Time Out celebrates the UAE's important role in the new Star Wars film. Star Wars: The Force Awakens premiere was held in Abu Dhabi, at Emirates Palace
The list of awesome things about Star Wars is certainly longer than the opening credit role, but here’s our list as why Abu Dhabi is the leading force in the movie
Location location location The planet Jakku - or the Liwa desert to most - is the stunning backdrop to several big scenes. But if you manage to avoid the Startroopers, there’s plenty to do in this vast expanse of sand. You can get more action than Luke Skywalker while dune bashing, camping or quad biking.
Aldar HQ Cities across the world rolled out the red carpet, put up some posters and blew up some balloons. But only in Abu Dhabi did they decorate one of the most iconic buildings with a 100-metre installation. The buildings facade features a Starkiller Base from the latest installation of the franchise.
Silver screen, golden venue With other premieres happening in other locations around the world, including London, England, where else but Abu Dhabi had the screening in a palace? Only in the UAE. There were squads of Stormtroopers and plenty of glamorous people rocking the red carpet all under the roof of Emirates Palace.
Sisters of the sand It may be a small role, but every actor needs to start somewhere. Emirati talent is flourishing right now with directors such as Ali Mustafa paving the way. And there’s more local talent who will feature in the movie. Twin sisters Liana and Thea Shengelaia from the UAE had a walk-on role for the blockbuster as rich twins shopping in a market place.
The future is bright The next generation of Star Wars 'stars' entered the limelight with sand between their toes, as some of the first scenes that were shot for the movie happened in the capital. And thanks to TwoFour54’s 30 percent rebate programme, Hollywood’s elite will no doubt be coming back to the city to film more great blockbusters.
Turns out those from galaxies far far away enjoy frolicking on the dunes just as much as we do. Rey (Daisy Ridley) after scavenging through an old spaceship wreckage, she slides down a giant sand dune on her haulage sledge, back to her hovering speeder. Was this the famous Moreeb dune in Liwa desert? Quite possibly, but there were no 4x4s in sight trying to scale it…
Dog fight in the dunes
After Rey (Ridley) and Fin (John Boyega) cross paths in Jakku, the desert planet, they find themselves trying to flee as Stormtroopers swoop in for an attack. The duo jump into an old spaceship – Rey as captain and Fin as gunman – and bumble their way out of Jakku. But with Tie Fighters on their tail, they need to shack them off. Cue the Abu Dhabi desert for an epic dog fight, as the ships meander in and out of sand dunes and more ship wreckages.