what desert was star wars filmed in

As a huge Star Wars fan, one of the most fascinating aspects of the iconic film series is the stunning desert landscapes that serve as the backdrop for many scenes. But have you ever wondered where these breathtaking locations are? In this article, I will dive into the desert where Star Wars was filmed and explore the incredible real-world places that brought the galaxy far, far away to life.

Tatooine: The Birthplace of Star Wars Desert Landscapes

When we think of Star Wars and deserts, the first location that comes to mind is Tatooine. This fictional planet, home to characters like Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker, is the epitome of a desert landscape. But did you know that the scenes set in Tatooine were actually filmed in real deserts on Earth?

The Sahara Desert

One of the most iconic locations used for Tatooine is the Sahara Desert in Tunisia. The vast, sandy expanse of the Sahara provided the perfect setting for the scenes featuring the twin suns of Tatooine, creating a sense of otherworldly beauty and isolation.

Death Valley, California

Another real-world desert that played a significant role in bringing Tatooine to life is Death Valley in California. The unique rock formations and arid landscapes of Death Valley added an extra layer of authenticity to the desert scenes in Star Wars, making it a truly memorable location for fans of the series.

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Jakku: The New Desert Frontier in Star Wars

With the release of the sequel trilogy, a new desert planet was introduced to the Star Wars universe – Jakku. This desolate world, home to scavengers like Rey, once again required a real desert location to capture its essence on screen.

Rub’ al Khali Desert, United Arab Emirates

To bring Jakku to life, the filmmakers turned to the Rub’ al Khali Desert in the United Arab Emirates. This expansive desert, also known as the Empty Quarter, provided the perfect backdrop for the scavenger squalor and wreckage-strewn landscapes seen in the films. The towering sand dunes and vast open spaces of the Rub’ al Khali added a sense of bleakness and desolation to the scenes, making it an essential part of the Star Wars universe.

The Importance of Real Desert Locations

While CGI and green screens have become increasingly popular in modern filmmaking, the use of real desert locations in Star Wars is a testament to the power of authentic landscapes. The unique features and natural beauty of deserts add a sense of grandeur and mystery to the films, immersing viewers in the fantastical worlds of Star Wars.

Using real deserts also allows the actors and crew to experience the harsh conditions firsthand, adding an extra layer of authenticity to their performances and the overall look and feel of the films. The juxtaposition of technology and nature in the Star Wars films is part of what makes them so visually striking and timeless.

Overall, the deserts where Star Wars was filmed have become just as beloved and iconic as the characters and stories themselves. They are a testament to the power of real-world locations in transporting audiences to a galaxy far, far away.


Exploring the real desert locations where Star Wars was filmed gives us a deeper appreciation for the incredible artistry and creativity behind the films. From the breathtaking Sahara Desert to the desolate Rub’ al Khali, these locations have become integral parts of the Star Wars universe, enriching the storytelling and captivating audiences worldwide.

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As we continue to journey through the Star Wars saga, let’s remember the importance of these real desert landscapes in bringing the galaxy far, far away to life on the big screen.


1. Why did Star Wars choose real desert locations instead of using CGI?

Star Wars chose real desert locations to add authenticity and grandeur to the films, allowing the actors and crew to experience the harsh conditions firsthand, and immerse viewers in the fantastical worlds of the Star Wars universe.

2. Are the real desert locations open to visitors?

Yes, many of the real desert locations used in Star Wars are open to visitors and have become popular tourist destinations for fans of the series.

3. How can I visit the real desert locations where Star Wars was filmed?

Visiting the real desert locations requires proper planning and research, as some areas may have restrictions or limited access. It’s important to respect the natural environment and any regulations put in place by local authorities.

4. What other famous films have been shot in deserts?

Deserts have been popular filming locations for many famous films, including Lawrence of Arabia, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Mummy.

5. How have real desert locations influenced other aspects of the Star Wars franchise?

The real desert locations have inspired various aspects of the Star Wars franchise, including theme park attractions, merchandise, and fan events, further cementing their importance in the series’ legacy.