so don't look for that in Death Valley!

  • When George Lucas started to change the movies, he continued to constantly make new changes.

  • Every time movies have released since on DVD and Blu-ray, new changes have been made.

  • And not only to the original trilogy. changes has also been made to the prequels.

  • for example in "Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace" from 1999, Yoda was originally a puppet, like in the older movies, -

  • but he has since been changes into a digital Yoda. I guess so it was consistent with Episode II and III, where Yoda is also a digital figure.

  • The latest release of the movies is the Blu-ray collection from 2011, which I use in this video, and here new changes has also been made.

  • The most striking changes are probably that the Ewoks in Episode VI now blinks, which they didn't do before, -

  • and Dearth Vader now yells "NO!" when he saves Luke from the Emperor, whereas he didn't say anything in the original version.

  • Most Star Wars fans prefer the original unaltered versions, but they are hard to get, as George Lucas wants us to love all his new changes.

  • The only digital release of the original unaltered movies is a limited DVD release 2006, -

  • which is still the special edition, but the original unaltered version are added as special features.

  • That was a bit about the Star Wars changes. We're going back to where R2D2 drives through the canyon.

  • The first shots of R2D2 going were done here at Artist's Palette, but the next shots where Jawas keep an eye on him were done elsewhere.

  • They were also shot in Death Valley, we're only going 7 kilometers away to a bigger canyon called Golden Canyon.

  • And there's a parking lot at the entrance of the canyon, so it's easy to get to.

  • Even though we visited Death Valley in april month it was 40 degrees Celsius, and the air was very dry.

  • So it's important to bring a lot of water with you, because there is a great distance between the places to buy it in Death Valley.

  • And when you enter the 3 kilometer long Canyon, there's a sign informing you to bring a lot of water with you, -

  • and for good reason! It was extremely hot. And I wouldn't want to be there in the summer when it gets even warmer.

  • A temperature of 56 degree Celsius has actually been recorded here in Death Valley, which is the highest temperature ever recorded on earth.

  • It was a challenge for find the places in the canyon where the shots were done, because the locations are scattered all over along the canyon.

  • And many of the rockformations look alike which doesn't make it easy.

  • We didn't find all the locations, but we found some of them.

  • Luckily a lot of the locations looks exactly the same as they did when they shot the scene, but some of the locations has also changed a bit.

  • This location was hard to find, because we primarily looked for the rock where a jawa is hiding under it in the movie.

  • Today the rock is collapsed, so it's no longer possible to get under the rock like the jawa did.

  • The next scene where R2D2 continue driving and gets kidnapped by jawas, was not shot in Death Valley, but in Tunisia, North Africa.

  • So we're going quite further away to get to the next location. The scene of R2D2 continues in a canyon near the city Tozeur in the middle of Tunisia.

  • Fortunately there are roads all the way out there, and it's possible to park at the entrance of the canyon.

  • And you only need to walk about 100 meters into the canyon to get to the location.

  • Sometimes we expect to walk far to get to the locations, but in most cases they are pretty close to the parking areas.

  • The film crew of course had big trucks for their equipment, which were parked at the parking area.

  • And all the equipment had to be carried out to the filming locations, and the actors also had to get out there.

  • And in most cases they didn't go that far away from the parking areas, probably for the sake of convenience.

  • We've now arrived in this canyon near the city Tozeur in Tunisia, and this is where the scene with R2D2 continues.

  • The canyon looks a lot like what we saw in Death Valley, so you don't really notice the transition between the two different locations. And it's just as warm I might add!

  • We're also not very far from civilization this time. There are small villages nearby, and there's even a building on top of the canyon.

  • But it's right here where R2D2 drives through the canyon, in continuation of the Death Valley scene.

  • Fortunately rock formations doesn't change much over time, so just like Death Valley, the place looks pretty much like it does in the movie.

  • And it's over by that rock, that R2D2 gets kidnapped by jawas.

  • When the jawas walks away with R2D2, we then in the next shot see them go to the sandcrawler.

  • And this scene was actually not shot in Tunisia, but back in Death Valley in the USA.

  • The scene was shot only about 200 meters from Artist's Palette, where the first shots of R2D2 driving through the canyon were done. It's actually just across the road.

  • We're now on Artist's Drive here in Death Valley, and the sandcrawler scene were shot just behind me, where the jawas carries R2D2 onto their huge vehicle.

  • Yeah nothing more was shot right here, so we're going back to the car.

  • One can wonder why the production filmed in both Death Valley and in Tunisia, when there's more than 10.000 kilometers between the two places.

