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How J.J. Abrams Found the Most Important Location in Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Illustration for article titled How J.J. Abrams Found the Most Important Location in iStar Wars: The Force Awakens/i

As Star Wars: The Force Awakens inches toward becoming the highest-grossing film in history, you’re might be a touch curious about how it came to be. This new video gives us a rare peek behind-the-scenes at the actual making of the film, and specifically how director J.J. Abrams chose the location for TFA’s powerful final scene.


Major spoilers for The Force Awakens follow.

When we say “the ending of the film,” we mean the very ending: The reveal of Luke Skywalker, on a remote island that Rey may or may not have seen in her dreams. Those scenes were filmed on Skellig Michael, an island in Ireland, and in this video you can find out how Abrams discovered the location and watch them do a little shooting there.

What the video doesn’t say about the location is that there were some environmental concerns after filming concluded, and rumor has it—despite Episode VIII director Rian Johnson filming at the location with Daisy Ridley and Mark Hamill several months ago—the movies may not be going back.


Nevertheless, the location has undoubtedly become a tourist hot-spot after its inclusion in the movie and it’s wonderful to actually see some footage of how Star Wars: The Force Awakens was made.

[Discover Ireland, H/T MakingStarWars]

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John Cooley

Terrific location, absolutely. Totally communicated the mystery and majesty that the last scene needed to have.

I am curious, though, about what kinds of new worlds we’ll see in future films, and how they’ll approach them. I think Rian Johnson has some tricks up his sleeve in that regard, I expect him to give us something we truly haven’t seen before. I’d like to see them continue to ground new planets with location shooting, because there’s simply a beauty and authenticity to that which can’t be beat, but I also would like to see them use more miniature models and CGI to “flesh out” the locations into something a little more exciting and alien. I’m not asking for “giant underwater bubble city”, but some more alien architecture and places with a unique sense of culture about them would go along way to make for a more immersive, transporting film.