Star Wars: An Awakening for Film in Cumbria?

The Force…it’s calling to you! Especially since advance ticket sales for the opening night of Star Wars Episode VII:The Force Awakens on December 17th have already smashed UK box office records. Bedlam ensued after the first full trailer for the hugely anticipated film was released just over a couple of weeks ago, promptly sending the internet into hyperspace. Racking-up over 83 million views on YouTube and Facebook alone in the first six days. An amazing figure, that edged closer to 130 million views when all the other social video platforms were included. It appears there has been a worldwide re-awakening for all things Star Wars! And for Cumbria, there is the added spice of the film including scenes featuring the unmistakable twin backdrops of Derwentwater and Thirlmere. Although still unconfirmed officially, reports of a crew staying in Borrowdale last year filming around the shores of Manesty Park, undoubtedly cemented what had already been glimpsed in the trailers. A few enticing snippets featured X-Wing fighters speeding across Derwentwater with the iconic outline of Blencathra standing proud in the distance. Whilst the main trailer revealed jaw-dropping dog-fights between Tie-fighters and X-Wings over Thirlmere. Then the first TV advert landed out of nowhere along with an International trailer showing off more new amazing footage.

The Millennium Falcon cruises across Derwentwater
The Falcon cruises below Walla Crag heading across Derwentwater, to Maz Kanata’s castle.

The thirty second spot ad begins with an awesome shot of the Millennium Falcon cruising across the surface of Derwentwater with the majestic outlines of Catbells and Maiden Moor on the right-handside. One of the most familiar scenes in the Lake District has been transformed into the planet Takodana, home to the so-called pirate queen Maz Kanata, whose ancient castle the ship is heading to.

Watch the TV spot ad here:

For now, we can only continue to speculate on the full role played by the Lake District in the renewed battle of the light side versus the dark side.  It really is quite remarkable how the Disney marketing department have kept the film’s story under wraps for so long. And of course, the unremitting level of secrecy has brought a palpable level of hysteria until the opening in just over one month’s time. Despite all the uncertainty of how Director J.J. Abrams’ narrative will unfold, surely news of Disney’s Star Wars franchise choosing to film in Cumbria signals a new age for film in the area? It certainly is a mouth-watering prospect, and we must hope that all the publicity such a high-profile film will bring to the region is not spurned. Undoubtedly, journeys made in search of the locations in the future will provide another welcome boost to the local economy. But the most intriguing thought is what the excitement could generate for the British film industry in the long-term. After all, one of our most beautiful and dramatic landscapes deserves to play many more leading roles for Hollywood Blockbusters in the future. Perhaps Star Wars will prove to be the catalyst Cumbria and the Lake District was looking for…

If you’re lucky, there might still be tickets available for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens at selected cinemas across Cumbria, including: Brewery Arts Centre – Kendal, The Royalty Cinema – Bowness, & The Alhambra Cinema – Keswick,


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