The ongoing success of the Star Wars franchise has set it apart from other sci-fi films within the genre and accrued itself an almost occult following. Despite straddling generations and ever evolving technologies, it has managed to capture hearts with the ongoing struggles of the scattering of Jedi and their affinity to The Force.
Though it is known that Walt Disney World in Orlando are opening a Star Wars Land in 2019, the rumours of a Star Wars Hotel however has only made us more eager for Disney World Tickets. Though space tourism is currently beyond us, we still secretly wish we could visit our favourite planets and cities from The Star Wars Universe, so where are the Earth equivalents?
Jedha- Rogue One
The Holy City, also known as NiJedha is not described in the most flattering terms, even Jyn Erso admits it is a warzone, however we felt the city had potential. As a melting pot of different species, some grand architecture and a history of a pilgrimage city for those who follow the way of The Force, it held our interest as a cultural city break.
Unfortunately even in the Star Wars cannon it doesn’t last very long as the city meets its doom at the hands of the death ray. However the city is inspired by some of Earth’s holy cities. While Mecca and Jersualem may be the inspiration behind Jedha, not all will find these as appealing places to visit on a Star Wars themed holiday. Instead Famagusta in North Cyprus is a great alternative, with crumbling walls and an ancient history as well as enormous walls that dominate the landscape. Architizer mention the layout of Jedha in a blog on the architecture in Rogue One:
“The walled city is densely populated with buildings topped with shimmering golden domes, echoing the architectural language of Jerusalem. The density of the urban landscape here reflects how this ancient city has been built up over the centuries, and its fortifications speak to its turbulent history — the small moon is now occupied by the Galactic Empire, but Movie Pilot reports that “the streets are prone to the occasional rebel scuffle”.
Naboo- Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
Home of Padme Amadala and Jar Jar Binks, Nabboo is a lush Eden-like planet located close to the outer rim. It features quite heavily in the Star Wars series however it is also the planet where Anakin and Padme got married. Varykino is the lake retreat where the service takes place and its earthly setting is a wonderful spot for even those people uninterested in Star Wars. Villa del Balbianello is a villa that was originally a Franciscan Monastery before being bought by Cardinal Durini. It stayed in Italian hands until World War 1 when upon seeing it, an American businessman Butler Ames made an offer. Under his ownership he renovated the villa and pleasure gardens to how it appears today.
Hoth- The Empire Strikes back
It may appear to be a frozen wasteland, but Hoth really does have a beauty all of its own. With reputed temperatures of - 60°C, no intelligent life forms have developed on the planet and it is a struggle for human like creatures to survive with exposure to Hoth’s vicious natural elements. A Tauntaun carcass has to be used to keep Luke alive after he has spent too long in the elements. The scenes for Hoth were filmed on Hardangerjøkulen in Norway which is only accessible by train due to its isolation. Glacier hub mentions its remoteness:
“The village of Finse is so remote that no public roads connect it to the rest of Norway, only a railway. The glacier itself is located in a national park and tourists must travel there not only with special permission, but also a guide that can help them avoid dangerous crevasses.”
Endor- Star Wars : Episode II Attack of the Clones
The main appeal for this destination is definitely the native species. While we may all know that Ewoks are feisty, they are also the cutest combination between a Yorkshire terrier and a teddy bear. This thickly forested moon is something of a Bermuda triangle, being the site of an above average number of shipwrecks. Any nature lover can’t help but fall in love with Endor, as the inherently eco conscious Ewoks are mortally offended by the Empire’s casual destruction of their beautiful green planet and this spurs them on to their transition from mischievous to open opposition. Jacob Brogan from The Slate describes the Ewoks through adult eyes and the strange juxtaposition they evoke:
“Ewoks embody a surprising paradox. On the one hand, they’re designed to look like animate teddy bears, all cuddly and fun. On the other hand, they’re terrifying monsters, their inexpressive, rotund faces permanently set in cruel grimaces. I don’t remember being disturbed by this as a child—to the contrary, I loved them in exactly the way George Lucas wanted me to—but it’s hard to escape now.”
Filmed in Redwood National Park, California, this magnificent setting is attractive to everyone and the size of the giant trees, offsets the petite inhabitants and truly conveys the majesty of Endor.
Scarif- Rogue One
The Empire really has an eye for location, this tropical planet looks nothing short of beautiful, until it comes under heavy fire and eventual destruction. However until that point it sports cerulean seas, pristine white sands, a variety of lush vegetation and then the Imperial Security Complex dominating the skyline.
The Earth location for Scarif is none other than the glorious Maldives, Laamu Atoll to be precise. A lifetime trip for anybody, hopefully they will be so stunned by the gorgeous scenery, they won’t notice you roly poly away from the imperial troops. Again Architizer notes the imposing elements of the architecture:
“For “Rogue One,” incongruous industrial architecture has been introduced, and its scale is startling. Set against the Maldives’ low-lying terrain, the looming tower of steel pictured in the trailer — some form of military installation home to all manner of aircraft, land vehicles and equipment — possesses an intimidating presence, symbolizing the ambitions of the Empire as it attempts to build a weapon to solidify its power indefinitely.”
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