Location filming is something that can make or break a film. Take the Star Wars films, for example. They traveled to Africa and Death Valley to give Tatooine an authentic and exotic feel in A New Hope. For The Empire Strikes Back, they shot the exteriors on Hoth in Norway, going so far as to shoot Luke trudging in the snow with a camera inside their hotel in order to keep it from freezing. That dedication and workmanship showed on screen and has led to the films aging incredibly well. Consequently, the greater reliance on blue screen and CGI in the prequels led to overly simplistic use of the camera and sub par performances from usually reliable actors who had very little to work with on set.
It’s been a breath of fresh air to hear that with The Force Awakens, Kathleen Kennedy and JJ Abrams are going back to the techniques of the original trilogy, putting emphasis on practical effects and on location filming. One of those locations may have been leaked thanks to Gizmodo UK, who did an article on Hang En, the third largest cave in the world.
How do you know it’s being used in Star Wars?
Well, we don’t know for sure, but this quote is very suspicious:
“The world’s third largest cave has “rooms” that stand 330 feet high and span 600 feet across. It’s so spectacular that it’s playing home to several upcoming blockbusters, including this summer’s Pan, and others the force compels us not to disclose. We hiked through the Vietnamese jungle to explore it.”
We’re not entirely sure where the writer is getting their information, but he may have heard something while touring the location.
So, what’s the most likely story?
Honestly, if the cave was used for filming it was probably used for second unit filming, which means it’ll be used for backgrounds used in set extensions or just a good old fashioned establishing shot. While there weren’t any reports of them using Vietnam to film any material, given JJ Abrams trademark secrecy it wouldn’t be surprising if they spend a few days there and managed to keep it under the radar.
Could the location be used for Rogue One?
Most certainly. As pre-production ramps on the film, they would have to scout locations to use. It’s very possible the Rogue One team checked out the site and decided it would fit their needs perfectly. A press release will go out with Rogue One starts production which will most likely include the general areas where principle photography will commence. If they mention Vietnam in the release, it’s a good bet we’ll know what location they’ll be using in that country. We’ll also probably get a cast list and a plot premise as well. Until then, we’ll bring you the rumors as they come.