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Tuesday 23 September 2014

No return of the Jedi as Star Wars filming on Skellig ends

Brian Hutton

Published 31/07/2014 | 02:30

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JJ Abrams outside the Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville, County Kerry where he has been staying while filming for the new Star Wars: Episode VII. Picture by Justin Kernoghan
Mark Hamill. Picture by Justin Kernoghan

It was a wrap – as director JJ Abrams and 'Luke Skywalker' Mark Hamill left the sea-swept Skellig Michael island for the last time.

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Three days of filming for the Abrams' directed 'Star Wars: Episode VII', which had delivered a major boon for south west Kerry, had finally come to a close.

The exact nature of the scene being filmed on the World Heritage Site 12km off Co Kerry had been a closely guarded secret.

B&B owners, cafe operators and boatmen tasked with ferrying the crew and equipment out to the island had been told not to reveal any of the secrets of the expected box office hit.

The Navy was also maintaining an exclusion zone around the island to keep any wayward fans at bay.

Both Abrams and the top star Mr Hamill had been travelling by helicopter. Mr Hamill – who played Luke Skywalker in the original trilogy – also brought his wife Marilou and his adult children, Nathan, Chelsea and Griffin to the scenic part of Kerry.

The steep island, which dramatically rises more than 700 feet out of the Atlantic Ocean, is home to puffins, Manx shearwaters and storm petrels as well as guillemots and kittiwakes.

The Irish Film Board, which helps international film producers locate in Ireland, said consent was granted for a limited shoot on Skellig Michael after extensive scientific analysis by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Irish Independent

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