Sci-fi movies might be the ultimate form of escapism on the silver screen. And to bring futuristic cityscapes and out-of-this-world planets to life, directors mostly rely on computer-generated imagery to push the boundaries of creativity. However, many sci-fi movies still involve some practical effects and real-world locations. So, are you looking for the next destination to check off your bucket list? Let your imagination run loose in these four real-life shooting locations to delight all sci-fi enthusiasts.
Imagine a desolate desert world presided over by a pair of binary stars. The scenery is so iconic that you might already picture it in your head. While parts of Tatooine were filmed in Death Valley, NV, most of Luke Skywalker’s home springs from southern Tunisia. Filming for A New Hope started in 1976 near the Sahara Desert. Funnily enough, George Lucas first envisioned Tatooine as a jungle planet with the Philippines as a prospective shooting location.
Eventually, Lucas turned to the dunes of Nafta and the desert of Tozeur, where the fictional spaceport settlement of Mos Espa was modeled after traditional Berber housing. The Star Wars crew returned to Tunisia to film The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, and Disney Plus’ The Book of Boba Fett. Many of the structures stand well-preserved to this day, and visitors on a Star Wars tour can visit the hamlet of Matmata or the sets around Ong Jmal.
With active volcanoes, dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific, and waterfalls cascading into lush valleys, Hawaii’s otherworldly beauty is a perfect fit for the big screen. And the island has inspired many a sci-fi filmmaker. James Cameron picked the Keahua Arboretum to conjure the fantasy world of Pandora in his 2009 award-winning movie Avatar. Cameron and his crew spent five days shooting non-CGI scenes at this secluded nature preserve, while Colin Trevorrow’s Jurassic World also featured real-life takes in Kauai and at Mount Waialeale.
Two decades earlier, production of the epic Waterworld movie settled in Hawaii as well. Filming took place in an artificial seawater enclosure off the island’s coast before wrapping up in Waipi’o Valley. Unfortunately, the valley is now closed to visitors until further notice.
When thinking of a futuristic-looking city, Dubai usually springs to mind. It was only fair that Dubai would inspire the first-ever Emirati science-fiction flick. Released in 2016, Aerials depicts an alien invasion over the UAE’s flagship city. In 2016, one of the most famous sci-fi franchises of all time even came to the emirate. The Star Trek Beyond crew was looking for “the world of tomorrow,” as producer Jeffrey Chernov put it. The third installment in the Star Trek reboot saga was shot in iconic Dubai locations like The Burj Al Arab.
Fans and critics deemed the movie a superb celebration of the series’ 50th anniversary. Since the 1960s, indeed, the franchise has become a pop culture phenomenon spanning films, video games, and even casino slots. Gamblers in the MENA area have no brick-and-mortar casinos to try Star Trek-themed slots, though. But Arabic players can gamble away in the best online casinos in Bahrain. Expert punters have laid out comprehensive reviews on reputable and profitable platforms. They also offer advice on VPN usage and secure payment methods. Thus, gamblers can safely enjoy the best casino games while claiming lavish bonuses.
Setting foot in Iceland might feel like traveling to a faraway land in a distant galaxy. The rugged, volcanic island famously looks like another planet, so much so that NASA has carried Moon and Mars missions over there. And word quickly spread out across Hollywood. In no time, Iceland became the go-to real-world location for alien films, post-apocalyptic flicks, and space movies. The Nordic island has so much to offer sci-fi fans that visitors might travel for weeks without running out of filming locations to discover.
In northern Iceland, the Dettifoss waterfall played center stage in the opening sequence of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus. Up north, The Force Awakens featured the spectacular geothermal fields of Lake Myvatn. Southern Iceland is just as popular with Hollywood creatives, from Star Wars: Rogue Nation filming on the black shores of Mýrdalssandur to the SkaÌlafellsjoÌkull Glacier appearing in the Netflix exclusive The Midnight Sky.
Treat Yourself to Sci-Fi Swag!
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