A brief adventure in London – how to bag a Star Wars location without even trying.

Or … I went to London Film & Comic Con and found myself on Scarif Imperial base.

The last weekend in July saw the mass annual pilgrimage of geeks to London Film & Comic Con at Olympia. With neither the stamina nor finances to manage the full three days we opted for just the Saturday and travelled in via tube after parking at Canary Wharf. For a Doctor fan it was rather thrilling to drive through security and go into the underground car park – the building is also known as Torchwood Tower


I’ve been meaning to stop at Canary Wharf Underground Station for ages but have normally been just passing through on the Jubilee Line. Canary Wharf tube station was used as part of the imperial base on Scarif in the Star Wars film Rogue One. In the trailer we saw a glimpse of our heroes running through the station which didn’t actually appear in the final cut of the film (as with much of the trailer…) Check out this article with a link to the trailer; https://londonist.com/2016/04/what-the-heck-is-canary-whaf-tube-station-doing-in-new-star-wars-film-rogue-one


I remember seeing the photos that made the newspapers during the filming there – a great picture of stormtroopers coming down the escalator en-masse. I just imagined a worried crew member guiding them off the bottom with haste so that there wasn’t an undignified pile up of bodies at the bottom. This site has some great behind the scenes pictures and background to the filming; https://www.buzzfeed.com/scottybryan/yes-star-wars-rogue-one-was-filmed-on-the-lond?utm_term=.gheLA4kko#.ojQvwlEEg

It’s easy to see why the location was used, it is still very new and shiny looking having opened in 1999. With some clever set dressing and covering of TFL signage it does look like a very functional imperial base, only those who regularly take the tube would immediately recognise it as a tube station. Shame it’s not on screen longer.


Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs has its own film office – given how frequently is appears on film and television  I didn’t realise but it comes in a 14 of the 20 most used film locations in the world https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/film-tv-locations-mostused-top-20-central-park-new-york-city-a8214281.html

Another highlight of the day was seeing these awesome Rogue One costumers right as we walked into the show floor at London Film & Comic Con. Stunning work everyone!


Bonus TARDIS at Earls Court as well! 


On the way to Olympia we stopped at Earls Court tube to get some breakfast and joined almost a queue of fellow geeks grabbing a quick picture with the TARDIS just outside. Now this I have visited on previous trips but it was lovely to see that the police box has been repainted recently and looked particularly striking in the early morning sunshine. Check out the police box on Google maps, there’s a brilliant not so secret Easter egg – if you search for the location and then go on the street view – you can actually enter the TARDIS and see a 360 view of Matt Smith era the console room.


LFCC was fun as usual and I got to catch up with friends, my boyfriend got his picture with Peter Capaldi and I was very impressed with the number of 13th Doctor cosplayers! 


Skellig Part III

In the footsteps of Rey and Luke…

I costume as Rey with a Star Wars costuming group so there was a temptation to cosplay – but I resisted (also it’s the wrong costume – I’ve still to upgrade my Jakku Rey to Resistance Rey). But as Star Wars was the primary motivation for visiting Skellig Michael – and to be honest the whole holiday in Ireland I couldn’t not do the full location geekery. My lightsaber was the first thing I packed!


So it was with fannish glee we worked out the spot that Rey stood as she offered the lightsaber with arm outstretched. My boyfriend posed in the spot Luke stood as he turned and lowered his hood broodingly.


Rather windy, looked on by fellow tourists and puffins we did it!

The descent of Skellig Michael was more precarious than the assent. Going down you had to look beyond the steps which was rather un-nerving, especially if you have reaction sun glasses which can mess with your depth perception! Sitting down in the worst parts helped – it also allowed you to take pictures without the fear of overbalancing.


From landing to returning to our scheduled pick up by our boat we had about two hours in total on the island which was just enough to experience it. I would go back tomorrow and do it all again, my boyfriend however is just happy he survived the boat trip and the climb.

The trip to Skellig Michael is the perfect adventure for any Star Wars fan. It is simply stunning – there’s ancient history, wildlife and breath-taking landscapes. With a bit of forward planning it’s easy to do – weather permitting of course.

Useful info;

I’d highly recommend the B&B we stayed at on Valentia Island just over the bridge from Portmagee Carraig Leith House.

Visit Skellig Experience for an understanding of the significance of Skellig Michael and why it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Enjoy a pint or two in The Moorings

And a hot chocolate and free samples at the Skellig Chocolate Factory!

Star Wars may have been the trigger for making the trip to that part of Ireland but the places we visited – Cork, Valentia Island and Waterville, Killarney and Kenmare made a fantastic holiday even without the geekery.

BTW there’s a Lord of the Rings themed bar in Killarney that has excellent ale…