The Force Awakens Irish Shooting Location Explored in New Featurette

The iconic Skellig Michael island of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is explored in a new featurette, plus new photos of Maz Kanata and Snoke

With Star Wars: The Force Awakens rapidly on its way to becoming the biggest domestic box office hit of all-time, Discover Ireland has posted the first official video exploring historic Skellig Michael island, perhaps the most hotly-debated and instantly-iconic new location in the film. At the same time, the official Star Wars Facebook page has revealed two new images featuring our best look (outside the film, of course) at 1000-year-old Chewbacca fangirl Maz Kanata as well as the big bad Space Voldemort himself, Supreme Leader Snoke. Check out the spoiler-free video below, along with the new pics in the gallery!

Without giving anything away, those who have seen the film already (there’s a few of you, yes?) know how pivotal this island is to the plot of both The Force Awakens as well as the next chapter in the saga, with all the actors seen on the location in J.J. Abrams’ film returning to Skellig Michael this past September to capture new footage for Star Wars: Episode VIII under director Rian Johnson. Reportedly, the pre-principal photography shoot went well, but due to weather and environmental conditions much of the filming in the County Kerry heritage site (which still contains the protected ruins of a 12th century monastery) involved capturing background plates for insertion of actors at a later point.

Making Star Wars reported recently that a facsimile of the location, referred to in The Force Awakens shooting script as “Ahch-To Island,” has already been built at the Episode VIII studios in Pinewood, with the source blaming migrating birds for the necessity of having a more controlled, studio-bound set. Much of the Jakku desert scenes were shot at Pinewood and seamlessly integrated into the location footage, so fans shouldn’t worry about Ahch-To looking hokey.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, The Force Awakens stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk produced the film with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt.