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
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.