At the annual Star Wars Celebration event in London last weekend, "Rogue One" director Gareth Edwards finally revealed where everyone in a galaxy far, far, away likely goes to get away from it all.
“Sometimes you’ve got to take one for the team,” joked Edwards to the audience. “We tried to use real-world locations, and it just so happened that "Rogue One" was partly set in this paradise world, so we had to go to paradise to film it.”
Called Scarif, the new planet of crystal blue waters, palm trees, and sandy beaches is a refreshing character in a "Star Wars" universe that has previously given us everything from frozen plains to desert dunes and lush forests. (And let's be honest, if you had to spend years building a Death Star, doing it in orbit around a tropical paradise is a pretty decent way to attract thousands of qualified independent contractors.)
The Six Senses resort on Laamu Atoll: Where Darth Vader goes for a little R&R.; (Photo: Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spa/Facebook)
To find their new alien world on Earth, the location scouts for "Rogue One" settled on Laamu Atoll, a remote series of islands in the Maldives featuring pristine beaches and lagoons. According to various sources, shooting took place on Baresdhu Island and Laamu Gan. The latter is dotted with the ruins of ancient Buddhist temples and several pyramid-like stupas, though it's unclear if any of these relics will be featured in the film.
“It’s a style that is unlike any other 'Star Wars' movie,” LucasFilm President Kathleen Kennedy said at the panel’s opening. “This is going to be an incredibly immersive experience.”
According to Edwards, the stormtroopers shown moving ominously through the silver waters of Scarif were actually played by members of the Maldivian Army. That said, the science-fiction franchise isn't apparently as well known in the Maldives as in other parts of the world.
“Do you know what any of this is?” Edwards said he asked the military men. "'No, they said. 'Do you feel really stupid?' 'Yes.'"
Those fans wanting to experience the tropical "Star Wars" getaway of their dreams will want to start saving now. The cheapest price for a week's stay at Sixth Senses, the Laamu Atoll's only resort, will set you back about $7,000.
Update: In a tweet sent after this story was published, Ibrahim H. Shihab, the international spokesperson for the president of the Maldives, let us know that the country is very much indeed big fans of the "Star Wars" franchise.
For more glimpses of the "Star Wars" galaxy's newest hotspot for rest and relaxation, check out the behind-the-scenes sizzle reel for "Rogue One" below.