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Not too long ago (maybe about 38 years), in a galaxy (or desert) that looks very far, far away, a film crew set up shop in one of the hottest and driest deserts in the world to film what is, quite possibly, the most famous movie franchise in the world. Now, the time to celebrate their work is upon us.
"Star Wars Episode VII" is almost here and the excitement this movie has generated could power the Death Star. Even the most casual of Star Wars fans are looking to Dec. 18, 2015 with longing.
But those who can't contain their excitement and who are looking to relive the original trilogy beforehand don't have to wait at all. While many of the scenes were filmed on movie sets, several were filmed on location - and those locations were very earthly - and accessible.
Death Valley National Park, with its other-worldly landscapes, is just a 4 1/2-hour drive from Los Angeles and two hours away from Las Vegas. And for Star Wars fans, Furnace Creek Resort, located within the park, has produced an exclusive map for guests leading them to the filming locations that are easily accessible via car and all within relatively close proxmity.
Visitors can choose to stay within the park at Furnace Creek Ranch or Furnace Creek Inn. Rates begin at $339 at The Inn and only $119 at The Ranch.
Here is a rundown of the scenes filmed in Death Valley and where they are located within the park.
Here, the panoramic establishing shot of Mos Eisley (spliced with Sidi Bouhlel footage of Luke and Obi-Wan standing on rocky outcrop) was filmed.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes was home to the scene where R2-D2 goes his own way after he and C-3P0 crash their escape pod on Tatooine (spliced with footage shot in Tunisia).
Desolation Canyon is where Tusken Raiders mount their Bantha before one of their party attacks Luke Skywalker.
Artsist's Palette and Golden Canyon
This is the canyon where R2-D2 is abducted by Jawas (spliced with footage shot at Sidi Bouhlel, Tunisia).
This is the place where the miniature Sandcrawler was filmed for the shot of R2-D2 being carried up to it by Jawas.
Twenty Mule Team Canyon
At Twenty Mule Team Canyon, C-3P0 and R2-D2 walk to the Palace of Jabba the Hutt on Tatooine.
There's even information on the shooting of a "lost scene" in which Luke Skywalker working on a new lightsaber in a cave overlooking the Millennium Falcon and his X-wing, followed by R2-D2 and C-3PO starting their trek to Jabba's palace.
And if you want to explore the universe, this is the place - it's one of the only gold-tier designated International Dark Sky Parks in the United States where stargazers can actually see the Milky Way with the naked eye.
Janeen Christoff caught the travel bug while living in London, England. After two years on the road, she settled in Los Angeles...
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