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5 'Star Wars' Filming Locations You Can Visit in Real Life
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May 3, 2019
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Kris Wouk
Kris Wouk is a writer and musician. His work has previously been published by Digital Trends, Sound Guys, and Android Authority.
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If you're a serious Star Wars fan, you've seen everything there is to see, including the Star Wars Holiday Special, and you've at least considered journeying to some of the locations where the films were shot. It's time to check one or two of those visits off the bucket list. Here are five Star Wars filming locations you can visit.

Yuma Desert, Arizona, U.S.

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One of the most iconic set pieces in the original trilogy is the Sarlacc Pit sequence from Return of the Jedi. This was filmed in Buttercup Valley in the Yuma Desert in Arizona. If it looks like a complicated sequence to shoot, it's because it was.

The Sarlacc Pit and the Sail Barge used by Jabba the Hutt took more than five months to build. To keep it from the prying eyes of fans eager for the next installment in the franchise, the crew constructed the barge behind fences.

Redwood National and State Parks, California, U.S.

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There are plenty of reasons to visit the Redwood National and State Parks in California. Here you'll find some fantastic examples of the titular redwood tree, the tallest tree species on Earth. For Star Wars fans, though, these parks mean something different.

The parks also served as the filming location for the forest moon of Endor, the home of the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi. This is also where the film's iconic speeder bike chase was filmed.

The forest looks somewhat different these days as the result of heavy logging, but it still retains the same often foggy, mystical vibe you remember from the movie.

Death Valley National Park, California, U.S.

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One of the aspects of the films that makes them such spectacles to look at is the variety of the locations. We've already seen one desert from Return of the Jedi, but a large part of the first movie takes place in desert environments. While many of these were filmed in Tunisia, some of them were filmed in Death Valley in California.

One of the more notable scenes shot here is when Luke Skywalker first meets Obi-Wan Kenobi. That said, the first film is not the only one to feature Death Valley. The scenes with C-3PO and R2-D2 making their way to Jabba's palace in Return of the Jedi were shot in Twenty Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley.

Tikal National Park, Guatemala

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We've gone from desert to forest to desert, so now we'll return to a forest location. Tikal National Park in Guatemala is a major tourist attraction, though most of this has nothing to do with  Star Wars. It is the ruins of the ancient Mayan city of Tikal that bring people here.

These ruins are also the reason this region was featured in Star Wars, albeit not for very long. They were used for the exterior of the Rebel Alliance’s Massassi Outpost, but these shots were comparatively short. Still, the association with the film is only a small part of what makes the Tikal National Park worth visiting.

Hotel Sidi Driss, Matmatat-Al-Qadimal, Tunisia

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The final location on this list may not be what it seems. All it takes is one look to recognize it as Luke Skywalker's childhood home from the first movie. The problem is, while the Hotel Sidi Driss has been there the whole time, the set dressings from the movie were torn down in 1976.

In 2000, the set was reconstructed for use in Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones. The set dressing has remained ever since. Due to its prominent use in the movies, the hotel has been informally known as the "Star Wars hotel" ever since.