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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

Fictional locations | Film sets:
Anchorhead | main road
Anchorhead | Tosche Station (exterior)
Great Mesra Plateau | 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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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) plaza two side streets 

Film: Episode IV

Set construction start: Mid-February 1976

Production: 2-3 April 1976

Fictional location | Film sets:
Mos Eisley | Cantina (exterior)
Mos Eisley | Docking Bay 94 alley
Mos Eisley | plaza
Mos Eisley | stormtrooper 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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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

Fictional location | Film sets:
Mos Espa | Anakin Skywalker’s hovel (exterior)
Mos Espa | slave quarters street

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

Fictional 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

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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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

Fictional location | Film set: Great Chott Salt Flat Community | 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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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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Eriguet dunes
(Mos Espa 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

Fictional locations | Film sets:
Mos Espa | marketplace
Mos Espa podrace circuit | Grand Arena — grandstand
Mos Espa podrace circuit | Grand Arena — pit area
Mos Espa podrace circuit | Grand Arena — starting grid
Mos Espa podrace circuit | Grand 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.

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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.