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Fans of the Star Wars franchise on May 4 celebrate Star Wars Day, named for the pun “May the Fourth be with you,” a play on the series’ catchphrase “May the Force be with you.”

If you celebrate, you might dress up as a Jedi, drink blue milk and binge the series’ films and TV shows. But if you’re in the UAE, you could also visit some of the sites featured in scenes from 2015’s “Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens” and mix a little geological science with your science-fiction.

Abu Dhabi’s westernmost Al Dhafra region stood in for the alien desert planet Jakku in the movie. The real Jakku, Rub’ al Khali, also known as the Empty Quarter, is the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass. The area, 583,000 kilometers, is about the size of France and has about as much sand as the Sahara Desert. It also reaches into Oman, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Here, like the film’s hero Rey, you can slide down enormous dunes on a sled. Be warned: You’ll need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle and desert savvy.

According to NASA’s Earth Observatory, the sand may come from different sources. The reddish sand in the southern part may have traveled via wadis, streams that form during the rainy season. Other sands may have accumulated as sea levels rose and fell, exposing grains in the Persian Gulf that may have been carried to the desert by winds.

Crews also filmed Al Wathba fossil dunes on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi city.

The 4 million-year-old dunes formed during a glacial period when water levels were higher and rainfall more plentiful than now. Water permeated the calcium carbonate in the sand dunes and erosion of the lightly cemented sand over millennia created the ethereal, otherworldly forms that caught location scouts’ eyes.

Earth visitors can see them up close at a reserve in an industrial area a short drive from the UAE capital. Colored uplights enhance the twisting shapes at night. Coffee trucks may be on site to sell drinks and snacks to savor while you take in the view.

“Force Awakens” director J.J. Abrams had good things to say about shooting the film in the UAE.

“Filming in Abu Dhabi was an incredible thing. Star Wars is a Western and a fairy tale, and shooting in Abu Dhabi was just that!” he said.

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