Marc Dermul and his restoration team

So here’s what’s been happening for the past two years: since traveling to a far-off planet to location shoot the Tatooine scenes from the original Star Wars film would have been cost-prohibitive, the filmmakers built and shot the sets in Tunisia instead. This included the Lars’ family home, which resembled nothing so much as an igloo, and was called that on the set.

The original set was destroyed b the sands of the Tunisian desert and the passing decades.  The set was rebuilt for Stars Wars: Attack of the Clones. and even this one was near the point where it was close to being completely destroyed. So in 2010, a group of fans planned an expedition to Tunisia to restore them to their original glory.  A Kickstarter campaign was begun to pay for the excursion to save the historic site.

The restoration team created a collectible watch featuring actual sand from the Tatooine sets adorning the face. The numbers surrounding the watch face are printed in Aurebesh, the official language of the Star Wars universe, and each timepiece was made from solid 316L stainless steel, machined brass and Seiko mechanisms.  Their goal was $10,000, and they collected a bit over $11,000.

The international ‘Save the Lars Homestead’ team led by Mark Dermul went to Tunisia on May 25, the anniversary of the original release of Star Wars in 1977 – and on June 2, they reported success and mission accomplished!

One member of the six man team was Cardiff-based author and Star Wars fan Terry Cooper. Said Cooper,  “I have always been a fan of Star Wars and science fiction. I last visited the sets in Tunisia in 2009 and just being around such an iconic location made a real impact on me as a writer. It was sad to see it falling into disrepair, and it occurred to me that such an inspirational location needed to be preserved for the next generation of writers or film directors.”

Cooper owes some of his personal success to the Star Wars phenomenon.  His first book, Kangazang!: Remote Possibilities became a cult hit with Doctor Who fans after former Doctor Who, Colin Baker recorded an audio version. His second book, Kangazang!: Star Stuff is due to be released soon. Terry continued: “Fans of sci-fi will enjoy reading my books. It has been fun referencing Star Wars, Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy, Doctor Who and even Kylie Minogue.”

Marc Dermul’s web site on the trip chronicles the entire effort. 

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