In many ways, Star Wars is irreplaceable — but the same can’t be said for some of the places it was filmed. Located in London, England, Elstree Studios is the home of the original Star Wars trilogy, with six of the studios’ ‘stages’ all being used by George Lucas to bring the beloved franchise to life.
Lucas started filming Star Wars: A New Hope in 1976 at Stage Eight of the studio. In fact, he filmed all the original Star Wars movies in order there, with Star Wars cast members like Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher bringing the best science fiction movie to life on the grounds of Elstree.
Now, it looks like the home of the best movie trilogy ever is being destroyed for good. But don’t worry, that isn’t because the Empire is planning on destroying Elstree with the Death Star — it’s just not that safe to film in anymore.
According to the BBC, the decision was made after unsafe concrete was found in a roof, and a recent report cited suggests that the building is “at least 100 years old and past its useful life.” Additionally, the local council is cited by the BBC as saying in July that several of the building’s roofs were in a “dangerous state.”
Elstree was such a pivotal part of Star Wars history that its biggest stage, Stage 6, was specifically built for filming The Empire Strikes Back. Lucasfilm relied less on Elstree to film the prequel trilogy, but a number of key moments in Revenge of the Sith, including a scene between Star Wars characters Anakin Skywalker and Padme, were filmed in the studio, according to the Borehamwood & Elstree Times.
In a 2005 interview with the outlet, Rick McCallum, producer of Revenge of the Sith, described the studio as their “home.”
“We could have shot anywhere in the world,” he said, “but Elstree’s our home, even when we’re not shooting here, we have a production office there.”
RIP Elstree – gone (ish), but not forgotten. Although a lot of the new Star Wars movies and Star Wars series rely on Pinewood Studios instead, could these renovations mean we can see a return to Elstree for the new movies? Let’s hope so.