While Star Wars fans may dream of a future where they can board a spacecraft and travel to galaxies far, far away, it turns out that you can actually board an aircraft and travel to the set of a galaxy far, far away—which is the next best thing, right?
Four of the Star Wars movies were partially filmed in southern Tunisia and many of the sets and lanscapes are still preserved today.
We recently visited Tunisia where we booked a landspeeder (rented a car), Jedi mind-tricked our way out of security (paid the locals to show us around) and made our way to (the set of) Tatooine, the iconic homeplanet of Luke and Anakin Skywalker.
Check below for our report!
In The Phantom Menace, Mos Espa was a spaceport on Tatooine and the home of the young Anakin Skywalker while he was still racing pods. Many scenes taking place in the city were shot in the middle of the desert in a region called Oung el Jemel.
The set is still in good condition and is composed of 15-20 buildings, though some are only facades. While there is absolutely nothing around the set, we were surprised to find that some people had actually set up residence in some of the buildings. One person was even selling souvenirs!
・Not the droids you’re looking for
While most of the set pieces still seemed very sturdy, we were disappointed to find that all the machinery and gadgets were made from wood and plastic. Inside of the buildings, the floors were covered with sand and the belongings of sand people…er…”residents.”
・The benefits of hovercraft
Getting to Mos Espa on your own is no easy task and you’d be much better off planning a trip with the help of a travel agency or hiring a guide unless you want to get stuck roaming around in the desert.
If you do want to try making it on your own, the easiest way to get in is by renting a quad or 4WD car in Tozeur, which is about 40km away, and driving out early in the morning to escape the heat and crowds.
・Tip of the sandune
In addition to Mos Espa, there are many other Star Wars set pieces scattered around Tunisia. In Tatouine, the town where George Lucas got the inspiration for his fictional planet’s name, you can find some of the background for the slave quarters shots in Episode 1. Travel to Medenine and you can find Anakin Skywalker’s home and in Matmata you can actually walk around and sleep in Luke Skywalker’s home.
The mysterious residents of Mos Espa
[ Read in Japanese ]