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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.

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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.