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Jebel Rum

Wadi Rum
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Jebel Rum

Jordanians have long known the beauty of Wadi Rum, but film-makers have been a little slower off the mark. Humming the theme tune to Lawrence of Arabia while cresting a dune is de rigeur of course, but it's only recently that Hollywood has worked out that rusty sands and rock have something rather more extraterrestrial about them. If you've seen visit Jebel Rum and its sister mountains after seeing them recently on the big screen, you might expect to see a Star Destroyer hovering overhead, or a band of plucky rebels hiding among its crags, hoping to bring down a galactic empire. The scenery here stood in for the planet Jedha in the Star Wars movie Rogue One, with the Star Wars crew returning here in 2018 to shoot part of The Rise of Skywalker. Jordan's Royal Film Commission has proved increasingly successful in recent years attracting the studios to the region, and location filming is proving an important new pillar of the local economy. The boom kicked off in 2015 when The Martian was shot in Wadi Rum – you can see Matt Damon's Mars exploration vehicle on display at the Royal Automobile Exhibition in Amman.