When you read how “Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (that’s actually the original flic, btw) was developed in its first installment, it seems impossible that even one person involved in the production could have predicted the gargantuan success it would have decades later. The technical glitches, the new production system using scale models, the costumes that seem so fitting now, but at the time verged on the ridiculous – none of it seemed to foreshadow anything positive. Not to mention the constant delays in the production plan, which almost caused the filming to be canceled, orphaning one of the most famous films in movie history.
Outer Space in the Sahara
But despite all the setbacks, the good will of those working on the project was enough to produce a story that began filming on March 22, 1976 in the Sahara Desert, chosen as the set for the planet Tatooine. The name comes from Tataouine, a real city in Tunisia, situated only a few miles south of where the movie was shot.
Stretching into Morocco, Egypt and Algeria, the hottest desert in the world is a must-see if you are lucky enough to travel to these destinations. It won’t be difficult once you decide to venture out of the hotel, as the Sahara occupies 40% of Tunisia, leaving us the gift of an unforgettable landscape that goes beyond Spielberg’s amazingly captured images.
Film Locations in Tunisia
Some scenes from the movie, like those taking place in Luke Skywalker’s house (pictured above) were shot in other cities, such as Matmata, known for cave dwellings that are still in use today.
One of the most paradisiacal places in this North African destination, especially popular among newlyweds, is the island of Djerba. The scenes at Mos Eisley, the spaceport where Luke and Obi-Wan Kenobi meet Han Solo, were filmed in a small fishing village called Ajim.
If you, like Spielberg, are about to launch a complicated project that truly excites you, Tunisia is the best place to recharge.
Photo | Neil Rickards