You can go ahead and thank The Force Awakens for putting Skellig Michael on the global stage.
Located off the coast of County Kerry, Ireland, that rocky, primordial outcrop initially doubled as Ahch-To in J.J. Abrams’ franchise revival, and with Star Wars: The Last Jedi looming large, it won’t be too long before Rian Johnson whisks us back to Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way.
It’s purportedly the site of the last Jedi Temple, which goes some way to explaining why the great Luke Skywalker has spent so long in exile. But when detailing The Last Jedi‘s Irish shoot in a recent interview with JOE.ie (via ComicBook.com), Mark Hamill admitted that stepping foot on Skellig Michael conjured up a feeling in him that he hadn’t felt since the original Star Wars trilogy.
I remember, I had this feeling that rushed over me when I was at the top of [island] Skellig Michael, because the first thing we did on the original Star Wars, before Carrie [Fisher] came over or Harrison [Ford] came over. I went with Sir Alec [Guinness] and Anthony [Daniels] and Kenny Baker – the two droids – and we went and we did the desert scenes in Tunisia.
Indeed, the remoteness of Skellig Michael imbued The Last Jedi‘s Irish shoot with an otherworldly feel, and that’s something Mark Hamill likened to his time spent in the sun-scorched desert of Tunisia, which originally doubled as Tatooine all those years ago.
We were out on the salt flats, which was 360 degrees of horizon, because it was built over- nothing grows there, because there was salt water underneath. And in between shots if I turned away and had the crew to my back, you could look out and in this unearthly terrain and the robots by your side and the floating car and the stand, and you’re in this outfit… It was very easy to just be transported and really feel like you were in a galaxy far, far away.
As a matter of fact, Hamill went on to admit the he “got the chills” while shooting Star Wars: The Last Jedi in Ireland, which tells us that the decision to film on location in Skellig Michael ought to lend the sequel a degree of authenticity that just can’t be replicated through CGI.
It was just – y’know, I got the chills. And I never had that feeling again, until – not in Empire, when we went to Norway, it was brutally cold, but snow is snow, I’ve seen it before. In Jedi, we went to the Redwood forest [of northern California], and again, gorgeous, but again, it was something that I was familiar with.