Okay, so, as of this writing I am the only Star Wars fan on the planet who has yet to see The Force Awakens. The news will be coming by a bit later to interview me. Seriously, I have a friend currently ensconced in a yoga boot camp in Mumbai for three months and she’s managed to see the damn thing. Me? Still hasn’t happened.
So, I’ll do the next best thing, which is tell you all about the real life Endor, just a few minutes from San Francisco, California: Muir Woods National Monument.
In case you need a reminder, Endor is a planet featured in the third of the original Star Wars films, Return of the Jedi. It’s the one with the Ewoks, those teddy bear-looking things that helped Luke and the gang fight off the Empire.
The Endor scenes, which include spectacular speeder chases and the destruction of entirely impractical but undeniably cool walkers, were all filmed in Muir Woods, a magical forest of towering, centuries-old redwoods.
It’s difficult to express or describe how stunning the place is, but the fact it was used to portray an alien planet should tell you something. There truly is something otherworldly about Muir Woods. Standing among those massive trees, looking up, you can’t help but feel a tad disoriented and wonderfully insignificant. Let’s put it this way: the tallest tree in the National Park is 258ft tall; most of the trees are between 500 and 800 years old; the oldest is at least 1200 years old. These trees haven’t just been witness to the entirety of recorded North American history, they were around when Genghis Khan ruled the Mongols!
But, of course, from a purely historical perspective, the Muir Woods’ importance is and always will be as the home of the Ewoks of Endor and the setting of one of the most important battles between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire.