Last April we had a little fun predicting the filming locations from the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise. This past weekend saw The Last Jedi released around the world. It brought joy and wonder to the masses (and massive profits to Disney).
It turns out, our original picks weren’t that far off with regards to the film’s far-flung locales. Though the rumors that Oscar Issacs, John Boyega, and Benicio del Toro were filming in Mexico were either unfounded, misdirection, or left on the editing room floor — as Mexico doesn’t appear in the end credits of the film (we stayed to check).
As holiday travel heats up and folks plan last minute winter break getaways, we decided to make a visual tour of the locations we know are now part of the Star Wars universe.
Ahch-to — Skellig Michael, Ireland
We all know the striking and craggy Skellig Michael would be taking a central role in The Last Jedi. The wind-swept isles (and the surrounding County Kerry) serve as the home of the exiled Luke Skywalker who spends his days spearing massive fish, drinking green milk from walrus-like beasts, and avoiding Rey’s bid to bring him back into the rebellion/resistance.
Canto Bright — Dubrovnik, Croatia
In what’s arguably the most divisive set piece of the film, Finn and Rose head to Canto Bright to retrieve a flower-wearing hacker. Instead, they find a Peter Lorre channeling Benicio del Toro and trash a casino with some horse-like beasts.
Dubrovnik stood in for the playground of the galaxy’s elite (who are getting megarich by keeping the star wars going). The Croatian city had already popped on pop cultural trekkers’ radar when it became a crucial location for Game of Thrones. Now, the ancient city will be drawing from two of the biggest pop wells of cinema and TV to bolster their tourism numbers.
Well played, Dubrovnik. Well played indeed.
Crait (Battle) — Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
The final showdown between the First Order and the Resistance takes place on a massive red and white salt plain at the fringe outpost Crait. Originally, we thought this might have been shot on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. But we were straight up wrong.
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia stood in for the mining planet and rebel base. It’s easy to see why, with the extraterrestrial look the vast salt plain has. Add a little Industrial Light and Magic tweaking and suddenly you’re transported to a new world in a galaxy far, far away.
Crait (Escape) — Iceland
Chewbacca and Rey literally save the day by providing cover and then a means of escape for the tattered remains of the Resistance through a little force magic, expert flying, and a handy homing beacon. While the front of the Resistance’s base is Bolivia, the back escape is over Iceland’s vast glacial fields of Skaftafell.
Pinewood Studios, London, UK
As with all space operas, a lot of this film was shot on a sound stage. The legendary Pinewood Studios in London is where the lion’s share of The Last Jedi was created.
Unfortunately, the studios do not offer tours. It’s closed to the public for safety and confidentiality reasons. Still, one can dream of walking the hallowed halls where the original Star Wars, The Shining, 007, and Indiana Jones all came to life.