Approach to Jabba’s Palace – Death Valley, California.
STARWARS.COM DATABANK – Tatooine
STARWARS.COM – GALACTIC BACKPACKING Article:
According to John Knoll in his book “Creating the Worlds of Star Wars, 365 days”, the scene of C-3PO and R2-D2 approaching Jabba’s palace door was filmed in Death Valley’s Twenty Mule Team Canyon in December 1982.
Heading South East from Zabriskie Pont (right from the car park) along the 190 for 1.3km then turn right onto the Canyon Road 20 Mule Team Rd (I believe it is one way). Travel approx. 1km and you should arrive at the location filmed with C-3PO and R2-D2 at the start of ROTJ.
Desert Skiff Ride, Tatooine – Buttercup Valley, Yuma, Arizona.
Located at the point where the Gila and Colorado Rivers converge, Yuma originated as a major transportation hub, as goods came from the West coast and were shipped up river.
Yuma has been the best site for crossing the Colorado River – Spanish conquistadors travelled this route in the 1500’s and the only Ocean to Ocean bridge was constructed here in 1920, linking the Eastern U.S. and the West Coast.
Yuma is the Southernmost community along Arizona’s West Coast.
The cast and crew endured temperatures of 120 degrees. Buttercup’s spectacular Imperial Dunes provided the perfect backdrop for the creatures of Tatooine.
Rather than go back to Tunisia, Lucas and crew stayed closer to home in the deserts of Yuma. Production was kept secret trying not to let too much out about the latest Star Wars sequel.
This is where the fake movie name “BLUE HARVEST – Horror beyond imagination” comes from. Cast, crew and call sheets all hoped to contain the media frenzy, but a group of dune buggy enthusiasts got a closer look and saw some tell-tale SW references.
And then the fans are told its “Revenge of the Jedi”.
Behind the scenes footage – YouTube video
The full size Sail Barge and skiff were built in Buttercup Valley on a flat section of desert surrounded by dunes and filmed in April 1982.
Carrie Fisher and stunt double between takes.
Deleted scene after the heroes are rescued, C-3PO awaits.
Possibly – 36°24’28.6″N 116°47’50.1″W
(image courtesy of Steve Hall’s Death Valley Adventures)
(very good comparison photos and guides)