Star Wars film 'gone to dark side' for filming on ancient island of Skellig

image copyrightPA

The people behind the next Star Wars film have been accused of going to "the dark side" by filming on the stunning island of Skellig Michael.

Part of Star Wars: The Force Awakens is being shot on the stunning rock formation which lies off the Irish coast in the Atlantic.

But An Taisce, the National Trust for Ireland, is worried it will be damaged by the film crew. The Irish government says that won't happen and that it will be good for tourism.

The crew are back on the island to film extra scenes for the movie which is released in the UK on 17 December.

image copyrightdisney

Charles Stanley-Smith, from An Taisce, said that he "supports the role of film in promoting Ireland's wonderful built and natural heritage".

"But this cannot be done at the cost of destroying it.

"All to satisfy the transient interest of a film company whose purpose is to use this internationally significant Unesco World Heritage Site - merely as film set."

The island is home to lots of puffins and rare birds.

And it contains some of the best-preserved remains of early Christian monasteries which may date back to the sixth century.

A group of monks lived there until the 13th century and there are tales of a "miraculous supply of wine".

image copyrightLucasfilm

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys confirmed that she has granted consent for Lucasfilm to use the site.

"Skellig Michael is one of our most dramatic and beautiful islands.

"It is very easy to understand why its stunning scenery has caught the attention of the makers of one of the world's biggest film franchises.

"I have balanced the positive benefit it will reap for the Irish film industry and the South Kerry region with the need to ensure that the island's unique environment and wildlife is fully protected."

image copyrightLucasfilm

It's not the only drama connected to the location.

There are reports that Luke Skywalker nearly fell down the rock.

image copyrightStar Wars/Instagram

The actor playing him, Mark Hamill, is understood to have been saved from tumbling down a steep mountainside by a fast-thinking guide.

A witness said he would've been a "goner" had he not been caught.

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