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Sidi Jemour Mosque

OVERVIEW

Site: Sidi Jemour Mosque complex

GPS: 33.831420, 10.748173

Location: Groa outskirts (Médenine Governorate) / Djerba island (Tunisia)

Description: Ibadi complex (16th century CE)

Film: Episode IV

Set construction start: 3 April 1976

Production: 4 April 1976

Film sets:
Anchorhead main road
Tosche Station (exterior)
Mos Eisley perimeter

Leads on set:
Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker
Garrick Hagon / Biggs Darklighter
Kathleen “Koo” Stark / Camie (Legends: Camie Marstrap Loneozner)
Anthony Forrest / The Fixer (Legends: Laze “Fixer” Loneozner)
Jack Purvis / robot
Kenny Baker / Artoo Detoo (R2-D2) — Note: Listed on the call sheet, but not featured in any footage

Scenes:
8 [Luke in landspeeder almost runs down a woman] <deleted> — Filmed: 4 April 1976
10 [Biggs and Luke look up into space] <deleted> — Filmed: 4 April 1976
16 [Biggs reveals to Luke that he’s going to join the rebellion] <deleted> — Filmed: 4 April 1976
Final cut: 0
Deleted: 3

Sequence:
Transition to Mos Eisley {plate}
Final cut: 1
Deleted: 0

Record: Crews produced a total of 4 minutes and 11 seconds of screen time on the single day of filming at this site, more than any other Episode IV shoot day.

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

Accessibility: Very easy; flat terrain; paved roads; close proximity to airport; parking area (33.831601, 10.748108) directly at the site.

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Amghar Mosque

OVERVIEW

Site: Amghar Mosque

GPS: 33.740849, 10.734973

Location: Ajim outskirts (Médenine Governorate) / Djerba island (Tunisia)

Description: Ibadi mosque (10th century CE) / decommissioned religious site

Film: Episode IV

Set construction: n/a

Production: 4 April 1976

Film set: Obi-Wan’s dwelling (exterior)

Leads on set: n/a

Sequence:
Transition to Obi-Wan’s dwelling {plate} — Filmed: 4 April 1976
Final cut: 1
Deleted: 0

Fact: Only Star Wars film site in Tunisia filmed strictly as a plate (no actors).

Replaced: Film site plate footage only visible in original Episode IV version (pre-1997 Special Edition).

Accessibility: Very easy; flat terrain; paved roads; parking area (33.740961, 10.735124) directly at the site.

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Ajim

OVERVIEW

Site: Ajim neighborhood (Al-Hunit Mosque district)

GPS: 33.723964, 10.750016

Location: Ajim city center (Médenine Governorate) / Djerba island (Tunisia)

Description: Bakery (abandoned) square two side streets 

Film: Episode IV

Set construction start: Mid-February 1976

Production: 2-3 April 1976

Film sets:
Mos Eisley Cantina (exterior)
Mos Eisley square
Mos Eisley security checkpoint

Leads on set:
Alec  Guinness / Obi-Wan Kenobi
Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker
Anthony Daniels / See Threepio (C-3PO)
Kenny Baker / Artoo Detoo (R2-D2)
Anthony Forrest / stormtrooper, patrol lead
Jack Purvis / robot
Peter Diamond (stunt supervisor) / cantina patron

Scenes:
48 [Ben: “These are not the droids you’re looking for”] — Filmed: 2 April 1976
49 [In Luke’s landspeeder, they approach cantina] — Filmed: 3 April 1976
59 [Mos Eisley: stormtroopers watch Millennium Falcon blast off] —  Filmed: 2 April 1976
A50 [Ben tells Luke he’ll have to sell his landspeeder] Filmed: 3 April 1976
ZA50 [Droids in front of cantina] — Filmed: 3 April 1976
Final cut: 5
Deleted: 0

Party: Cast/crew celebrated Alec Guinness’ 62nd birthday on set in Ajim (2 April 1976). 

Controversy: Location shoot limitations in Ajim restricted the overall vision for Mos Eisley, prompting The Star Wars Trilogy Special Edition revisions decades later and the enduring “original version” debate coupled with the #ReleaseTheOriginalTrilogy campaign. 

Modernization: Community-wide construction/improvement projects in addition to ownership neglect have altered, replaced, or left derelict almost all film site reference points in the Ajim neighborhood.

Accessibility: Very easy; flat terrain; paved roads; parking area (33.723813, 10.750087) directly at the site.

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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)

Films: Episode IV / Episode II 

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

Production: 1 April 1976 / 11 September 2000

Film set: 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
32 [Owen looking for Luke at homestead] — Filmed: 1 April 1976
A28 [Lars Homestead—dining room] — Filmed: 1 April 1976
A28A [Lars Homestead—dining room] <deleted> — 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 was created in approximately 1968, the year the multi-pit Hotel Sidi Idriss opened for business.

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 (to date) in Tunisia (Episode II).

Accessibility: Very easy; foothills terrain; paved roads; parking area (33.542746, 9.967312) directly at the hotel entrance.

