For years, Star Wars fans have designated the Fourth of May to celebrate all things intergalatic. But did you know some of the filming locations of the timeless series are located right here in the Southwest? So there’s no need to travel to a galaxy far, far away.
May the Force be with you.
One of our own national parks right here in the American West served as another world in Episode IV: A New Hope. Dante’s View, Golden Canyon, Mesquite Flat, Sand Dunes and Desolation Canyon were all filming locations for Star Wars. Shots of Death Valley were then mixed with those taken in Tunisia to create the Tatoonie Desert. Channel your inner Star Wars fanatic and take a trip to Death Valley.
The Yuma Desert was host of another filming location for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Buttercup Valley was the location of Jabba’s Sail Barge being built. It is said that during filming temperatures rose to 120 degrees, but served as the perfect backdrop for Tatooine. Filming these scenes took place in April 1982, but construction of the film set began several months before. This however is popular time for dune buggies, and filming needed to be scheduled to avoid the occasional buggy from getting in a shot.
Del Norte County, California
This Southwest destination provided the backdrop for the land of Endor in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi where the rebels and Ewoks fight the evil Empire. Before filming, crews went on site to level the ground in order to film chase scenes and replant ferns in order to achieve a natural look. In commentary from the film, George Lucas said he wanted a primitive look, “a jungly place, the color or life, a cradle of life environment”.
Did we miss any Star Wars filming locations in the Southwest? Comment below.