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    Star Wars in California: itinerary among the locations of the George Lucas saga

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    Lluis Enric Mayans
    @lluisenricmayans
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    wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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    If you are planning a California itinerary, and are at the same time a fan of Star Wars, you are very lucky because you are in the right state to visit some of the places that have been the backdrop to some of the most memorable scenes of the original trilogy.

    Le location di Star Wars in California they are also almost the only ones you can visit in the United States as most of the filming for the films was shot in other countries. If you decide to embark on this journey to a distant galaxy, you can also visit some of the most beautiful naturalistic places in the Golden State. So let's not delay and may the force be with you.



    Index

    • Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park – Cheatham Grove
    • Death Valley National Park
    • Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area
    • Other Star Wars related locations in California
      • Lucasfilm Headquarters
      • Hollywood Walk of Fame
      • Star Wars a Disneyland
      • Star Wars a Legoland

    Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park – Cheatham Grove

    Welcome to the Woodland Moon of Endor, also known as the area of ​​the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, homeland of the Ewoks and place where the definitive defeat of the empire was sanctioned as we have known it.

     

    In fact many of the scenes used in the film were shot on one Private property of a carpentry firm, the Miller-Rellim Redwood Company near Smith River, which however, in addition to not being open to visitors, today no longer retains its original appearance. You can therefore try to relive the atmosphere of the film by walking along the paths of the park, more precisely in the area of Cheatham Grove where the chase scenes on speeder bikes were filmed.



    Cheatham Grove is easily reachable, as it is located near the Highway 36 which runs along the Van Duzen River. There is a small parking area from which a short trail leads into the woods.

    Especially recommended if you are in this area is driving through the car Avenue of the Giants, a scenic road lined with towering trees, and a visit to the most famous Redwood National and State Parks where you can continue walking the paths feeling like an Ewok.

    Death Valley National Park

    Although most of the scenes set on the planet Tatooine were shot in Tunisia, some sequences were set in Death Valley. The places that lovers of the saga will find particularly familiar are:

     

    • Near theArtist's palette: once you have left the car in the specific area, you will have to climb a small hill right next to the parking lot, from which you will dominate the area used for the shooting in which R2-D2 goes through a canyon solo. Also in this area if you head on a promontory this time south of the parking lot you will find yourself in the place where the scene with the Sandcrawler was shot on which R2-D2 is conducted (although in this case there is no unanimity of reviews from fans).
    • Il Twenty Mule Team Canyon was used as a location in Return of the Jedi when C-3PO and R2-D2 attempt to reach the palace of Jabba the Hutt.
    • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and its hills that can be seen in the background are the setting for the discussion between R2-D2 and C-3PO on the direction to take once they land on Tatooine.
    • The gorges of the scenographic Golden Canyon they are the place where the Jawas hide as they wait for the best time to capture R2-D2.
    • From the scenic peak of the Dante's View you will be able to observe what in the film will become the area of Mos Eisley which Obi-Wan, Luke and the droids observe from the top of a promontory. Once you are on this spectacular plateau I suggest you listen to this soundtrack.

    But this national park is not alone location di Star Wars; you can discover all the secrets of this place, the best points of view and all the warnings to take in case you decide to visit it, by reading our section entirely dedicated to Death Valley.



    Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area

    Very close to the city of Yuma in Arizona and the border with Mexico, but still in California, some scenes of Return of the Jedi were shot. More precisely in the Buttercup Valley (o Buttercup Sand Dunes) all’interno dell’Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area.

     

    In this area, also known as Algodones Dunes, the scenes with the great ship of Jabba the Hut and of Luke Skywalker who risks being thrown into the jaws of the Sarlacc who lives in the Well of Carkoon.

    Basically it is nothing more than an expanse of sand surrounded by dunes, which can only be reached with a vehicle suitable for going on the sand type dune buggy (which are the main reason this area is used), or on foot, but in this case you will need an important supply of water, sun creams and protective clothing. For this reason it tends to be an excursion not recommended. In case you still want to visit this place, I refer you to the official website of the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area managed by the Bureau of Land Management.

    Other Star Wars related locations in California

    In addition to the places we have described so far, California is also home to other attractions related to the world of Star Wars. You may be wondering why the known is missing Skywalker Ranch at the gates of San Francisco. Since it cannot be visited, nor is it visible even from the road, I believe it can be considered an almost useless stage.


    Lucasfilm Headquarters

     

    We have already mentioned them in our article on Silicon Valley. They are located in San Francisco, and while it is not possible to take a tour of the interior, if you are in the area it is definitely worth taking a picture with the statue of Yoda.


    Hollywood Walk of Fame

     

    Strolling on the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame you will naturally find numerous "stars" in homage to the actors who were part of the Star Wars saga. If you are in the area do not miss a visit to the Chinese Theater where you will find the handprints and signatures of the protagonists of Star Wars.

    Star Wars a Disneyland

     

    After the acquisition of the Star Wars brand by Disney, the well-known theme park in Los Angeles has seen fit to design an entire theme area dedicated to the "galaxy far, far away": in fact, during 2019 it was inaugurated Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, which introduces fans of the Saga to a new planet called Batuu, specially designed for the Californian park. To find out what awaits you, read our article dedicated to Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.

    In addition to this section of the park, you will also find the following two attractions in Disneyland:

    • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue: Climb aboard a Starspeeder 1000 and embark on an unforgettable journey through the galaxy.
    • Star Wars Launch Bay: there you will find a series of exhibitions, an infinite number of memorabilia on display dedicated to the saga and, among other things, a replica of Mos Eisley's Cellar.

    You can find out all the information you need to visit this unique park by reading our article dedicated to Disneyland Los Angeles.

    Star Wars a Legoland

     

    An entire section dedicated to the world of Star Wars can also be found at the famous Californian park dedicated to Lego. Well 1.5 million some famous bricks have been used to recreate some of the most famous scenarios of the Star Wars series (one for each episode).

    Please note:: unfortunately this section of the Legoland park has been dismantled since January 2020.

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