Filming Locations Guide: Where was The Force Awakens filmed?

The Force Awakens Locations

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There was a lot of secrecy around the filming locations of the new Star Wars movie. But finally, the continuation of the saga created by George Lucas has been released, and it's confirmed that The Force Awakens has been filmed basically in England, Ireland, Iceland and the United Arab Emirates.

As usual, we'll try not to talk too much about the movie's plot to avoid any spoiler. However, this is Star Wars VII, and 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.

Where was The Force Awakens filmed?

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 is going to become 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 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 location has the look of 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 include many scenes set in this awesome place; check out where Cursed was filmed following this link.

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 interesting the 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. Image courtesy of Lucasfilm

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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.

The Force Awakens Incredible Cross-Sections is another amazing volume where you can find the vehicles of the movie in detail, showing all of the weapons, engines, and technology.
Also here is a link to the new Blu-ray edition coming with outstanding extras behind the making of the movie, deleted scenes and a documentary.

Complete book The art of the movie Cross-sections

Rogue One Filming Solo movieThe last Jedi Westworld


  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!


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