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Ksar Hadada


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

Star Wars film:
Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999)

Set construction start: Early July 1997

Production: 10 August 1997

Star Wars location | 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

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 ksar footage: 1 scene 
85 [Padmé exits hovel at sunrise] <deleted> — Scene film site: Ksar Hadada

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

Tataouine: Only Star Wars film site located in the Tunisian region of Tataouine, the orthographic inspiration for renaming the desert planet of Utapau to Tatooine in the Episode IV fourth draft (1 January 1976).

Template: Film site north courtyard—not used for filming—matched with other northwest corner elements replicated to construct the Mos Espa slave quarters backyards set (Mos Espa small set) in the Eriguet dunes north of Nefta (Tozeur Governorate).

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

Background architecture: Post-production efforts utilized segmented plate content of the Ksar Hadada northwest corner porch to create Mos Espa cityscape architecture in one of the five Episode I scenes containing composited background ksar 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
(yardang field)


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)

Star Wars film:
Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999)

Set construction start: Early May 1997

Production: Late July to early August 1997

Star Wars 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

60 [They trek across the desert, Padmé joins the group] — 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: 1

Historic: First-ever Star Wars franchise lightsaber duel filmed on location.

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.

Yardang fields: Although groupings of uniquely shaped windblown sand formations (yardangs) populate assorted pockets of the Tunisian Eriguet dunes landscape, only one yardang field is featured in Star Wars prequels footage.

Template: Architectural elements distinct to the film site area (northwest corner) of Ksar Hadada, located circa 250 km to the southeast, were used as the template to construct a disjointed Mos Espa slave quarters backyards film set (porch and courtyard) in the northern perimeter of the yardang field film site.

Small set: Mos Espa slave quarters backyards film set, buried since circa 2004, is also known as the “Mos Espa small set” in comparison to the preserved Mos Espa film set (“Mos Espa large set”) situated approximately 600 meters to the southwest beyond a prominent barchanoid dune.

Tonsillitis: McGregor reportedly suffered from tonsillitis during Episode I production, making him look ill in much of the footage shot in the yardang field film site, which prompted the need to reshoot at Leavesden Studios (England) several of his Tatooine exterior scenes.

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.