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Ong Jemel outcrop

OVERVIEW

Site: Ong Jemel outcrop area

GPS: 34.015937, 7.912498

Location: Chott el-Gharsa salt flats (Tozeur Governorate) / Southwest Tunisia

Description: Meteorized rock zooform (Neogene Period)

Film: Episode I

Set construction start: Early August 1997

Production: Early August 1997

Fictional locations | Film sets:
Mos Espa podrace circuit | Canyon Dune Turn
Mospic High Range | Sith landing desert mesa

Lead on set:
Ray Park / Darth Maul

Scenes:
84 [Darth Maul lands on desert mesa at dusk] Filmed: 5 August 1997
108 [Darth Maul follows probe droid to Mos Espa] Filmed: 5 August 1997
Final cut: 2
Deleted: 0

Sequences:
Tusken Raider sniper point #4 (podrace / lap 1)
Jawas scavenge at crash site (podrace / lap 2) <deleted>
Final cut: 1
Deleted: 1

Camel: No images of the north/northwest side of the outcrop—the best vantage point from which to view the formations loosely resembling the “camel’s neck” namesake of the zooform—are featured in the film.

Accessibility: Easy; desert/salt flats terrain; hard-packed sand roads; 4×4 vehicle advantageous, but not necessary; impeded by heavy rainfall; unrestricted parking surrounding the site; short low-impact hike required to climb outcrop and adjacent mesa.

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Eriguet dunes
(Mos Espa small set area)

OVERVIEW

Site: Eriguet dune system

GPS: 33.994671, 7.848898

Location: Dune landscape south of Chott el-Gharsa (Tozeur Governorate) / Southwest Tunisia

Description: Salt-saturated barchanoid dunes (quartz/gypsum sands)

Film: Episode I

Set construction start: Early May 1997

Production: Late July to early August 1997

Fictional locations | Film sets:
Mos Espa | slave quarters backyards
Xelric Draw | Mos Espa outskirts
Xelric Draw | Naboo spacecraft (ramp)

Leads on set:
Liam Neeson / Qui-Gon Jinn
Jake Lloyd / Anakin Skywalker
Natalie Portman / Padmé Amidala Naberrie
Ewan McGregor / Obi-Wan Kenobi
Hugh Quarshie / Captain Panaka (Legends: Quarsh Panaka)
Dhruv Chanchani / Kitster (Legends: Kitster Chanchani Banai)
Ray Park / Darth Maul
Kenny Baker / R2-D2
Ahmed Best / Jar Jar Binks
Oliver Walpole / Seek
Katie Lucas / Amee
Megan Udall / Melee
Warwick Davis / Wald

Scenes:
60 [They trek across the desert, Padmé joins the group] — Filmed: 30 July 1997
66 [They find a quiet spot & consider a solution] <replaced> — Filmed: 30 July 1997
68 [“This storm will slow them down”] — Filmed: 30 July 1997
80 [“There’s something about this boy”] <replaced> — Filmed: 30 July 1997
81 [Qui-Gon and Shmi on porch discuss Anakin] — Filmed: 4 August 1997
82 [The pod rises, the engines ignite] — Filmed: 4 August 1997
86 [Dawn before the race] <deleted> Filmed: 6-7 August 1997
103 [They return with the hyperdrive] — Filmed: 30 July 1997
110 [Darth Maul attacks on his speeder] — Filmed: 31 July, 8 August 1997
113 [Qui-Gon and Darth Maul continue their sword battle] — Filmed: 31 July, 8 August 1997
114 [Maul leaps up and falls back to the desert floor] — Filmed: 31 July 1997
Final cut: 8
Deleted: 1
Replaced: 2

Historic: First-ever Star Wars franchise lightsaber duel filmed on location (yardang field / Mos Espa outskirts set).

Undercover: Small team of German journalists representing Cinema Zeitschrift acquired unsanctioned aerial photographs from a hot-air balloon in early August 1997 of Episode I filming activity, providing unique primary source locational documentation for the Eriguet dunes film sites.

Accessibility: Easy; desert terrain; hard-packed sand roads; dilapidated Mos Espa small set intermittently buried by sand; 4×4 vehicle advantageous, but not necessary; impeded by heavy rainfall; unrestricted parking.

