Mos Espa, Tatooine – Chott el-Gharsa, Tunisia.
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Smaller than Chott el-Djerid; Chott el-Gharsa again near the Algerian boarder north west of Tozeur was used for the filming of the Mos Espa scenes for TPM.
After just two days of shooting a storm wrecked the location on the night of July 29 1997. Lucas said it was a good omen as it had happened years before on ANH. You can see the devastation caused on TPM DVD docs.
Again plate photography, miniatures and digital additions combine to give a feel of a bustling spaceport as only a T-shaped section of street was created.
Most of the shots of the static Podracers and Darth Maul on his speeder were filmed by a cliff edge known to the locals as “camel rock” because it has the shape of a “camels back and head”.
Darth Maul sends 3 droids out from the South side rock formation, as the droids head off West, to the distant lights of Mos Espa.
For AOTC the crew returned to the Chott around September 2000, the director and producer had a deal with the Tunisian government to keep the set standing and in turn it became a tourist attraction.
Filming only a few segments where Anakin and Padme arrive and then proceed to ask Watto what has happened to Anakins Mother.
Then on to the homestead.
Slave Quarters – Medenine, Tunisia.
Our 2nd organized tour and our 5th full day in Tunisia was spent crossing to the mainland from Ajim by ferry, we headed south along the C108.
The journey did not take too long but I strongly suggest you have a 4×4 and if possible a guide, Tunisian Roads and etiquette leaves a lot to the imagination. (our driver and guide was 1st class)
We were visiting Ksars, Tunisian grain storage buildings or Ghorfas. We arrived mid morning to find many other tour buses and tourists already milling around a semi busy market. Trinkets, leather goods and even what looked like magic carpets we on sale, but I had other treasure to find. I had heard that the filming of Shmi and Anakin’s slave quarters for TPM were behind the main market square, I managed to climb the side of a storage unit to see over and beyond, and there I could see the street where Anakin says “will I ever see you again” to his mother.
Climbing back down and heading behind the row of Ksars I could feel the excitement growing all I had to do now was find the spot. Things look a little different in real life to what they do in the movies!
1) There was no sand on the floor only the cobblestones and 2) all the set decoration had gone; one grain storage unit looked pretty much like any other. But with some pacing up and down could work out the door to Anakin’s hovel. (see image).
By the time I had got the photo it was time to rejoin the group and head off to our next destination – Ksar Hadada.
Again we headed further south and somehow managed to go through Tataouine the real world name given to Luke and Anakin’s home planet.
Slave Quarters part 2 – Ksar Hadada, Tunisia.
Ksar Hadada has a nice big sign outside exclaiming its use in the Star Wars saga (see image).
Once we entered through the large wooded doors I headed left slightly down an alley of storage units. At the end of the alley were the strange curved structures that formed the rear shots of the slave quarters on Tatooine.
These can be seen in TPM when Qui-Gon is discussing Anakin’s skills with shmi as Anakin tinkers with his pod.
Deleted Scene – YouTube video.