Saturday 24 March 2018

'Star Wars' cast says farewell to Malin and heads for Mizen

Veteran ‘Star Wars’ star Mark Hamill waves goodbye to Donegal as he leaves his secluded hotel with his pet dog Millie. Photo: North West Newspix
Veteran ‘Star Wars’ star Mark Hamill waves goodbye to Donegal as he leaves his secluded hotel with his pet dog Millie. Photo: North West Newspix
Actress Daisy Ridley arrives at Cork Airport to begin filming. Photo: Provision

Greg Harkin and Ralph Riegel

The Galactic Empire and the Sith better watch out - the 'Star Wars' franchise has arrived to film key rebel alliance and Jedi scenes in the Rebel County.

Top actors Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Daisy Ridley (Rey) were whisked away to west Cork without entering the main Cork Airport terminal building yesterday after partying into the early hours in north Donegal.

They toured pubs and restaurants around Inishowen late into the night to thank locals for their hospitality.

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At McGrory's Hotel in Culdaff, Ridley and 'Star Wars' director Rian Johnson joined in a traditional music session.

"We had a great time hosting Daisy, Rian and the others," said hotel manager Suzanne McFeely.

"They all said they were planning to return on private holidays and we're looking forward to that. The weather was superb all weekend, though it had its downsides as they had to take water to the set for rain scenes.

"I told them it's always this sunny in north Donegal."

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Mark Hamill went to meet locals at Farren's Bar in Malin Head, saying he would also be back for a holiday.

"I love it (Donegal), it's gorgeous and everyone has made us feel like part of the family," he said.

Filming switches today from the country's most northerly point to its most southerly point at Mizen Head.

A private Boeing 767-300 touched down at Cork Airport at 2.30pm and whisked off the crew and stars in a fleet of Land Rovers and buses.

Around 30 'Star Wars' fans gathered at the airport to catch a glimpse of their heroes.

Read More: Donegal's Force: Can the north-west exploit its Star Wars potential?

One mother even brought her son clad in Imperial Storm Trooper attire.

As yet untitled, Star Wars Episode VIII is expected to top even the record-breaking performance of its predecessor, Star Wars Episode VII 'The Force Awakens.'

Storm trooper turned rebel fighter John Boyega (Finn) has already hinted that the new film will be entirely different.

He said: "(Director) Rian Johnson is great. It's a different take - darker, bigger. Someone will say, 'How do you get bigger than 'Force Awakens'?' But it is crazy."

Having filmed extensive scenes at Skellig Michael off Kerry and at Malin Head in Donegal, the arrival of the 'Star Wars' team at Mizen has proved a God-send for Irish tourism and the Wild Atlantic Way.

The filming in west Cork will be focused on a spot at Brow Head, some 4km east of Mizen Head and at the southern end of the mainland facing the famous wave-lashed headland.

Some filming will also be undertaken around several abandoned mines and their derelict operations buildings.

Sets for the 10-day Mizen filming sequence have been under construction in Barleycove over the course of the past three weeks.

Irish Independent

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