That Desert Planet In Star Wars: The Force Awakens Isn't Tatooine

You can’t mention a desert planet in the world of Star Wars without fans wondering if action will return to the two-moon planet of Tatooine. So the minute J.J. Abrams shared on-location shots of his characters and crew in the deserts of Abu Dhabi, fans wondered if we’d be detouring back to Luke Skywalker’s home planet for a spell during Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Today, we learned that isn’t the case.

While speaking from the stage at Star Wars Celebration, The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the desert planet featured prominently in Star Wars footage so far is not Tatooine, after all. It’s Jakku, a planet he promises we will be learning a lot more about… soon. When Abrams spoke about the location, he said that Star Wars needs to operate as "a western and a fairy tale" so much as it does as a sci-fi adventure, and he spoke of John Ford-esque landscapes. Well, the imagery that he shared for the planet certainly backed up those claims. This is a shot he said Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy took with an iPhone:

Kathleen Kennedy

Here we see John Boyega playing the stormtrooper Finn, in a scene that calls to mind the opening of the initial Star Wars teaser trailer.

John Boyega

And here is newcomer Daisy Ridley, playing Jakku native Rey, and receiving direction from her director, J.J. Abrams.

Daisy Ridley

So where is Jakku? As far as we can tell, it’s a new location in the Star Wars universe, though one that will be very important to the start of this trilogy. Daisy Ridley explained that her character, Rey, is a scavenger who toils away on the planet of Jakku, but her path will diverge when she meets Finn. We see shots of them running from an attack on Jakku in the new trailer:


And as Stitch Kingdom points out, Walt Disney Studios and Lucasfilm bought the domain name for, probably to add vital information in the coming months. So for the time being, it does not look like we are returning to Tatooine in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as has previously been speculated.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Having been with the site since 2011, Sean interviewed myriad directors, actors and producers, and created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.