Filming Locations Guide: Where was The Force Awakens filmed?

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The first movie in the final saga of Star Wars, The Force Awakens, was filmed in England, Ireland, Iceland, and the United Arab Emirates.

There was a lot of secrecy around the locations of this continuation of the saga created by George Lucas, making it difficult to find information about Episode VII before its release.

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.

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 Force Awakens location
The very first scenes of the new trilogy were shot in the desert near Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Forget Tatooine: an area of the vast Rub' al Khali desert was the setting for the planet Jakku.
(You can open all the locations on Google Maps by clicking on the links below in the captions ↴)
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm - Map

Planet Takodana
The legendary Millennium Falcon flies over the Lake District in England.

In the movie, the green pastures of Cumbria double as the planet Takodana, with the cantina run by Maz Kanata (played by Lupita Nyong'o).
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm - Map

The Force Awakens Lake
One of the most memorable sequences in the movie is the battle at Takodana, with the squadron of X-Wings flying low over the water.

The production crew took aerial shots in a helicopter over Derwentwater without any of the actors in the film.

Once again, the popular Pinewood Studios were used for indoor location shooting.

The Force Awakens Puzzlewood
The forest scenes with Rey (Daisy Ridley) were filmed at Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

The location is an enchanting woodland known for its distinctive labyrinthine paths, ancient trees and moss-covered rock formations.

This natural wonder has inspired several works of fiction and served as a filming location for numerous movies and television shows.
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm - Map

Starkiller Base
The Starkiller Base is a snow-covered planet that serves as a superweapon and headquarters for the First Order.

The icy landscape chosen for the background is the area of Lake Mývatn around the Krafla volcano in Iceland.

Mývatn is a stunning volcanic lake in northern Iceland, featuring unique geology, geothermal activity, and diverse birdlife.
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm - Map

D'Qar planet
The Resistance space base on the planet D'Qar was filmed at the former Royal Air Force Station Greenham Common in Berkshire, England.

The complex, which was used to store nuclear cruise missiles during the Cold War, is now a public park.

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

Star Wars Skellig Michael island
The final scenes with Mark Hamill were filmed on the island of Skellig Michael in Ireland, as the planet Ahch-To.

This UNESCO World Heritage site is a rugged island off the southwest coast of Ireland, famous for its well-preserved early medieval monastic settlement.
Image courtesy of Lucasfilm - Map

The Force Awakens set
Pictured is the real St. Fionan's Monastery on Skellig Michael Island, which you can visit on a boat tour from the mainland.

In the next movie, The Last Jedi, the stone dwellings of the small settlement were part of a huge set built on the headland of Ceann Sibéal on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry.

Find out more about The Force Awakens

Das Erwachen der Macht drehort
In The Force Awakens, the production team tried to use as many practical special effects as possible, as opposed to computer-generated ones.

This was done to keep the look closer to the original films (we love the analog command panels on the spaceships).

It can also be seen as a way to highlight the differences between the (for many, failed) prequel trilogy films.

Imperial Star Destroyer Wreckage in the Desert
Instead of George Lucas, this time the director's chair went to J.J. Abrams.

He has a long experience in the science fiction genre and you may love or hate him for his work in productions like the TV series Lost.

For more information, check out The Art of Star Wars, which contains great artwork including production art, concept art, storyboards, and more. Star Wars: Complete Locations is a great visual guide to fictional locations throughout the saga.

Can you help to improve this article about the shooting locations of Star Wars: The Force Awakens? To complete and correct this report, any feedback, info, or images that you may have are more than welcome, thank you!

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  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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