Filming Locations Guide: Where was The Force Awakens filmed?

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There was a lot of secrecy around the filming locations of Star Wars: Episode VII, and it was hard to find information about this continuation of the saga created by George Lucas before it was released.

The Force Awakens was filmed in England, Ireland, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates.

The Force Awakens Locations

The story begins about 30 years after the events of the 1983 film, Return of the Jedi. The Empire has been reorganized and is now known as the First Order.

The cast includes Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, and Mark Hamill from the original Star Wars trilogy. Instead of Lucas, this time the director's chair goes to J.J. Abrams. He's got a long experience in the science fiction genre, and you may hate or love him for his work in productions like the TV series Lost.

Here is our guide to the filming locations of The Force Awakens. We tried not to talk too much about the movie's plot to avoid spoilers.

The Force Awakens Filming Locations

The Abu Dhabi Desert shoot
The very first scenes filmed for the new trilogy were filmed in the desert near Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates).

Forget about Tatooine: the Rub’ al Khali desert is the stage where the shots for the planet Jakku were filmed.

The Michael Bay action film taking place in the invented country of Turgistan was also shot here; you can check out the 6 Underground Filming Locations following this link. Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

X-wings vs TIE fighters scene
One of the most memorable sequences of the film is when a squadron of X-wings are coming into action, flying low over the water. The location becomes a battleground between rebels and the First Order's troops.
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

The Force Awakens Lake
The location used for scenery is the area around Derwentwater in Cumbria, England. The production's crew was taking aerial shots in a helicopter, without involving any actor from the cast in the filming.
Image by Allan Harris

Planet Takodana
The Millennium Falcon flying over the Lake District. In the movie, this is the planet Takodana, run by Maz Kanata, where the cantina is located. Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Star Wars in Skellig Michael island
The last scene, involving the mysterious role of Mark Hamill, takes place in the Skellig Michael island in Ireland.
Image by Florian Christoph

The ice planet
Another battlefield: this time in the home of the bad guys.
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Iceland Lake
The icy landscape selected as the background is the area in Mývatn, around the Krafla volcano in Iceland.
Image by Sergii

Lightsabers fight in the Forest of Dean
We go back to England to Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, in Gloucestershire. The area looks like the forest of Endor, home of the unbearable Ewoks.

Thanks to the Force, this is just the venue where the fight Finn vs. Kylo, and other forest scenes take place.

The Netflix series Cursed also filmed many scenes in this awesome place.

The Force Awakens Base Location in D'Qar
The Resistance spacecraft base on D'Qar is located in the former Royal Air Force Station Greenham Common (Berkshire).

The mountains in the background were added digitally in post-production. Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

Military complex with hangars
This complex was used during the times of the cold war to store nuclear cruise missiles. Now, these lands have been designated as a public park. Image by Crazy Places

Das Erwachen der Macht drehort
Once more, the popular Pinewood Studios have been used for principal photography for indoor locations.

It's an interesting fact that in The Force Awakens, the production team tried to use as much as possible practical special effects, as opposed to computer-generated ones. This was to get a look closer to the original films (we love the analogical command panels of the spacecrafts).

Also, it can be seen as a way to highlight the differences between the (for many, failed) prequel trilogy movies.

For further information, we recommend you the book The Art of Star Wars including awesome artworks like production paintings, concept sketches, storyboards, and more. Star Wars: Complete Locations is a great visual guide of the fictional locations (only) from all the saga.

NOTICE: If you’re using this information on your website, please credit and link to this page as a source.

  1. Greenham Common is in Berkshire, not Gloucestershire.

  2. Puzzle Wood is in the Forest of Dean which is in Gloucestershire not near Gloucestershire.

  3. You are right, thanks for your help!

  4. Do you know the source for Starkiller Base forest scenes being filmed in the same place as Takodana?


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