Leave a Comment
As you might imagine, the Queen of England owns some pretty nice property in the UK. It's so nice that several movies have asked permission to film there over the years. Many have been allowed, but one of the biggest film franchises ever was denied. It turns out that Star Wars once asked permission to film in an area of Windsor Great Park, but they were not allowed due to the fact that the production would have simply been too great a risk to the park. According to Crown Estate's head of commercial operations, Nick Day...
Our head isn't turned by star names or star films. Star Wars was just such a huge thing that the risk for the park was just too great. The location they were interested in wasn't suitable for large numbers of people in there. Our priority is to maintain and protect Windsor Great Park and we can facilitate film crews if we're sure the risk to the park is minimal. But Star Wars is a huge machine, and there's also massive outside interest in those sort of things. It wasn't right for here.
The revelation that Star Wars tried to use the location came out as part of a conversation about the use of the park as the stand-in for the 100 Acre Wood in the upcoming film Goodbye Christopher Robin. Being a much smaller movie, it obviously wasn't going to have the massive cast and crew running through it that a Star Wars movie certainly would have had. Also, as Nick Day points out, a Star Wars movie filming on location would have brought out the fans trying to sneak a peek, which would have simply added to the mass of humanity.
Exactly which Star Wars movie was being filmed when the request was made is not mentioned, but Nick Day tells the BBC it was "a few years ago." Since that description makes it sound like it was longer ago than one of the recent Star Wars films, but was more recent than the original trilogy, we're probably looking at the prequels. Assuming that Star Wars was looking to film a forest scene in the same way that Goodbye Christopher Robin was, we're surmising the scene in question was the Naboo forest from Star Wars: The Phantom Menace where Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn first meet Jar Jar Binks (as seen in the image above). The scene was actually filmed on location in the UK, at Whippendell Woods in Cassiobury Park, but it's possible that was the second choice after their primary location fell through.
It seems that even the power of The Force cannot sway the powers that be that manage the Queen's Estate. They truly don't care how big the movie is, they only want to be sure that the land is not damaged in any way, which, in the end, is probably for the best.