Wadi Rum (Arabic: وادي رم), Jordan
Jordanian desert of Wadi Rum os top 1 location for a barred inhospitable red planes of Mars. Blockbusters that took place on Mars like The Martian, Red Planet or Last Days on Mars happened to be filmed there. Wadi Rum was also used to stage surface of a moon LV-223 where most of Prometheus took place. The valley also played planet Jedah in Rogue One “The Star Wars story”.
Wadi Rum translates to Sand Valley in Arabic where Wadi means “valley” and Rum can be interpreted as “a light kind of sand that tends to be carried by the wind”. It is also often called The Valley of the Moon. It is Jordan biggest valley and as you can see from the photos it has an alien dramatic look to it.
The valley is home to Zalabia Bedouin who offer eco-adventure tourism. Get your backpack, shorts and scorpion repellent ready. I just found you a new holiday location.
John Carter which depicts Mars less harsh than how modern people imagine it based on direct video feeds sent by Mars rovers. It is much more fairy tale planet that was imagined by the curious mind of Edgar Rice Burroughs on the dusk of the Victorian era. Multiple location of the 2012 movie “John Carter” were located in Zion National Park and it neighboring areas. Filming sites included Mount Carmel Junction, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Grand Canyon and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Zion National Park is located in southwestern Utah. It includes a wide variety of life-zones and landscapes: mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches. Thus it is as perfect for cinematography as for relaxing treks.
Vasquez Rocks are especially dear to Star Trek fans as multiple movies and TV episodes were filmed there. A location appeared so often in Star Trek: The Original Series it was facetiously called The Kirk Rock.
It is worth noting that many movies used this unique place. You can see Vasquez Rocks in The Blazing Saddles, Hail Cesar!, The Flintstones and Dante’s Peak. It was also used on a variety of TV shows like Outer Limits, Big Bang Theory, Wild Wild West, Friends, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and MacGyver.
I would argue that for Sci-fi enthusiast like me it is most famous from classic Star Trek: The Original Series episode 18 “Arena” where Vasquez Rocks played unnamed planet where Captain Kirk fought Gorn in one-on-one trial by combat.
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is named for a notorious bandit Tiburcio Vásquez which found his hideout from the law in this area in the 1870s. The area is located Sierra Pelona Mountains, California. The rock formation was formed 25 million years ago and was further exposed by San Andreas Fault uplift activity. So how long Kirk Rock has to wait for your visit?
Every Star Wars fanboy knows that Chott el Jerid in Tunisia staged for the home planet of Luke Skywalker and Anakin Skywalker. The area of the dry salty lake creates images very alien to most of us. Not many people know that Djerba, Matmata and Tozeur areas in Tunisia also were used as a Tatooine in Star Wars: The New Hope.
If you are planning to visit Chott el Jerid keep in mind that outer shots of the Lars family home stand and interior shots were filmed in two different locations that are 290 km away from each other. Outer shots of the domes were produced in Nefta and interior scenes from filmed in what is now Hôtel Sidi Driss in Matmata.
Many fans accused Star Wars: Force Awakens of being repetitive. Jakku the planet quite similar to Tattoine was filmed in the vast Rub' al Khali desert which looks quite different from Chott el Jerid in Tunisia.
The place that looked fresh in Star Wars: Force Awakens and Star Wars: Last Jedi was the secluded home of Skywalker on planet Ahch-To. The oceanic world felt quite new and exciting to Star Wars fans.
Avatar might be the wonder of modern animation but many digital landscapes of Pandora were based on places that you can actually visit on earth. One of the most amazing locations in the movie – the 'Hallelujah Mountains,' or Ayram alusìng meaning "Floating Mountains" as the Na’vi people called it is based on Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in China.
Interstellar used two Icelandic glaciers - Máfabót and Svínafellsjökull to represent two different worlds in the movie. Both locations are one hour drive from each other in the South-East of Iceland. Máfabót was used to stage the water planet in Interstellar. Svínafellsjökull glacier was used to picture Mann’s ice planet in the movie.
Hell’s Half Acre has a cool name and distinct alien appearance. The area which actually encompasses 320 acres was also called "The Devil's Kitchen", "The Pits of Hades", and "The Baby Grand Canyon". Native American tribes used the ravines to drive bison to their death during their hunts. After all this information I can only add that it was used for battle scenes on planet Klendathu in Starship Troopers. But that might be the least interesting thing about this eerie place.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture used Minerva Terrace in Yellowstone National Park in a three-day shoot of planet Vulcan. Hot springs and layered stone deposits created a very real look of the planet located 16 light years from Earth in Gene Roddenberry vision.