Where was the first Star Wars filmed? Fans wonder on National Star Wars Day

Leigh McManus May 4, 2021
Photo by FilmPublicityArchive/United Archives via Getty Images

Where was the first Star Wars filmed? Episode IV A New Hope was released in 1977. Interest in the George Lucas film has piqued on National Star Wars Day, so let’s explore the filming locations, from the US to Tunisia.

Where was the first Star Wars filmed?

Star Wars Episode IV A New Hope was released in 1977, sparking huge global interest in the George Lucas-created film.

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It featured Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher among an all star cast that became world famous.

The movie focuses on the journey of Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, who along with Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, Alec Guinness, smuggler Han Solo, played by Harrison Ford, and his Wookiee companion Chewbacca.

The gang attempts to free Princess Leia, depicted by Carrie Fisher, from the clutches of the tyrannical Galactic Empire. But where was the movie shot?

Filming locations explored: Star Wars meets Death Valley

The movie depicts a different galaxy so the scenery needed to be suitably alien. Look no further than Death Valley, California, an arid stretch of desert and the official hottest place on earth.

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George Lucas used the valley, a National Park, to film the iconic shots depicting the desert planet of Tatooine.


To depict Tatooine, Lucas also shot a lot in Tunisia as he was reportedly fascinated with the towns of Djerba, Matmata and namesake Tataouine.

However, he moved to the US when running out of budget, time and threatened by a huge storm in North Africa. The team moved to Death Valley during the winter of 1977.

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“Pre-production and the whole filming was very, very rushed,” said JW Rinzler, author of The Making Of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind The Original Film.

The rest of the movie was shot near London, across six massive stages at Elstree Studios. When released, Star Wars became the highest-grossing film ever to that point.

Leigh is a 26-year-old journalist from the north of Ireland. He studied International Journalism at Liverpool John Moores University, where he earned a 2:1 grade. He has worked for Mail Online and has experience with the Liverpool Echo, Irish Mirror and SWNS. Leigh is also a huge music fan and has his own show on a community radio station.