Not every filming location is as remote as Skellig Michael or as harsh as the Abu Dhabi deserts. Canto Bight, the capital city of the casino planet Cantonica visited in The Last Jedi, might look familiar: It’s actually the medieval city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Many other TV shows and movies have been filmed there.
“It’s really important that when we film on location, we choose somewhere that people will not associate with Earth,” says Szostak. “The closest we have gotten to something like that is Dubrovnik.”
Once filmmakers start shooting in a city or an existing temple or ruin, making sure the landscape still feels alien can become tricky. “We can’t have any real recognizable cultural elements from our planet,” says Szostak. Part of the Star Wars movie magic is maintaining the illusion that the story is unfolding a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away—even if the action is filmed right here on Earth.