J.J. Abrams on using Ireland’s Skellig Michael as the island in Star Wars The Force Awakens
There are still sets and filming-locations scattered across the globe that can be attributed to the “Star Wars” franchise, but none are as new as the UNESCO world heritage site used in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. The gorgeous locations is quickly becoming a popular tourists site and the Ireland Tourism board is happy to take you there.
If you have seen the movie then you know there is a very special location, that is surrounded by water, used in one of the key scenes of the film. The real name of that island is Skellig Michael, and it located on the Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s west coast. The location has become incredibly popular since it was featured in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, since it boasts a few of the final scenes that were used in the movie.
The tourism board behind the site offered a few exclusive behind the scenes videos this week, giving fans a unique insight into the film makers’ choice of Skellig Michael as a location for Star Wars & how it fit with Abram’s goal of creating a real & authentic backdrop for the movie.
Tommy Harper, the Executive producer recalls the moment they discovered the Skellig islands saying, “I got an email from Rick Carter [Production Designer of Star Wars: The Force Awakens]. He sent this link, and it was Skellig Island. J.J. [Director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens] immediately wrote back and said, “I love you! This is the best.””
Since 1977, the renowned movie franchise has travelled through many galaxies, and this time, director J.J. Abrams along with cast and crew jetted into a little village called Portmagee, County Kerry, on Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. From here, they travelled eight miles (12 Km) by sea to a dream film location, Skellig Michael, which the crew described as “from another time and place”.
It’s not hard to believe that Star Wars found its unique filming location on the Wild Atlantic Way – currently the longest coastal driving route of its kind in the world. The 2,500 km touring route promises the drama of Ireland’s Atlantic Coast, a wealth of culture and living history.
Filming began in August 2014, and J.J. Abrams [Director of Star Wars: The Force Awakens] remembers the excitement saying, “I can’t believe they let us shoot there. I mean, it was so beautiful.”
Martin Joy [Supervising Location Manager of Star Wars: The Force Awakens] described the location saying, “We were just blown away by it. It’s an extraordinary place. It certainly fed into our Star Wars universe.”
The first Star Wars film in a decade recorded the biggest global box office opening in history. It debuted in 30,000 cinemas world-wide, scoring first place finishes in every market, except Korea & Vietnam. With the movie yet to be released in China (the world’s second largest movie market), there is no doubt the Wild Atlantic Way will be leaving it’s impression on many in the year ahead.
More background and stories about Star Wars filming on Skellig Michael are available at ireland.com/starwars