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Hotel Sidi Idriss

OVERVIEW

Site: Hotel Sidi Idriss (pit 2)

GPS: 33.542564, 9.967038

Location: Matmata al-Qadimal (Gabès Governorate) / Southeast Tunisia

Description: Subterranean dwelling (ca. late 17th century CE)

Star Wars films:
Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002)

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

Production: 1 April 1976 / 11 September 2000

Star Wars location | Film set:
Great Chott Salt Flats | Lars Homestead (interior)

Leads on set: Episode IV
Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker
Phil Brown / Owen Lars
Shelagh Fraser / Beru Lars
Jack Purvis / robot

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

Scenes: Episode IV
26 [Purchase of C-3PO and R2-D2] Filmed: 1 April 1976
A28 [Lars Homestead—dining room] — Filmed: 1 April 1976
A28A [Lars Homestead—dining room] <deleted> — Filmed: 1 April 1976
32 [Owen looking for Luke at homestead] — Filmed: 1 April 1976
Final cut: 3
Deleted: 1    

Scenes: Episode II
90 [Anakin meets the Lars family] — Filmed: 11 September 2000
92 [They discuss Shmi’s fate] — Filmed: 11 September 2000
101 [Padmé pacing in the courtyard] <deleted> — Filmed: 11 September 2000
Final cut: 2
Deleted: 1

Blueprint: Spatial proximity of pits 1-3 at Hotel Sidi Idriss loosely mirrors the three-pit layout of the Lars Homestead exterior set constructed on the Chott el-Djerid salt flats, located 265 km to the west.

Mural: Ceiling  artwork in the film site cave used for the Lars Homestead dining room set (pit 2/cave 9) was created in approximately 1968, the year the multi-pit Hotel Sidi Idriss opened for business.

Beru’s kitchen: The lateral tunnel connecting pit 1 to pit 2 (constructed in 1967/1968) paired with the adjoining steps leading into pit 2/cave 9 were collectively used as the template for the Episode IV Lars Homestead kitchen set (EMI-Elstree Studios). No kitchen interior scenes for either film were shot in Matmata.

Tandem: George Lucas and Anthony Daniels were the only cast/crew members to be in Matmata for the two production days across both films. Daniels was a bystander above pit 2 at the site during Episode IV production.

The End: Final Star Wars franchise filming location/activity in Tunisia (Episode II).

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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 

Star Wars films:
Episode IV — A New Hope (1977)
Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002)
Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005)

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

Star Wars location | Film set:
Great Chott Salt Flats | 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
90 [Anakin meets the Lars family] — 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: 6
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. 

Dome: Homestead dome—cradle of the Star Wars universe—has been built/rebuilt/repaired/restored on six separate occasions spanning from 1976 to 2022: (1) Lucasfilm initial build (February 1976), (2) Lucasfilm mid-production repairs after violent storm (28-29 March 1976), (3) Lucasfilm prequels rebuild (August 2000), (4) Save Lars fan-funded restoration (28-31 May 2012), (5) Discover Tatooine fan-funded restoration (28 April 2018), and (6) Star Wars Tunisia GIZ-funded restoration (May 2022). 

Craters: Star Wars Tunisia film site restoration project (May 2022) leveled all three original Episode IV craters; replaced the (1) living quarters crater with a more compact, fortified circle (complete with flood-control piping) and (2) garage crater with a raised circular platform to display the repaired/reconstructed Episode II garage cover wooden base; but failed to restore the hangar crater, limiting the set to a two-crater layout.