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Seville and the Star Wars Saga

The Plaza de España is one of Seville’s major landmarks, along with the Cathedral and the Golden Tower (Torre del Oro) and is listed as a Cultural Interest Site. It was designed by Aníbal González as part of the María Luisa Park, chosen as the fairgroundfor the 1929 Ibero-American Exhibition. It is the largest open square in Seville and was designed in the Regionalist style in predominantly brick and ceramic.

Naboo? A District in Seville?

In Episode II: Attack of the Clones, (2002), the monumental Plaza de España was transformed into Theed, the capital of Naboo, the planet ruled by Queen Amidala. In the famous scene in the galactic movie, Anakin and Amidala talk about their relationship while strolling through the square. Naturally, in post-production, the classical tiles depicting the regions of Spain were removed.

Truth be told, it was merely a two-minute scene, and not a crucial one in the film. But, that matters little. The fact is that the peerless beauty of the Plaza de España was enough to captivate George Lucas and persuade him to shoot a scene there with two of the leading stars in the saga. And, naturally, the endearing droid, R2-D2, was also included.

The shoot took place in September 2000 and was completed in practically two days, long enough to create upheaval in Seville after a legion of actors, producers, technicians and others descended on the city, joined by thousands of onlookers and those jostling to secure a part as extras in the legendary galactic saga. In the end, only some 50 privileged people were selected as extras, by which they managed to become immortalised as citizens of Naboo strolling through the square.

Seville – A Film Set

The Plaza de España has also featured in other films, including Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and The Dictator (2012). However, there are also other monuments that have become enshrined on the big screen for posterity, serving as backdrops for such stars as Tom Cruise, or characters like Captain Alatriste. But, what did George Lucas, Ridley Scott or Agustín Díaz Yanes see in Seville that prompted them to choose it as a set for their movies? The city’s cultural and urbanistic wealth, its cuisine, good communications network, excellent climate and plethora of leisure offerings are not only ideal for filming, but also for a getaway at any time of the year.

The Reales Alcázares are yet another frequent backdrop in the city’s film history, having acted as a splendid setting for such movies as Reds, by Warren Beatty, Alatriste, by Agustín Díaz Yanes and 1492: Conquest of Paradise, by Ridley Scott, who also directed Kingdom of Heaven there. It is the oldest royal palace still in current use in Europe. Peter I commissioned its building in the 14th century and its interior houses vestiges of the three most prominent cultures in the Iberian Peninsula during the Middle Ages – Jewish, Arab and Christian.

Other Seville landmarks that have been immortalised in filmmaking include the Cathedral, built over a former mosque and the third largest church in Christendom, in addition to La Giralda, the Indies Archive and the Santa Cruz District. These buildings, sited in the old city, formed the backdrop to Knight and Day, a heady movie directed by James Mangold, featuring Tom Cruise and Cameron Díaz fleeing from their enemies on motorbike. The same set was used for several scenes in the Spanish film, Nadie conoce a nadie, by Mateo Gil, starring Eduardo Noriega, Jordi Mollà and Natalia Verbeke. Lastly, and also within the world of Spanish cinema, we have Carmen, whose main star is Paz Vega. In this movie, the scenes in the tobacco factory were shot in the present-day Seville University Rectorate. The building is well worth visiting. Erected in the 18th century, it is second in size only to El Escorial in all of Spain.

Make haste to relive those moments in cinema history. And, now that we are graced with the premiere of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, what better way to pay tribute to the saga by visiting the stunning setting of one of its films? Come to Seville with Vueling and may the force be with you!

Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicación

Images by Turismo de Sevilla


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