Undeniable Fact About AOTC #20: It Was The Last Star Wars Film Shot In Tunisia

The North African nation of Tunisia doubled as Tatooine in ANH, TPM, and AOTC. (There were no Tatooine visits in TESB and all of the Tatooine scenes in ROTJ were shot in the U.S. Southwest.) It turns out that location shoot in 2000 was the last time the Star Wars crew came to the original home of Mos Eisley, Mos Espa, and the Lars homestead. Lucas shot plates that were used for the final scene in ROTS while he was filming AOTC. I can’t say with 100% certainty that the desert shots done for Episode VII were meant to be Tatooine, but everything points to that they are “Tatooine,” and those were done in Abu Dhabi. Unless some future production returns to Tunisia, AOTC marked the end of an era.

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18 Responses to “Undeniable Fact About AOTC #20: It Was The Last Star Wars Film Shot In Tunisia”

  1. PrinceOfNaboo Says:

    Just imagine hateboy rage if Lucas had dared NOT to return to Tunisia …. when it’s not Lucas (Disney production) and hateboys are always assured they are premium fans for Disney by the “recreaters” (Abrams, Kasdan etc.), it obviously doesn’t matter.

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      We don’t have to imagine it. The footage Lucas shot for ROTS during AOTC wasn’t used and the ROTS Tatooine ending was digitally created — which sparked many pages of hateboy rage on various sites. But you’re right. Hateboys are going to immediately rag on anything Lucas does or has his name on. I just saw Guardians of the Galaxy (which I liked) and thought to myself, “Huh, look at all the digital worlds, vehicles and characters. I wonder how much hateboys would be bitching if this had Lucas’ name on it.”

      • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

        Exacty, which is part of the reason why VII will probably loved by those fans regardless oft theie true feelings. They have led themselves to think that anything Lucas did with Star Wars was bad and anything the “real heroes” (Kurtz, Kershner, Kasdan) did was good. It was terribly hard for them to blame Lucas for Indy IV, they did it anyway. But there ist no chance to do that with VII. So they have to praise it.

        I recently had a similar experience with the Iron Man films (which I had not seen before): the many times (even with close-ups and calm non-action shots) they used an entirely digital Iron Man. Nobody complained. Remember the crime Lucas committed with digital clones …

        Anyway. I LOVED Tatooine in AOTC. Such a great vibe. Fantastic set. Beautifully realized cinematography. Just remember the shot with Anakin and Padme hugging in front of the endless desert, the blue sky and sunset.

        Feels a lot like ANH.

        e, fantastic set, beautifully realized cibematography ( just remember the

      • Keith Palmer Says:

        I have the feeling myself the urge to uphold “Episode VII” as “renouncing the recent past through embracing the distant past” is very strong with some… but my concern is that if it doesn’t work, the very people doing that now will still find a way to blame it all on George Lucas “thoroughly poisoning the well” or something.

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        Keith, Episode VII will have a TON of CG (despite the spin and PR coming out of Bad Robot and LFL) and haters will insist the film (“REAL film, dude!”) is “old school” and “real” anyway. And, yes, if the film somehow ends up being another “Into Darkness,” there will undoubtedly be hateboys who will continue to blame Lucas. Because shut up.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        I did not know the ending scene in RotS did NOT use the footage they had shot during AotC. Interesting! When I watched RotS at the theatre, I thought “ah, that is the scene they shot back then as mentioned in the DVD extras”.

        Anyway, this whole CGI discussion has become pointless IMHO. I remember the documentation that is part of the “Batman Begins” bonus material. They describe how they used CGI to recreate the facade of a real building or were able to replicate Batman landing in one scene. In both cases, most people could not tell which was the real deal and which was CGI. And this was done in 2005.
        So, even if people did not like CGI in 1999, they should rethink that today. (For the record, I like the special effects in TPM – they still hold up, I’d say, CGI or not.)

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        As for Ep VII… Let’s be serious, there will be a big bunch of “how the prequels should have been” and “successful because GL was not involved” comments everywhere, for no real reason whatsoever.
        (If the movie is considered to be a disappointment, I HOPE that the majority of Darth Media will come to the conclusion that it is not GL’s fault because, well, he obviously was not really involved in the production. But then they’ll decide to rage about the fact that GL has not released the OOT…)

        I’ll wait and see how EP VII turns out. I have read somewhere the story idea GL had for the ST (the new ideas, not the ones from the 70’s because they were condensed and are part of RotJ), and it sounded really interesting. I hope the story team really follows this direction, as they have stated.

  2. madmediaman Says:

    Oh trust me. if the Sequel Trilogy fails, and there is that possibility, then they will simply say, “Everyone hated the prequels so much that he ruined Star Wars forever.” Of course totally ignoring the empirical data we have from box office returns. Even Disney acknowledged in their initial pitch to shareholders that were the Prequels released today, adjusting for inflation, taking into account tickets sold, and emerging markets overseas, that the each of the Prequels would have made over $1.5 billion worldwide each.

    But hey, forget facts when you can just launch baseless ad hominem attacks on Lucas and the mindless drone of the OT-only and nerdboy crowd will join in chorus with you. It takes zero effort or intellectual thought process when you are so blinded from reason. I tried pointing out that if Disney is catering so heavily toward an older generation with the Big 3, “going back to practical effects,” resurrecting old villains, and is trying to get young viewers to focus on OT rather than the PT, wouldn’t Episode VII’s failure be more of an indictment of the OT than George? Of course no one could fathom that.

