There’s no doubt that the incredible Salar de Uyuni is one of the most amazing places on Earth. Spanning an area of over 10,000km², there is something quite mesmerizing about the vastness of the beautiful salt flats. One of the most traveled to destinations in Bolivia, the salt flats formed as a result of transformations between several prehistoric lakes, creating one of the flattest naturally-formed places on Earth. It was this beauty that resulted in the creation of the famous Salar de Uyuni Star Wars scene, making use of the vast, flat land to film one of the most epic Star Wars battles to date.
Although the Bolivian salt flats are undoubtedly beautiful, they are most famous for the incredible photo opportunity the perfectly flat surface represents. Alongside the beautifully reflective white salt underfoot, this phenomenon of nature allows travelers in the area to experiment with perspective in their photos, creating some fantastic, rather confusing images. There is always something amazing about a toy dinosaur that looks 100 ft tall! With a little imagination, the photo opportunities at the Salar de Uyuni truly are boundless.
When you take your first step onto the magical salt flats, there is almost a sense of being in a galaxy far, far away. Maybe it was this exact feeling that Star Wars director Rian Johnson had when he first set his eyes on the white wonderland. The proclaimed director chose the famous Salar de Uyuni as the set for his most recent work; ‘Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi’. Had the largest salt flats in the world not been a sought-after destination in the south of Bolivia before, the newest edition in the Star Wars series has made it just that, displaying the beautiful white wonderland in all its glory.
The latest episode of the Star Wars series introduces us to the icy planet of Crait in a remote corner of the galaxy. The strange place is pitched to us as a mineral planet, the rich red sediment of the planet’s crust is covered by an everlasting layer of salt precipitated from the skies above much like rain falls here on Earth. A strange concept, but this allows for one of the most exciting battles in the Star Wars series to date. Only when the layer of salt above is broken does the blood-like red mineral below become exposed, creating an effect similar to the planet itself bleeding from its war wounds as the battle taking place above leaves its scars on the surface of the magical wonderland.
With the creation of this mysterious planet, the stage was set. Crait, and the Salar de Uyuni was the scene of the final battle of Episode VIII and it didn’t disappoint. For those who haven’t seen the most recent movie I will avoid spoilers, but the Bolivian Salt Flats was host to an instrumental battle to the Star Wars story between the Resistance and the First Order and the beautiful planet that was the salt flats had a huge part to play in creating the scene!
Through the use of machinery and many special effects, Rian Johnson managed to bring the Bolivian Salt Flats to life as the Salar de Uyuni Star Wars planet of Crait. Possibly the most famous sequence from ‘The Last Jedi’, shows the fascinating shot of the Resistance fighter planes gliding along the Crait surface, sending a plume of red mineral dust up in its wake like a jet ski in water. To do this, Johnson employed the use of pick-up trucks loaded with red smoke spraying from its rear, creating incredible parallel streaks across the Salar de Uyuni surface. Not even the smallest detail was overlooked by the director to ensure the battle of Crait was as gripping as possible for the viewer.
For the parts of the battle that couldn’t be recreated on the salt flats, hours of tireless work were spent in the studio working with special effect teams and in green rooms, allowing the battle of Crait to totally come to life, capturing viewers around the world in the process. There is no doubt that Rian Johnson created one of the best Star Wars movie ever made with his work on the 8th rendition of the series and, with the help of the beautiful Salar de Uyuni, the movie had some of the most incredible scenes in the series to date. Had the Bolivian Salt Flats not been a well-known destination before, Star Wars has now put it on the map as one of the most incredible locations in all of South America, and a must-see for all traveling this beautiful continent!
So what are you waiting for? For more information on the Salar de Uyuni, salt flats tours and how you can visit the mystical planet of Crait check out our page on the different tours available here!