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Sunday May 19th 2024

Dune: Part One | 2021

Dune: Part One film location: Kinnaklova, Kinn Island, Norway
Dune: Part One film location: the ocean planet 'Caladan': Kinnaklova, Kinn Island, Norway | Photograph: Wikimedia / Hjorthefoto

Frank Herbert's 1965 novel comes with a history of being considered unfilmable (David Lynch's 1984 film of Dune did nothing to dispel the notion) but Denis Villeneuve, dividing the narrative into two movies, managed to make a success of it.

Much of the film was made on stupendously huge sets at Origo Film Studios, in Budapest, Hungary, where Villeneuve obviously felt comfortable after filming most of Blade Runner 2049 on its stages.

The vast landscapes of desert planet 'Arrakis' , home of the Fremen people and of valuable ‘spice', naturally demanded real locations and the rocky desert of Jordan stood in perfectly.

Dune: Part One film location: Wadi Rum, Jordan
Dune: Part One film location: the desert planet 'Arrakis': Wadi Rum, Jordan | Photograph: Shutterstock / Anda U

The location was largely around Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, in the south of the country toward the border with Saudi Arabia.

Relatively easy to visit, it’s a popular tourist destination, around 35 miles east of Aqaba King Hussein International Airport. If you're not renting a car, there is a bus. Not surprisingly, it can be blisteringly hot from June to September, and visiting in the winter months also means it likely to be less crowded.

The area has a long and impressive history on screen dating back to David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. It's frequently stood in for alien planets, often Mars, in Red Planet (2000) with Val Kilmer, The Last Days on Mars (2013) with Liev Schreiber and Romola Garai, Ridley Scott's The Martian, with Matt Damon, in 2015, as well as 'exomoon LV-223' in Scott's 2012 Prometheus and as ‘Jedha’ in 2016’s Rogue One and ‘Pasaana’ in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.

Away from the rocky outcrops, the endless stretches of sand dunes, where spice is mined, were found at Liwa Oasis – or Rub’ al Khali, ’The Empty Quarter’, south of Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates at the Saudi border. You can reach the Oasis by car or bus from Abu Dhabi in just over three hours.

Fittingly, the oasis is also home to Moreeb Dune, one of the largest dunes in the world, and the annual Liwa Festival attracts victors to watch the likes of quad biking, off-road events and camel racing.

The Oasis previously appeared as the sand planet of ‘Jakku’ in 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The wildly contrasting ocean world of 'Caladan', home planet of House Atreides, used the rugged westernmost coast of Norway.

Dune: Part One film location: Myresanden beach, Stadlandet Peninsula, Norway
Dune: Part One film location: the ocean planet 'Caladan': Myresanden beach, Stadlandet Peninsula, Norway | Photograph: Google Maps

The beach, where Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) watches the the ship taking him to 'Arrakis' rise from the water as he tries to come to terms with the prophecies, is Myresanden, just south of the village of Drage on the Fv362 in the county of Møre og Romsdal, on the southwest coast of the Stadlandet Peninsula.

The spectacular coastal mountain which looks as though it’s been cleft in two by a giant sword has long been used by sailors as a navigational landmark.

It’s Kinnaklova, off the Norwegian mainland on Kinn Island. You can reach the island by ferry from Florø, about 30 miles south of Stadlandet (as the crow flies but not as the car drives). Few people live on the island but it has a fascinating history of being featured in ancient legends.

The area can be reached from airports in either Bergen, to the south, or Ålesund to the north.