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Ksar Ommarsia

OVERVIEW

Site: Ksar Ommarsia

GPS: 33.347444, 10.492121

Location: Médenine city center (Médenine Governorate) / Southeast Tunisia

Description: Amazigh fortified granary (early 19th century CE)

Film: Episode I 

Set construction start: Early July 1997

Production: 9 August 1997

Film sets:
Mos Espa slave quarters street
Anakin’s hovel (exterior)

Leads on set:
Liam Neeson / Qui-Gon Jinn
Jake Lloyd / Anakin Skywalker
Natalie Portman / Padmé Amidala Naberrie
Pernilla August / Shmi Skywalker
Dhruv Chanchani / Kitster (Legends: Kitster Chanchani Banai)
Warwick Davis / Wald

Scenes:
70 [They seek shelter from the sandstorm] — Filmed: 9 August 1997
104 [Anakin fights with Greedo] <deleted> — Filmed: 9 August 1997
107 [Anakin leaves Shmi and does not look back] — Filmed: 9 August 1997
Final cut: 2
Deleted: 1

Composited background footage: 4 scenes

Historic: First-ever Star Wars franchise filming at a Tunisian ksar.

Accessibility: Very easy; flat terrain; paved roads; street parking area (33.346872, 10.492660) directly off of Avenue 7 Novembre (C108) in front of the southeast wall of Ksar Ouled Brahim.

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Ksar Hadada

OVERVIEW

Site: Ksar Hadada (northwest corner area)

GPS: 33.100502, 10.313744

Location: Ksar Hadada village center (Tataouine Governorate) / Southeast Tunisia

Description: Amazigh fortified granary village (mid-19th century CE)

Repurposed: Hotel Ksar Hadada

Film: Episode I 

Set construction start: Early July 1997

Production: 10 August 1997

Film sets:
Mos Espa slave quarters backyards
Mos Espa slave quarters street

Leads on set:
Liam Neeson / Qui-Gon Jinn
Natalie Portman / Padmé Amidala Naberrie
Pernilla August / Shmi Skywalker

Scenes:
80 [“There’s something about this boy”] — Filmed: 10 August 1997
81 [Qui-Gon and Shmi on porch discuss Anakin] — Filmed: 10 August 1997
A82 [Shmi standing alone on porch] — Filmed: 10 August 1997
85 [Padmé exits hovel at sunrise] <deleted> — Filmed: 10 August 1997
Final cut: 3
Deleted: 1

Composited background footage: 1 scene 

Recce: Only prequels film site in Tunisia to be initially scouted but not utilized for Episode IV. The Episode IV recce in mid-November 1975 explored the then-newly restored northwest corner of the site, presumably as a potential location for unrealized Mos Eisley slums street sequences.

Template: Film site north courtyard matched with other northwest corner elements replicated to construct the Mos Espa small set in the Eriguet dunes north of Nefta (Tozeur Governorate).

Background: Northeast corner of Café Salon de Thé (local business) visible in film footage.

Wrap: Final film site/production date for 1st unit Episode I principal photography in Tunisia.

Accessibility: Very easy; foothills terrain; paved roads; parking area (33.100161, 10.313664) directly at the site entrance.

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Eriguet dunes
(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

Film sets:
Mos Espa slave quarters backyards
Mos Espa outskirts

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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Eriguet dunes
(large set area)

OVERVIEW

Site: Eriguet dune system

GPS: 33.994316, 7.842731

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

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

Films: Episode I / Episode II

Set construction start: Early May 1997 / early August 2000

Production: Late July to mid-August 1997 / 10 September 2000

Film sets:
Mos Espa marketplace
Mos Espa arena grandstand
Mos Espa arena pit area
Mos Espa arena starting grid
Mos Espa arena viewing platform

Leads on set:  Episode I
Liam Neeson / Qui-Gon Jinn
Jake Lloyd / Anakin Skywalker
Natalie Portman / Padmé Amidala Naberrie
Dhruv Chanchani / Kitster (Legends: Kitster Chanchani Banai)
Pernilla August / Shmi Skywalker
Margaret Towner / Jira
Kenny Baker / R2-D2
Ahmed Best / Jar Jar Binks
Warwick Davis / Wald
Danny Wagner / Mawhonic

Leads on set: Episode II
Hayden Christensen / Anakin Skywalker
Natalie Portman / Padmé Amidala Naberrie
Andy Secombe (voice actor) / Watto

Scenes: Episode I
61 [The odd little group walks down the street] Filmed: 2 August 1997
62 [“We’ll try one of the smaller dealers”] Filmed: 2 August 1997
64 [They move thru the yard picking parts] Filmed: 2,7 August 1997
66 [They find a quiet spot & consider a solution] Filmed: 28 July 1997
67 [Sebulba confronts Jar Jar, Anakin steps in] Filmed: 29 July, 6 August 1997
69 [Anakin stops at Jira’s fruit stand] Filmed: 28 July 1997
76 [Sandstorm engulfs the town] Filmed: 7 August 1997
78 [The storm passed. Padmé doesn’t approve of plan] Filmed: 2 August 1997
88 [Probe droid searches] Filmed: 6 August 1997
91 [The pilots bow to Jabba] Filmed: 5-6 August 1997
92 [Final preparations for the pod race] Filmed: 5 August 1997
93 [Group prepares to watch race, Shmi looks nervously to Qui-Gon] Filmed: 1 August 1997
94 [Pods shoot forward. Anakin’s engines finally ignite] Filmed: 6 August 1997
100 [They celebrate Anakin’s victory] Filmed: 6 August 1997
109 [Qui-Gon cuts probe droid as they leave Jira] <deleted> Filmed: 2 August 1997
Final cut:  14
Deleted:  1

Sequences: Episode I
Grandstand reactions (podrace) — 40 sequences — Filmed: 4-5 August 1997
Pit area reactions (podrace) — 13 sequences — Filmed: 1 August 1997
Viewing platform reactions (podrace) — 16 sequences — Filmed: 1 August 1997
Final cut: 60
Deleted: 9

Scenes: Episode II
80 [Encounter at Watto’s shop] — Filmed: 10 September 2000
97 [Anakin talks to the Jawas] <reshoot> Filmed: 10 September 2000
Final cut: 2
Deleted:  0

Historic: First Star Wars prequels completed scene location (Mos Espa large set) filmed in Tunisia.

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. 

Aircraft parts: Nine full-sized podracers (engine/cockpit: 18 pieces total) paired with four podracer cut-outs (engine only) populated the Mos Espa arena starting grid set.

Accessibility: Very easy; desert terrain; paved roads lead directly to Mos Espa large set; 4×4 vehicle advantageous, but not necessary to explore surrounding Mos Espa arena viewing platform, grandstand, and starting grid areas; unrestricted parking.