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Chott el-Djerid

OVERVIEW

Site: Chott el-Djerid (northwest sector) 

GPS: 33.842831, 7.779026

Location: Salt flats between the Kebili and Tozeur governorates / Southwest Tunisia

Description: Saline dry lake (ca. 5900 km²), largest in the Sahara 

Films: Episode IV / Episode II / Episode III

Set construction start: Mid-February 1976 / early August 2000 / early August 2000

Production: 22-23, 25, 29 March 1976 / 7, 9 September 2000 / 7 September 2000

Fictional location | Film set: Great Chott Salt Flat Community | Lars Homestead (exterior) 

Leads on set: Episode IV
Mark  Hamill / Luke Skywalker
Phil Brown / Owen Lars
Anthony Daniels / See Threepio (C-3PO)
Kenny Baker / Artoo Detoo (R2-D2)
Jack Purvis / head Jawa (Legends: Dathcha) 

Leads on set: Episode II
Hayden Christensen / Anakin Skywalker
Natalie Portman / Padmé Amidala Naberrie
Anthony Daniels / See Threepio (C-3PO)
Jack Thompson / Cliegg Lars
Joel  Edgerton / Owen Lars
Bonnie Maree Piesse / Beru Whitesun

Leads on set: Episode III
Joel Edgerton / Owen Lars

Scenes: Episode IV
3 [Luke in wasteland with droid that malfunctions] <deleted> — Filmed: 25, 29 March 1976
26 [Purchase of C-3PO and R2-D2] Filmed: 22-23, 25 March 1976
29 [Luke and giant twin suns] — Filmed: 29 March 1976
B29 [Luke and C-3PO rush out of homestead to look for R2-D2] Filmed: 22, 29 March 1976
C42 [Luke discovers dead aunt and uncle]Filmed: 25 March 1976
Final cut: 4
Deleted: 1

Scenes: Episode II
88 [They land near the homestead] Filmed: 9 September 2000
89 [C-3PO greets Anakin and Padmé]  — Filmed: 9 September 2000
93 [Anakin takes off on Owen’s speeder bike] Filmed: 9 September 2000
97 [Anakin talks to the Jawas] <replaced> — Filmed: 7 September 2000
98 [Anakin finds the bodies of the search party] <deleted> — Filmed: 7 September 2000
100 [Night animal howls near homestead] <deleted> — Filmed: 7 September 2000
115 [Beru draws water]   <deleted> Filmed: 9 September 2000
117 [Anakin returns with Shmi] Filmed: 9 September 2000
131 [The funeral of Shmi] Filmed: 9 September 2000
133 [Lars family waves goodbye]   <deleted> Filmed: 9 September 2000
Final cut: 5
Deleted: 4
Replaced: 1

Scene: Episode III
180 [Obi-Wan hands baby to Owen Lars] <replaced> Filmed: 7 September 2000
Final cut: 0
Replaced: 1

Historic: First-ever Star Wars franchise filming location.

Starkiller: At the point of filming Mark Hamill’s introductory scenes on the salt flats, his heroic character was named “Luke Starkiller” (shooting script).

Sunset: After at least three failed attempts, the original iconic “binary” sunset over the salt flats was filmed with a cloudless light purple skyline shortly before sunset at 18:47 on 29 March 1976.

Blueprint: Three-pit layout of the Lars Homestead exterior set on the salt flats loosely mirrors the spatial proximity of pits 1-3 at Hotel Sidi Idriss (Matmata al-Qadimal), located 265 km to the east. 

Record: Only film site in Tunisia featured in three Star Wars franchise films.

Overlap: Only live-action (with actors) non-studio Episode III filming location, utilized on the first day of Episode II filming in Tunisia, 34 months before the start of Episode III principal photography. 

Tandem: George Lucas and Anthony Daniels were the only cast/crew members present on Chott el-Djerid for production activity across all three films. 

Preservation: Homestead dome has been built/rebuilt on six separate occasions spanning from 1976 to 2022. 

Accessibility: Easy; salt flats terrain; paved roads lead to salt flats turn-off point (33.866280, 7.780087); 4×4 vehicle advantageous, but not necessary; impeded by heavy rainfall; unrestricted parking surrounding the site.