  • The scenes in Tunisia where the first thing done for the movie, but because of the technical breakdowns and weather problems, -

  • the crew didn't get everything shot within the time frame.

  • The productions later moved to California, so the missing scenes were done as pickups in Death Valley.

  • It was obviously easier to take a drive to Death Valley, than going all the way to Tunisia again.

  • Anyhow they managed to find some dessert landscapes that looks pretty similar to the locations in Tunisia.

  • The next location we're going to looks at, is the home of Luke Skywalker. In the movie he lives on Tatooine with his uncle and ant out in the dessert.

  • The home was built as a set in Tunisia, only 50 kilometers west from the canyon, where R2D2 got kidnapped by jawas.

  • It's not easy to find the location without precise GPS coordinates.

  • It's located out in a dried out salt lake by the name of Chott el Djerid.

  • There are road most of the way out there, but the last 3 kilometers you have to drive off the road, and continue driving through the dessert.

  • since it's a dried out salt lake, the ground is hard which makes it easy to drive on, but there're no houses or civilization nearby, so you're pretty much driving blindly.

  • But if you go in the right direction, you'll get to a fantastic sight.

  • It's quite fantastic that this set is still standing. It's here that Luke Skywalker lives with his uncle and aunt.

  • The set what built in 1976 for the first Star Wars movie, but is also seen in some of the following movies.

  • It's absolutely one of the most iconic locations from the movies, even the Blu-ray collection has it on the front.

  • Even though the set is still standing, it requires a bit of explanation.

  • As I said the set was built in 1976 for the first Star Wars movie, and was just abandonned out here in the dessert after filming wrapped.

  • But the set was built of wood and plaster, so after a while the set disappeared because people in the area took materials from it, and the rest got blown away over time.

  • When they had to reuse the location for Star Wars episode II in 2000, they found the exact same location again, -

  • because the crater in the sand they had made was still there, where it's suppose to look like Luke can look inside the home and talk with his aunt.

  • So they rebuilt the set on the same location, and shot scenes for Star Wars episode II and III.

  • After filming the set was once again abandonned out here here in the dessert, and like last time it was built of wood and plaster, -

  • so the set deteriorated over the years, and was about to totally disappear like last time.

  • But thanks to dedicated Star Wars fans, the set was restored in 2012 under the project name "Save the Lars Homestead".

  • And that's why it's in such a great condition today! There's also a metal sign near the dome that tells about the project.

  • So the set is not the original from the first movie, it's the rebuilt set from episode II and III, that has since been restored by fans.

  • First time we see the home of Luke Skywalker is in episode IV - A new hope, when the jawas sell R2D2 and C3PEO to Luke's family.

  • As I said we also see the place in episode II - Attack of the clones, when Anakin lands on Tatooine and looks for his mother with Padme.

  • We see the place many times in episode II. In this scene Anakins says farewell to Padme, before going out searching for his mother.

  • We see the location for the last time in the end of episode III - Revenge of the sith, when Obi-wan gives away Luke as a baby to his uncle and aunt.

  • The interior part of the house wasn't filmed here, but I guess a lot of people are curious to what is inside the dome, so let's have a look!

  • Well, this is it!

  • It's all make of wood, with chicken wire on it. And then it's all covered with plaster. So it's not permanent materials.

  • And there are greetings written all over the place from Star Wars fans around the world, so we're obviously not the first ones to find this location.

  • It's without doubt the most unique filming location I've ever been to, and if you didn't know better, you would think you've been sucked into the Star Wars movie, -

  • because there's nothing else around. The only thing wrong is that my car is parked over there, but you can't get out here in other ways.

  • Behind the dome there's something which was also a part of the set. In the movie you can see what it used to look like.

  • It was suppose to be the garage roof, and some of the set is still here.

  • But again it's not parts from the first movie, but from the rebuilt set that was built in 2000 for episode II and III.

  • The garage from the inside was filmed in a studio, and is featured for the first time in episode IV, -

  • when Luke cleans up R2D2 and C3PEO, and Luke discovers the message from Leia in R2D2 for Obi-wan Kenobi.

  • And the garage is featured again in episode II, when Anakin talks with Padme about the dead of his mother.

  • In the movies we see a crater near the dome, where for example Luke can look inside the home and talk with his aunt.

  • The crater is still here, and was also built for the movies, but as you can see there's nothing down there, and there has never been anything down there.

  • It's all a film illusion. The interior part was filmed elsewhere, far from here.

  • The home itself that Luke looks into is not a set, it was filmed in an underground hotel which is also here in Tunisia.