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Maguer Gorge

OVERVIEW

Site: Maguer Gorge

GPS: 34.036182, 8.280345

Location: Jebel Sidi Bouhlel, Dghoumès National Park (Tozeur Governorate) / Southwest Tunisia

Description: Geological formation (Campanian Age)

Films: Episode IV / Episode I

Set construction start: 26 March 1976 / n/a

Production: 26, 28-31 March, ~5 April 1976 / ~25 July 1997 

Film sets:
Jundland Wastes
Desert wasteland bluff overlook
Canyon Dune Turn

Leads on set: Episode IV
Alec Guinness / Obi-Wan Kenobi
Mark Hamill / Luke Skywalker
Anthony Daniels / See Threepio (C-3PO)
Kenny Baker / Artoo Detoo (R2-D2)
Jack Purvis / head Jawa (Legends: Dathcha)
Peter Diamond (stunt supervisor) / Tusken Raider

Scenes: Episode IV
17 [Jawas neutralize R2-D2] — Filmed: 30 March 1976
18 [Jawas carry R2-D2 to sandcrawler] — Filmed: 30 March 1976
35 [Tusken Raiders spot Luke in landspeeder] — Filmed: 29 March 1976
37 [Luke and C-3PO find R2-D2] — Filmed: 26 March 1976
38 [Luke attacked by Tusken Raiders] — Filmed: 26, 29 March 1976
39 [Arrival of Ben Kenobi in canyon] — Filmed: 28-29 March 1976
40 [Luke finds injured C-3PO] — Filmed: 28 March 1976
B42 [Luke and Ben discover killed Jawas] — Filmed: 31 March 1976
E42 [Jawa bonfire] — Filmed: 31 March 1976
47 [View of Mos Eisley, “wretched hive of scum and villainy”] — Filmed: 29 March 1976
Final cut: 10
Deleted: 0

Back-projection: Episode IV 
Scene 34 [Luke spots fugitive R2-D2] <90% deleted> — Filmed: ~5 April 1976
Final cut: 0
Deleted: 1

Sequences: Episode I
Tusken Raider sniper point #1 (podrace / lap 1) — Filmed: ~25 July 1997
Tusken Raider sniper point #2 (podrace / lap 1 and lap 2) <lap 2 deleted> — Filmed: ~25 July 1997
Tusken Raider sniper point #3 (podrace / lap 1) — Filmed: ~25 July 1997
Tusken Raider sniper point #6 (podrace / lap 2 ) — Filmed: ~25 July 1997
Tusken Raider sniper point #7 and #8 (podrace / lap 2) <deleted> — Filmed: ~25 July 1997
Tusken Raider sniper point #9 and #10 (podrace / lap 2) <deleted> — Filmed: ~25 July 1997
Final cut: 4
Deleted: 3

Nickname: Popularly known as “Star Wars Canyon” due to its prolific use by Lucasfilm crews.

Aerial footage: Only Star Wars film site in Tunisia filmed from an aircraft

Native text: Arabic text names scratched into the eastern ridge wall in the central open area inside the gorge appear in the final cut, inadvertently distinguishing Arabic as the first written text presented on fictional Tatooine.

Wrap: Final film site for Episode IV principal photography in Tunisia (2nd unit). 

Historic: First Star Wars prequels filming location in Tunisia.

Record: Only film site in Tunisia repurposed for three geographically distinct Star Wars locations on fictional Tatooine.

Cinematic overlap: Utilized for production in six full-length movies, including Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark and three other films separate from the Star Wars franchise. 

Television: Only film site in Tunisia featured (to date) in a Star Wars franchise live-action series (The Mandalorian). 

Accessibility: Very easy; foothills terrain; paved roads; parking area (34.032367, 8.282746) near the gorge entrance at the base of Jebel Sidi Bouhlel. Access to the western ridge summit requires moderate effort but no climbing expertise.

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Gour Beni Mzab

OVERVIEW

Site: Gour Beni Mzab dune system

GPS: ~33.871125, 7.759225

Location: Nefta dunes area (Tozeur Governorate) / Southwest Tunisia

Description: Linear dunes surrounded by desert vegetation

Film: Episode IV

Set construction start: Late March 1976

Production: 24-25 March 1976

Film sets:
Dune sea lifepod crash site
Dune sea krayt dragon skeleton

Leads on set:
Anthony Daniels / See Threepio (C-3PO)
Kenny Baker / Artoo Detoo (R2-D2)

Scenes:
14 [C-3PO and R2-D2 argue about which way to go] — Filmed: 24-25 March 1976
15 [C-3PO and bleached bones of beast]  Filmed: 24 March 1976
B32 [Stormtroopers find evidence of droids]  Filmed: 25 March 1976
Final cut: 3
Deleted: 0

Shifting sands: Only Star Wars film site in Tunisia rendered nearly impossible to precisely pinpoint due to the ever-changing landscape. Additional field work, guided by primary source maps, is needed to refine the search for more exact coordinates.

Accessibility: Intermediate; desert terrain; paved roads lead to dune system turn-off point (33.865623, 7.778686); 4×4 vehicle, off-road motorcycle, camel, or trek by foot required; impeded by heavy rainfall; non-mechanical transport is best to avoid damage to the natural landscape.

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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

Film set: 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).

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.