Sunday, January 23, 2011

A visit to 'Mos Espa' on 'Tatooine'

With Tunisia in the news I was reminded of a trip I made there two years ago to visit the desert. As part of the trip I made a side excursion to see part of the set of Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace. In the film a large part of the action takes place on Tatooine (which takes its name from the real Tunisian town of Foum Tatouine).

Not far from the town of Nefta is an area called Oung Jmel and a short 4x4 ride away is the set of Mos Espa.

Here's a shot of the small collection of buildings that form the set. The rest of Mos Espa must have been added using CGI.

From the outside the buildings look like they are made of stone, but in the interior there's a simple wooden frame, chicken wire and a lot of plaster.

Here's a shot down the 'main street' of the set with a moisture vaporator. The vaporators are actually pretty rough wooden structures made from what looks like plywood screwed together and painted grey as if it were metal. Just behind and to the right of the vaporator is the building used for Akim's Munch.

Here are a couple more in the middle of nowhere (just outside the set). Close to the set there was lots of flat empty land that must have been used for some shots. Standing there I kept wanting to look for a missing droid but the sun was too bright.

Back in the town there's a large open area with buildings all around. If anyone recognizes these from the film please let me know as I don't have a copy of it. The arch here leads out to the open land where I took a picture of the vaporators.

Some of the buildings (like this one) had quite sturdy looking doors on them and it was not possible to go into them at all. At least one seemed to be used for storage by the folks who were selling trinkets outside the town.

And finally, the most amusing part. Here's a close up shot of a 'cooling fin' on a vaporator. It's made of a plastic draining rack (something like this) screwed upside down to the wooden frame and painted the same grey colour.

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