star wars skellig michael

As J.J. Abrams spent the better part of two years promising, the world of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a successful blend of practical sets, real-world locations, and computer generated environments. You can nitpick the movie until the Banthas come home, but the Star Wars universe hasn’t felt this convincing since 1983. And while certain areas have to be partially constructed inside of a computer, others are real places that are so old and so isolated that they might as well exist on another planet.

A new featurette exploring the Star Wars Skellig Michael locations has arrived online, giving us a very cool look at one of the most memorable places in all of The Force Awakens. And just in case you’ve somehow managed to not see the movie yet, we’ll leave it at there. The video, and spoilers, lurk after the jump.

Skellig Michael, a gorgeous and ancient island off the coast of Ireland, is where Abrams and company shot the final scenes of The Force Awakens, where Daisy Ridley‘s Rey finally tracks down Mark Hamill‘s Luke Skywalker amidst the ruins of an old Jedi temple. Those rolling green landscapes? Real. Those towering cliffs? Real. Those steep and seemingly endless steps build countless generations ago? You guessed it: real. This featurette, despite being obviously constructed as part of a deal to lure tourists to the area, gives you a genuine sense of the area and how difficult it must have been to film there:

And according to MTV, Ireland’s tourism board is counting on Star Wars fans injecting some money into their economy. After all, if New Zealand can build an industry around Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth, then surely they can attract the devoted fans who want to walk in Rey and Luke’s steps. If this fanbase can make The Force Awakens into the second highest grossing movie of all time in less than three weeks (and soon to be number one), then a certain segment of them probably won’t have a problem spending some cash to take an Irish vacation.

As everyone suspected from the big cliffhanger ending of The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson‘s Star Wars: Episode 8 will return to this mysterious island and its crumbling ruins, which means that the cast and crew will have to return to Skellig Michael. We know that Johnson, Ridley, and Hamill have already shot some scenes on the island. Internet buzz has suggested that portions of the island will be recreated on a soundstage, allowing key sequences to be filmed in safety and comfort and far away from a place where one wrong move will send you tumbling down a thousand steps and into the icy ocean. Look, the Millennium Falcon did its best to kill Harrison Ford on the set of The Force Awakens. The last thing we need is the Jedi temple trying to kill Hamill on the set of Episode 8.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is currently in theaters, where it’s giving Avatar a black eye. Star Wars: Episode 8 will begin principal photography soon and will be released on May 26, 2017.

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