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Thursday July 18th 2024

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker | 2019

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker: Wadi Rum, Jordan
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker: the desert planet 'Pasaana': Wadi Rum, Jordan | Photograph: Shutterstock / Anda U

Discover where Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019) was filmed in Jordan, and in the UK in Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire.

Most of the final film of the nonology (“trilogy of trilogies” sounds a bit grandiose) was shot on vast sets built at Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.

Some exteriors for the jungle moon ‘Ajan-Kloss’, including Rey’s (Daisy Ridley) training, the Rebel Base landing zone – with part of the Millennium Falcon being built – and an unused opening scene of Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) confronting a spider-like creature in the swamp, were filmed in Black Park Country Park, lushly enhanced with exotic plants from Southern Europe. Conveniently adjoining the studio, Black Park has been a much-used forest location over the years.

The desert planet, 'Pasaana', to which Rey, Finn (John Boyega) and Poe (Oscar Isaac) travel to find the Sith 'Wayfinder' and unexpectedly meet up with Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) is Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, in the south of the country toward the border with Saudi Arabia.

After becoming famous for the magnificent desertscapes of David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia in 1962, the area has become a regular go-to for dry, red, 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 of course ‘Arrakis’ in Denis Villeneuve's 2021 Dune.

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.

Needing to find another Wayfinder means travelling to find the remains of the second Death Star on ‘Kef Bir’, the Ocean Moon of Endor – and home of a flock of horse-like Orbaks (aka stunt horses), which will prove useful later.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker: Ivinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker: the Millennium Falcon crashlands on 'Kef Bir': Ivinghoe Beacon, Buckinghamshire | Photograph: Shutterstock / Martin Rance

With its landing gear damaged, the Millennium Falcon makes a crash-landing on 'Kef Bir'. Those spectacularly stormy seas and the rocky outcrops are CGI and the grassy hill is Ivinghoe Beacon, far from the coast on the Ashridge Estate in the Chiltern Hills, Buckinghamshire. Now managed and owned by the National Trust, this was also the hill on which the ‘manky old boot’, which turns out to be the Portkey, is found in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker: Cardington Hangars, Bedfordshire
Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker: the set for the attack on the imperial star destroyer: Cardington Hangars, Bedfordshire | Photograph: Shutterstock / Pajor Pawel

The "last stand', the great ground invasion atop the deck of an imperial star destroyer, needed to accommodate an Orbak charge at full pelt. This space needed to be epic and the set was built inside the vast Shed 2 of the Cardington Hangars in Bedfordshire.

The two vast structures are what remains of Cardington Airfield, previously RAF Cardington, a former Royal Air Force station, originally built in 1915 to house the building of rigid airships for the First World War.

In 2015, their enormous size proved ideal to house sets for Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins. This new lease of life has subsequently seen them used for The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, Justice League, Rogue One, The Batman, Inception and Wonka.