A Fan Describes His Visit to the Star Wars: Han Solo Set at Fuerteventura!
After the Pinewood Studios shoot, the film production proceeded to the Canaries, Fuerteventura to be precise. Since the beginning of March, the base camp has been erected in the nature park of Jandia, in the southern part of the island. It is located in the dunes of El Jable on the isthmus of La Pared and consists of four large tents and approximately 20 containers, in which the pre-fabricated parts of the film set have been delivered. Furthermore there are two smaller containers as checkpoint booths and four residential containers with AC. An area of a nature park the size of two football fields was bulldozed, surrounded with an eight foot tall wire fence and floodlights, which caused some concern among local environmentalists and civilians. Within the perimeter fence some pipe elements are stored, as well as some rusty girders, which will remain as part of the film set. There are about 20 parts which can be assembled into rusty metal domes or cupolas. At first only about one quarter of the area was used, so there was plenty of space left for the complete film team when the cast and crew arrived.
The actual film set construction was almost completed by Easter and is located one kilometer southwest of the base camp in the hollow of Cañada de la Barca at the Playa Barlovento, the west coast of Fuerteventura, only 500 meters from the sea. Thus the location lies only five kilometers away from the bustling holiday resort of Costa Calma which is particularly popular with German tourists. In order to prevent interested film fans and enthusiastic hikers from straying into the area designated for filming, all sand tracks, which are used for access, have been blocked with checkpoints. Also armed security personnel of the company Atlantisegur, equipped with walkie-talkies, patrol the area day and night on foot and with 4×4 vehicles. There are two official guarded access points, one at the roundabout at Gorriones and another at the Barranco de Pecenescal.
The film set consists of two large round pavilion complexes, which look a little bit like palaces. The larger one has a diameter of 20 meters. Behind it lies a smaller pavilion with a diameter of 10 meters. Next to them are some huge industrial installations with walkways, girders, and pipelines. There are tall cylindrical structures (aka moisture vaporators), about six meters high, with extensions and antennae, and somewhat reminded me of rockets. Also there are about eight large rusty metal half spheres or cupolas with a diameter of five meters. They look severely damaged by corrosion or explosions and look a little bit like storage tanks. On the right side behind the installations are two large “turbines” on the ground, about eight meters long and with a two meter diameter. The whole complex is somehow a mixture of an industrial site similar to a refinery, and a palace.
According to local media the filming was scheduled to begin between the end of April and mid-May and include 10 days of shooting. Now at the beginning of June, filming is about to start. The filming permission issued by the film commission of the Cabildo was originally only valid until the beginning of June, but is probably being extended. After the filming the area must be reconverted to the original state. On June 2nd a NO-FLY-ZONE (below 7500 feet) was put in place to cover the whole south of Fuerteventura to protect filming.
About 350 people (cast and crew) are expected to stay in a hotel on the island. The Hotel Meliá Gorriones would be ideally suited for that purpose. It is situated near the laguna of the Playa de Sotavento, famous for the annual windsurf- and kitesurf-world championships, and is only four kilometers away from the base camp. The four-star-hotel also offers a helipad and has some experience hosting film crews. Some crew members of Ridley Scott’s Moses film Exodus are said to have stayed there in winter 2013-2014. But other stars, like Brad Pitt, preferred staying at the Five star Gran Hotel Atlantis Bahia Real in Corralejo, enjoying views of the Isla de Lobos and Lanzarote.
Han Solo’s spinoff film is the fourth large film production which has chosen Fuerteventura as a location (Others include The Dictator and the aforementioned Exodus). In addition to movies, some television series and Spanish productions have also been shot here. It is evident that Fuerteventura has firmly established its position as a renowned location in the world of film.