The War Diaries

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Archive for the ‘Star Wars’ tag

The Star Wars Diaries: Episode II

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The Mos Espa set from the 2nd prequel triology sitting in literally the middle of nowhere outside Tozeur. Driving along a pancake flat salt depression complete with massive mirage, I came upon this.

Tozeur- I made a hellacious trek across southern Tunisia in high summer for a Lucasfilm pilgrimage I have dreamed of for decades. Both Star Wars: Episdoe IV A New Hope and Raiders of the Lost Ark were filmed in the stark and stunning oasis region of Toezur and nearby Nefta. The friendly guys at Tunisie Voyages in Tozeur made this all possible, despite the hardship imposed by ramadan they made it happen for me. Fantastique! The first thing I figured out when trying to get the lay of the land for the film locales in Tunisia for both Star Wars and Raiders, is that they are spread almost evenly throughout the country. Shots from the films are cut together in such a way that one would think these were all in the same region. Not so. With limited time and resources, I had to pick and choose my battles. I wanted to pinpoint some of the Raiders sites but many of them are less distinct. I am pretty sure that the truck chase scene was filmed at the palmerie in Nefta that we drove by on the way to Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru’s igloo.

This place was so strange. A crumbling movie set battered by the elements near the Algerian border. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Now I was trying to do my impression of Luke looking at the binary sunset from the first movie at Chott el-Jerid but it was really hard because it was midday and I was somehow staring directly into the sun waiting to hear the shutter go off. It was a one shot deal.

This is "Jawa rock" in the canyon below the Sufi pilgrimage site of Sidi Bouhlel. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

An overview of Star Wars/Raiders of the Lost Ark canyon a.k.a. the Juntland Wastes. This place was spectacular, dotted with loads of sea fossils. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

I don't speak the Bocce needed to communicate with these moisture vaporators.

Trekking the Juntland Wastes in midsummer. Help me Obi Wan! This is where the first shot of the Nazi Ark procession was filmed in Raiders. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

August 3rd, 2011 at 2:43 pm

The Star Wars Diaries

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Djerba- Took a break from some seriousness and hired a taxi for the afternoon to find the island’s three Star Wars film locales from the shoot back in 1976. I started out on the island’s west coast road heading south from Houmet Souk, the main town. On the seaside, I found a mosque complex called Sidi Jibour that was being cleaned up and whitewashed by local men as I arrived. It is briefly used as a far away exterior for Mos Eisely spaceport in A New Hope but super fans will not it better at the setting for the deleted scene at Toshi/Tosche Station (which can be seen on 0:15 in this Youtube video) where young Luke meets the pilot Biggs Darklighter-which should be included in the long awaited, upcoming Blu Ray complete saga release in September.

Mos Eisley/Toshi Station. Stunning setting on the sea. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Next up, a bit further down the Djerban coast was a tiny little structure know on Star Wars fan sites at Ben’s Hermitage (Obi Wan Kenobi’s house). It is in the movie very briefly as a Landspeeder zooms up out front. People here seem to have no notion of what Star Wars is or was. When I arrived at this locale, a group of hijab-clad women were having a pre-ramadan picnic on the front stoop when I come bounding out of the taxi talking about the importance of the place to Star Wars fans. When I finishing taking my pics, which they were sure to step out of, one of them called out to me, “good luck with your movie!” I shouted a ramadan mubarak back and hopped back in the cab.

Not exactly a Landspeeder out front, but nonetheless it's probably been there since 1976. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Following the 2nd discovery, it was further down toward the port of Ajim to scour for the exterior of the infamous Mos Eisley Cantina where Luke and Ben rendezvous with Han. Of course I left the hotel forgetting the memorize the French language title (it’s La guerre des étoiles) and the driver and I were asking all sorts of people, men mostly, where the place was. Of course it didn’t help that halfway through the trip I realized the driver didn’t seem to have actually seen the film himself so his frame of reference was nil. He was getting tired of our little goose chase when I insisted we keep driving around a few back streets near the center of Ajim and voila! I saw what I was sure was it and jumped out asking a local man seated across the street if this was the place and sure enough, it was. It can be seen at 2:07 in this Youtube video.

"You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy." Exterior of Mos Eisley Cantina, centre ville de Ajim. ©2011 some nice Tunisian guy

Written by derekhenryflood

July 31st, 2011 at 3:14 pm