Rogue One (Star Wars) – Jordan

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UNESCO’s world heritage “Wadi Rum” has been used for movies for many years. “Lawrence of Arabia” (1960) is well known for using this location, and the red sand makes it a popular location for films that appear to have been shot on Mars (“The Martian”).

In 2016 the crew for Rogue One turned Wadi Rum into the dessert location Jedha where a great battle takes place. Jedha is a pilgrmage planet for Force believers…

Although the wide exteriors were filmed in Jordan, other shots are actualy filmed at Elstree Studios in London.

Game of Thrones – Morocco – Aït-Ben-Haddou

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Morocco

Morocco

A fortified city in the middle of the dessert, Aït-Ben-Haddou is on the UNESCO world heritage list. And even though at is a world famous monument, it has been seen in many, many films and TV productions. Recently in “Game of Thrones”, but it has also been used in : “The Jewel of the Nile”, “The Living Daylights”, “The Last Temptation of Christ”, “Lawrence of Arabia”, “Kundun”, “The Mummy (1999)”, “Gladiator (film)”, “Alexander”, “Dunya en Desie in Marokko”, “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “Babel”.

Exodus – Spain

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Although the Bible says Mozes escaped from Egypt with 600,000 slaves, Ridley Scott and his crew choose Spain as the main location for filming the exterior desert scenes (interiors were shot in the UK at Pinewood Studios).

Most of the movie was filmed in Almeria (Tabernas). Tabernas has been used for other movies, like classic Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, but also big Hollywood blockbusters (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Lawrence of Arabia). TV production for “Game of Thrones” has recently used this location as well.

The Egyptian city was build at Sierra Alhamilla. Complete with the Pharaoh’s temple.

Pechina (just north of Almeria) has also become a popular location for film makers. Again “Game of Thrones” also uses this location (as the Dothraki Sea).

Game of Thrones – Spain (Desert)

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The Bardenas Reales National Park has been used for filming some desert scenes for “Game of Thrones”. Stunning rock formations prove to be a beautiful backdrop for dragon scenes….

Doctor Who – Dubai

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A long way from the usual filming location in Wales, the Doctor Who crew went to Dubai for filming one of the last specials with David Tennant as the Doctor. The “Planet of the Dead” special was chosen to be filmed in Dubai because the emirate had a substantial film infrastructure and provided a unique location that was too expensive to create using CGI was unavailable in the UK.

 

Jurassic Park – Red Rock Canyon

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While most exteriors of the movie “Jurassic Park” were filmed on the tropical island of Kauai, the location of the Badlands, where the raptor skeleton was found, was filmed on the US mainland in the Mojave Desert. Only accessible by 4×4 the location near ridgecrest can be found, dinosaur fossils however… not.

Quantum Of Solace – Paranal Observatory

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The 2008 James Bond film “Quantum Of Solace” was recorded partly in the Chili dessert at Paranal Observatory. They filmed there for about twelve days and the location was chosen to resemble Bond’s rigid emotions and being on the verge of committing a vengeful act.

A New Hope – Chott el-Djerid

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Flat as a pancake, this location was used for the Original Star Wars. Chott el-Djerid dessert is now a military highway, but still known as “Star Wars Canyon”.  Also here is the Moss Eisley overlook and the attack of the Sand People.

The Force Awakens – Rub’ al Khali desert

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They needed sand for “The Force Awakens”, lots of sand, so why not go to the biggest desert in the world in the Arabian Peninsula? Rub’ al Khali desert is the largest sand desert in the world and is used as planet Jakku (and the actors say it was HOT HOT HOT!). Luxury resorts are nearby in case you would like to visit this desert (and this is also where the crew stayed).

Fun fact: while filming, codename AVCO was used (much like “Blue Harvest” was used for “Jedi”). Avco is the name of the theater where JJ saw “Star Wars”.

 

The Phantom Menace – Ksar Hadada

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A national monument in the Tunesian dessert was again used in the Phantom Menace. The buildings in Ksar Hadada were supposed to be the small town of Mos Espa.

It has also become a Hotel.