The desert is a brutal environment. Sand, wind, heat – it all combines to create harsh conditions that affect people and structures. Why do you think Obi-Wan got so grizzled in between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope? Besides aging Kenobi, forces of nature are also affecting the set of Mos Espa. The fictional Tatooine location was constructed in the Ong Jmel area of the Tunisia desert. It’s stood in the sands since the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999, but the dunes are encroaching and threatening to swallow the site.
Given that the location is a mecca of sorts for Star Was enthusiasts, it brings a lot of visitors and money into Tunisia. They have a vested interest in keeping sand out of Anakin Skywalker’s home (insert obligatory quote from Anakin about sand here), and they’re turning to fans for assistance. The CDTOS (Tourism Chamber for the Oasis and Sahara regions) has created an Indiegogo campaign asking for $45,000 to preserve the iconic filming site. Doing so can only lead to more videos like the Star Wars Tunisia fan group dancing around in costume to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy.”
The money will go towards repair, preservation, and promotion of Mos Espa. For example, repairs include replacing doors and frames and applying protective coating. They’d also like to install a guard and toilets nearby. Thanks to another donor, work began in late March to remove the sand that’s already poured into the set. They have excavators and laborers digging out the Skywalker home. This would sure be a convenient time for crazy old Ben Kenobi to show up with a Force assist!
Reward levels range from $25 – $1,000. Donors at the highest level will have their names engraved on a commemorative panel near the Mos Espa set, and mid-level donors will get a shout out on the Save Mos Espa website.