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This Is Where Dune 2021 Was Actually Filmed

Director Denis Villeneuve's "Dune: Part One" has just been released to theaters and HBO Max, much to the delight of eager moviegoers and sci-fi fans everywhere. With a renowned director (Villeneuve's past work includes 2016's "Arrival" and 2017's "Blade Runner: 2049") and a stellar ensemble cast — including the likes of Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa, and Javier Bardem — there's a lot to be excited about with this new adaptation of the classic 1965 Frank Herbert novel of the same name. Set far into the future, the film follows Paul Atreides (Chalamet) and his family as they fight for the control of the desert planet Arrakis, which is the only planet with access to a very valuable substance.

So far, the reviews have been mostly positive — the film currently holds an 84% Tomatometer score and an even higher 94% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. One element that has garnered some of the most praise is the film's visual scope, including its production design and cinematography. During an on-air review of "Dune," NPR host Bob Mondello called the film "two and a half hours of visual magnificence" and declared, "cinematic sandcastles as impressive as Villeneuve's 'Dune' don't come often."

Those watching the film will likely also be blown away by the gorgeous visuals presented on screen. And once the awe settles, you may be curious about the logistical aspects of the film's production — such as, where was "Dune" filmed?

Abu Dhabi and Wadi Rum became Arrakis

As reported by Cinemaholic, two main shooting locations used to bring the planet Arrakis to life were Abu Dhabi in United Arab Emirates and Wadi Rum, Jordan. In Abu Dhabi, the cast and crew spent 11 days filming in a desert referred to as the Empty Quarter in Liwa Oasis, Abu Dhabi.

Director Denis Villeneuve spoke with Abu Dhabi Film Commission about shooting in Liwa Oasis. Villeneuve said, "What I found in Abu Dhabi is unmatchable. There's a scale to the dunes and the desert in a variety of shapes that we thought was absolutely mesmerizing. There's also some climatic conditions there that were perfect for us because of the proximity to the city. It's like a strange kind of haze in that air that I was looking for that matched totally with the look of the film."

Additionally, they filmed in Wadi Rum, Jordan, where they utilized beautiful rock formations. On filming in Wadi Rum, Production Designer Patrice Vermette told The New York Times, "There is this thing that hits you — you're humbled by the magnitude. It was a spiritually amazing experience just to be there." Adding on to that, star Jason Momoa told Visit Jordan, "Going to Jordan was a monumental moment in my life. I've never seen a desert like that. I'm a rock climber, I've never seen rocks like that."

Additional filming took place in various European countries

The cast and crew also got to film in Europe. To create the planet Caladen, known for its oceans, they shot in the peninsula of Stadlandet, Norway, which is surrounded by the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea (via Cinemaholic). Production Designer Patrice Vermette told Condé Nast Traveler, "Very early, I said that Norway — the northern part of Norway, not the fjords, but the seaside — would be interesting to explore ... It was such dramatic light on those islands and the cliff sides — it was just spectacular."

Austria and Slovakia, which both have plenty of gorgeous mountain landscapes and other natural beauties, also served as filming locations. The cast and crew also spent time in Budapest, Hungary, where they shot interior scenes at soundstages at Origo Studio.

Speaking of the four main shooting locations — Wadi Rum, Abu Dhabi, Norway, and Budapest — Vermette told Conde Nast Traveler, "Without those four places, there is no 'Dune.'"