  • The hotel is located 200 kilometers east from here in a village called Matmata. So we're going quite further away to get to the next location.

  • The whole village has underground houses, so when you look for the location, you need to know exactly what hole in the ground that was used for the scenes.

  • As you can see we're no longer in the dessert. We've arrived in a little village called Matmata.

  • And here lies an underground hotel, where one of the sections was used as the interior part of Luke's home. And it's right here behind me.

  • The hotel is called Sidi Driss and it's build underground to get away from the heat.

  • There are other holes around which is also a part of the hotel.

  • but it is exactly in this hole, the Star wars scenes where filmed.

  • The place were redecorated for the scenes in 1976, to give it a more Star Wars style.

  • And it was removed again after they were done filming.

  • But when the location had to be reused in 2000, for Star Wars episode II, the decorations were rebuilt.

  • And a lot of it is still there today, which makes the location extra fun to see for Star Wars fans.

  • We see the location for the first time in episode IV, when Luke looks inside the home and talks with his aunt.

  • The place has not changed much since they filmed here in 1976,

  • And it's fun to think about that the interior part, is filmed here in Matmata, while the exterior is filmed 200 kilometers away in the dessert -

  • At the empty crator, that represent the underground hotel, but it looks like it's filmed the same place.

  • As i already said we also see the interior part in Star Wars episode II, and here we see a more advance scene.

  • We see both the crater in the dessert and the hotel 200 kilometers away, in the same shot, but were the two shots are put together.

  • When you know this i think you can tell the transition, between the two elements, the sand or dirt looks different, but it still looks great.

  • This place is actually the hotels restaurant and luckily it's allowed to walk around and have a look.

  • And if you want to eat in there, you can sit at the same place as Luke sits and eat with his uncle and aunt in the movie.

  • The room almost looks exactly the same as it did in Star wars episode IV 1977, -

  • and the painting in the ceiling wasn't done for the movie, that's just how the hotel looked like.

  • Even though the room looks the same as in the movie, it was actually redecorated a lot over the years after filming, and the painting in the ceiling also disappeared.

  • But thanks to a french Star Wars fan, the room was put back into its original shape in 1995 as in the movie, and the motives was painted back on.

  • It probably also made it easier for the film crew, when they had to shoot scenes in the same room in 2000 for Star Wars episode II - Attack of the clones.

  • And as I said, today you can dine in the room, while before this was simply a storage room.

  • We see the place for the first time in episode IV, when Luke tells he has found a message in R2D2 for Obi-wan Kenobi.

  • The home is also seen in Star Wars episode II, when Anakin and Padme is searching for Anakains mother.

  • In the next moment we see them talk in the same room, where Luke dines with his uncle and aunt in the first movie, -

  • and here Anakin learns that his mother Schmi was taken by Tusken Raiders.

  • The home also has a kitchen seen in both episode II and IV. In the movie you can see it's suppose to be down some stairs from the room where they dine.

  • And there's actually a room down some stairs where it's suppose to be, but it's just a storage with nothing to see in it.

  • It's only Beru coming up of the stairs in episode II that was filmed here, -

  • the kitchen itself in both movies was filmed in a studio in London, like the garage I talked about earlier.

  • Back to episode IV, after R2D2 has taken off to find Obi-wan, Luke and C3PEO search for him in Luke's landspeeder.

  • The scenes were shot in both Tunisia and Death Valley.

  • In this shot, some sandpeople look at Luke and C3PEO in the landspeeder, and this shot was done in Tunisia, in the same canyon where R2D2 gets kidnapped by jawas.

  • But the next shots when they mount their banthas and ride away, were done in Death Valley. So we're going back to Death Valley in USA.

  • The scene was shot in Desolation canyon, which is between Artist's Palette and Golden Canyon, -

  • where some of the shots of R2D2 driving through the canyon were done.

  • You can park pretty close to the location, but from there, you have to walk for about 1 kilometer to get there.

  • We've arrived on the location where the sandpeople have their batha animals, I don't know this wasn't filmed in Tunisia like the rest of the scene, -

  • but I guess it was difficult to get the animals to Tunisia.

  • The bantha in really an elephant in a costume, and they actually only had one elephant for the filming in Death Valley, -

  • so when Luke sees the two bathas through his binoculars, it's actually two shots of the same elephant put together.

  • We're off to the next location. Luke and C3PEO find R2D2, and this scenes was shot back in Tunisia, in the same canyon where R2D2 gets kidnapped by jawas.

  • It was shot only about 200 meters further in the canyon from the other location.

  • We're back in the same canyon where R2D2 gets kidnapped by jawas.