Since Episode IV first graced our screens in 1977, Star Wars has become one of the biggest, most successful and most anticipated franchises in cinematic history.
It has created more than just fans – the epic sci-fi masterpiece has millions of super fans across the globe (and perhaps across the galaxy, if life-forms on other planets have strong enough Wi-Fi to illegally stream the films). Many even consider Jediism to be a religion, according to a national consensus from 2001.
The saga’s intricate settings have not only captivated a loyal fanbase that continues to grow as time passes, but have also been a huge influence in tourism to certain destinations right here on planet Earth.
Read on to find out how 40 years of Star Wars has been the driving force behind tourism to many destinations…
Hardangerjøkulen glacier – Norway
Home to the galaxies wampa’s and snow lizards, Hoth is the fictional ice planet on which the battle of Hoth took place in Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
Exterior scenes from the battle were filmed on the Hardangerjøkulen glacier in Finse, Norway, which provides the perfect setting for the -60°C temperature on planet Hoth.
Surrounded by mountains, the glacier has become a tourist attraction in the years since the film was released, with fans visiting from all angles of the globe in an attempt to catch a first-hand glimpse into George Lucas’s awe-inspiring imagination.
Finse 1222, the local hotel in which members of the cast and crew stayed whilst filming the production, hold festivals and other events to commemorate the film and attract more tourists to the region.
Moreover, the glacier is rich with opportunities to partake in unique winter sports and activities, including dog sledding, barrel bathing and ski sailing. The fact that scenes from one of the greatest franchises of all time are filmed there is just a bonus!
Villa del Balbianello – Italy
In the final scene of Episode II – Attack of the Clones, a young Anakin Skywalker marries Queen Padme Amidala in a secret ceremony on the fictional planet of Naboo.
In a villa overlooking Italy’s idyllic Lake Como, the doomed Padawan and his bride pronounce their love for one another, even though romantic relationships are forbidden under the Jedi Code.
The villa is now a huge tourist attraction, as well as a popular wedding venue. In 2011, Norwegian couple, Hilde and Jean Erik, said their vows at Villa del Balbianello in a Star Wars themed wedding!
Villa del Balbianello wasn’t the only Italian destination used to bring planet Naboo to life. In fact, the scenic Lake Como and surrounding locations were used to film numerous scenes, including Ani and Padme’s picnic and their fun in the field with the shaaks of Naboo.
Skellig Michael (Great Skellig) – Ireland
Episode V11 – The Force Awakens unveils a planet we haven’t seen before, and a character that went AWOL after the fall of a Galactic Empire 30 years prior – Luke Skywalker.
Ahch-to, the remote water planet on which scavenger-girl Rey finds Skywalker, is actually pretty close to home. The name it’s given here on Earth is Skellig Michael, or Great Skellig.
Situated in Count Kerry, the steep, rocky mountain has become a boastful Irish tourist attraction, with the island’s official website publishing ‘behind the scenes in Ireland’ clips with the film’s director, J.J. Abrams. Discover Ireland have even shared the clips on YouTube to further promote the majestic island.
Episode VII ended with Rey confronting Skywalker on Ahch-to, so we’re hoping that the The Last Jedi picks up where the story left off and we get to see more of the island!
Star Wars ticks all the boxes by combining some of the most beautiful filming destinations and backdrops in the world and creating timeless entertainment for people of all age groups.
The next instalment is finally in sight and we can’t wait to see more of the complex universe that we all know and love. Excited, we are!