Netflix's IO Filming Location: Where is the astronomical observatory from the movie filmed

Where was IO movie filmed
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The Earth is a post-apocalyptic dying world about to be definitely abandoned by humanity. Margaret Qualley (The Leftovers) is Sam, a teenager who is still trying to find a way to save the planet. Danny Huston (the bad guy from so many productions, like Wonder Woman or Yellowstone) plays Sam’s father, Dr. Walden. Sam will meet mysterious Micah (Anthony Mackie, the actor who portrays Falcon in Marvel's Avengers movies). Micah is on his way to the last shuttle off the Earth to the human space colony orbiting Io, one of Jupiter's moons - Fun fact: according to Nasa, Io is actually a volcanic hell where 'constant and intense radiation makes it an unlikely destination for life'.

Io: Last on Earth was basically filmed in the southeast of France near Nice, in the lovely region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. We found the filming location where the movie was shot, an astronomical observatory on the top of a mountain plateau, not far from the Italian border:

Where was IO Netflix filmed
The astronomical observatory where a lot of the movie takes place was filmed in one of the four sites of the Observatoire de la Côte d'Azur (OCA) complex in the Calern Plateau. Is it possible to visit the ensemble, founded in 1881, located near the large town of Grasse.
Image courtesy of Netflix - Location on Google Maps




 Io: Last on Earth location
Maybe the most eye-catching section of the several buildings that compose the observatory scattered along the plateau is the GI2T. The Grand Interferometer with 2 Telescopes is a 1974 design from French architect Antoine Labeyrie. It looks like the round shapes of Akira Toriyama's brilliant creations for the Capsule Corp in Dragonball (do you remember the Hoi-Poi Capsules?). Image courtesy of Netflix


 Io museum location
And where is the museum located? According to the film's credits, Io was also filmed in Santa Monica (California). Guess what is very close from there: The Getty Villa. The central courtyard, designed like an ancient Greek or Roman villa, seems the inspiration of the decaying museum, done using computer-generated imagery.
Image courtesy of Netflix and Diosthenese - Map


Où a été tourné le film IO
This aerial shot of a devastated city from the trailer reminded us very much to the terrible footage from the Syrian war. If you look at this image closely, there is a minaret next to the round white roof on the left.


IO Netflix drehorte
The production was also filmed in the Nu Boyana Film Studios in Sofia (Bulgaria). The scenes of the abandoned town may have been filmed here.

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6 comments

  1. The scenes look very much like the area around Chernobyl. The red vegetation; the architecture.

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    1. Thanks Candace, Chernobyl is an inspiration for these kind of apocalyptic scenarios... but definitely the crew was not filming in Ukraine.

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  2. The abandoned town scenes are obvously filmed in the UK. You'll see the road markings are British, drive on the left, with standard British give way markings, and double yellow parking lines, along with the UK design lamp posts. The open road scenes also look like the UK. Possibly Scotland , Wales, or Northern Ireland.

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    1. Thank you for your remarks. There is a blue United States Postal Service box (with the logo clearly visible) on the street at the beginning of the film (that it's the same one used in the scene when Sam and Micah go down to town looking for helium). This doesn't mean much, as crews usually 'plant' items like this in filming locations all the time. The cars are very European-looking (Renault Clio, Volkswagen Vanagon, Mercedes, BMW). They drive... in the middle of the road, as it really doesn't matter.

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    2. UK basically after Brexit

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  3. The inside of the observatory, and that beautiful old telescope, looks very much like Percival Lowell’s Clarke Telescope housed atop Mars Hill, Flagstaff AZ.

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