Star Wars Day: We take a look at Bedford's link to the mighty film franchise - with three of the movies filmed at Cardington Hangers

May the Fourth be with you

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 12:01 am
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 11:22 pm

As fans across the world celebrate Star Wars Day today (May 4), it's a great chance for Bedford devotees of the movie to brag about our connection to the franchise.

Not one, not two but three films were partially shot at the mighty Cardington Hangars near Bedford, which has also served as rehearsal space for such acts as Paul McCartney, Take That and U2 over the years.

First up is Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. Released in 1977, a scene was filmed at the front of Shed 1, which played the part of Yavin 4 - the jungle-covered fourth moon.

How the hanger appeared on film in A New Hope

It was heavily disguised using a matte painting of the front of the large stone-faced base. On the original cut of the movie you could still see the girders of Shed 1 - but in later digital restorations it was cleaned up.

Next up is Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Released in 2016, a large set was built on the front of Shed 2 - the actual base was physically built on the front of the shed.

Again, Yavin 4 took shape here and could be easily seen from the A600.

Lastly, Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. Released in 2019, a large part of an imperial star destroyer was built inside Shed 2

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story being filmed at Cardington Hangars

It was for the scene where Finn - played by British actor John Boyega - lands with a team and attacks on the top of the ship.

So why May 4th?

That's easy - "May the fourth" is simply a lispy take on the franchise's much uttered phrase, "May the Force be with you."

And what happens on Star Wars Day?

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story being filmed at Cardington Hangars

In recent years, the unofficial Star Wars Day has become something of an annual tradition, growing in size with each passing iteration.

Brands jump on the bandwagon, offering deals and bargains on Star Wars-related products, and a number of special events are often held.

This year Disney+ will be releasing The Bad Batch on Star Wars Day; the latest animated spin-off series. The second episode will hit the streaming service on Friday, May 7, with subsequent episodes coming every Friday.

The Star Wars movies aren't the only time Hollywood has descended on Bedford - The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 and Justice League were all partialy filmed at Cardington Hangars.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story being filmed at Cardington Hangars
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story being filmed at Cardington Hangars