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You can finally take a train to the Star Wars
planet of Hoth

In 1979, a tiny town in Norway became an iconic part of the "Star Wars" franchise. Now, Finse is getting ready for an exclusive fanjets.

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The battle scenes from the ice planet Hoth in the 1980 classic "The Empire Strikes Back" are some of the most iconic in the Star Wars franchise – and they were shot in Norway.

 

At the beginning of 1979, Luke, Leia and Han (or Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford) traveled to the small town of Finse and its nearby glacier Hardangerjøkulen to shoot the film, facing frostbite and blizzards along the way.

During the weekend of the 17th to the 19th of February, Finse will celebrate the film shoot with a gathering of fans at Finse 1222, the same hotel the stars and crew stayed at during the film shoot. The name of the event? Visit Hoth.

"We're celebrating the shoot more than the film itself," project head Andreas Frølich says.

Former Norwegian crew members will be among those present throughout the weekend, wearing sweaters signaling they were part of the shoot in 1979.

"A lot of Norwegians were there during filming, and they're still with us. Meaning you can walk around looking at old pictures from the shoot while they tell you about it."

There has been a lot of interest in the event already. With upwards of 100 beds at the hotel, room is limited and this year's event sold out right away.

 

VISIT HOTH, der kommer mye nytt på bordet. MYE! #visithoth #empirestrikesback #starwars

Et bilde publisert av Andreas Frølich (@onkelandreas)

"It's going to be a very charming festival," says Frølich, whose day job is directing films and commercials.

He had the idea for Visit Hoth during one of his annual trips to Finse, where he noticed a distinct lack of Star Wars, despite the town's strong connection to the film series.

Frølich, who characterizes his relationship with the three first films as "a lifelong love" that sparked his interest in film, also has a personal connection to the Finse shoot itself.

 

Fottur. På linje for å skjule spor. Finse 1979. #visithoth #finse1222 #starwars #empirestrikesback

Et bilde publisert av Andreas Frølich (@onkelandreas)

"My father's cousin, Per Poppe, created the jackets that the crew would wear during the shoot."

Andreas Frølich

In 2015 an article about Poppe in Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, featuring unseen photos from the set, received a lot of attention. On the heels of the renewed interest, Frølich returned to Finse to inquire about the possibility of establishing a museum.

"The locals said they'd been ashamed for years for not offering visitors anything connected to the films, so they said 'what can we do?'"

Until a permanent museum is in place, the event is Frølich's way of celebrating the meeting between Norway and Hollywood.

The celebrations are kicked off even before the guests arrive at the hotel. When stars Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher traveled to Finse back in 1979, they took the train.

With that in mind, The Norwegian State Railways, who are sponsoring the event, will decorate the interior of one of their trains for a special train ride transporting both fans and the event's special guests over the picturesque Bergen railway to Finse.

 

On arrival, guests can go dog sledding to filming locations on the glacier, while C3PO and R2D2 will turn up with the Norwegian 501 Nordic Garrison in their Star Wars costumes.

The guest of honour is Craig Miller, head of fan relations between 1977 and 1980 and the man behind Darth Vader's autograph whenever requests for signed photos came in.

"He'll be telling a bunch of wild tales about how he managed to market the first film on a tiny budget, and what happened when they had a bigger budget for the second film," Frølich says.

"Bjørn Jacobsen will also be there. He was the Norwegian producer from what was then known as FOX Norway, and the man who said 'what about Finse?' He set the sights of the production on the town, so we have a lot to thank him for."

For more peeks at how the weekend turns out, follow Visit Hoth on Facebook.

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