    Then I tried to point out, using box office statistics, that Disney is taking an enormous risk releasing the film in December, and that the release date might actually work against the film domestically. Of course then they say “Star Wars is forever” and I then point out that it’s not 1977 or 1980 any more where if you were a child your options for theater entertainment were extremely limited. You basically had Disney live action or animated (which were both pretty bad at the time… post Walt’s death), you had Apes (which were no longer around), Star Trek (in reruns), and if you were lucky enough your parents might let you watch Bond… That was about it. Today’s kids are inundated with multiple big budget franchise geared specifically toward them. Marvel, DC, Potter, Hunger Games, Disney, Twilight, and more importantly you can find dozens of knockoffs on TV. The market is incredibly crowded and if you don’t get off on the right foot you might never recover.

    Frankly I doubt Star Wars will be the biggest money maker that year as both Avengers and the final Hunger Games release will vie for that title. I suspect Star Wars will come in somewhere in the mid 300’s domestically, high 300’s tops, finishing out around $900-1billion internationally. Good numbers, but certainly not the mega blockbuster numbers Disney needs for long term success. If Disney is smart they move Star Wars back to summer releases at that point.

    Audiences are starting to grow tired of mindless big budget spectacles. Summer box office is down around 17% this year… Even Guardians of he Galaxy, which the hateboys declared “This generation’s Star Wars” has done nothing to rescue the summer. I actually had to laugh at that one as Guardians is going to make less than $300 million in the US and probably top out in the $700 millions internationally (like all of the other comic book movies this summer). But general audiences are looking for something new, they want stories with some depth, and watching more crap explode on screen is growing tiresome. Unfortunately, Star Wars might get caught up in this wave.

    • lazypadawan Says:

      If there’s a backlash against Ep VII or if it doesn’t live up to the expectations of some people, I have no doubt there will be blame inexplicably dumped on Lucas or the prequels. You know how it works: none of the credit, all of the blame.

      Star Wars is a summer movie thing and Disney had problems from the start when it had already slated “Avengers: Age of Ultron” for May 2015. It would have had that movie and Star Wars on top of each other, which might have cannibalized the audience for both films. Then there were the script issues and the simple fact that nobody has ever tried to crank out a Star Wars movie from scratch in less than two and a half years. December 2015 it was because Iger had already told the shareholders that 2015 for new Star Wars was firm. While December worked for “Avatar” and “Titanic,” those were all-new epics. December worked for the LOTR movies but I think the Potter flicks still outgrossed them. In any case, 2015 and 2016 are insanely busy with geek/comic book/YA blockbusters: “Age of Ultron,” “Mockingjay Part 2,” Captain America 3, “Batman vs. Superman,” “World of Warcraft,” Star Wars Spinoff #1, Pacific Rim 2, Avatar 2, et al.. That doesn’t count any of the animated movies either: “Minions,” “Inside Out,” “The Good Dinosaur,” “Finding Dory,” “B.O.O.,” or Kung Fu Panda 3, which just so happens to open five days after Episode VII. And I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts sometime soon we’ll hear about “Frozen 2” in the pipeline, though that probably won’t happen until 2017. THAT will be the 800 pound gorilla of the decade.

      A friend was saying that he thought Eppy VII would for sure end up passing “Avatar” domestically and worldwide and I said, “No way.” All-time box office champs depend on novelty and the 7th film of a nearly 40-year-old series is in no way shape or form novel. I think your b.o. prediction is a sound one unless it’s “The Room”-awful, mostly because people are willing to give it a chance. But I also think the days of seeing a movie 14 times at the theater are over without that novelty factor. The turnaround time between theatrical release and streaming over Netflix/Apple movies or DVD/Blu-Ray release is so short now, I can pre-order downloads of movies coming out this Friday on Apple movies to watch in three month’s time. That cuts down significantly on repeat viewings. And I think it’s a factor in why summer movie box office is down this year.

      The other is of course, audiences getting kind of blahed out on the whole thing. They all seem to blend together and while many of them are not bad and entertaining enough, very few of them are particularly memorable. Plus there is significant competition from the internet, video games, and television. The stuff I keep talking about in my “great scenes” posts is what sets Star Wars apart from other popcorn flicks. That is what they should be paying attention to, those small things Lucas does in his movies.

      • madmediaman Says:

        There’s simply no way the film achieves those numbers. Avatar and Titanic are both outliers. Avatar had the novelty factor in its favor as it was the first major 3-D feature film release. It’s interesting but if you do the math and take away the 3-D and turn total tickets sold to their 2-D prices the film grosses just north of $400 domestically. Hardly earth shattering. In fact I suspect the sequels probably won’t be nearly as big as the 3-D hysteria has completely worn off in the States.

        Titanic had the benefit of being the only game in town. Just look at the releases at the end of that year and for the next three months. Hollywood had nothing to release of any consequence that Holiday season, and just dumped all of their garbage in early 98. A little known fact… Titanic was originally scheduled for Summer 98 with The Truman Show intended as the big Christmas release for Paramount, and a vehicle for Jim Carey to finally get an Academy Award nod. Paramount was so nervous about the film, but initial screenings were positive and Paramount saw the weak schedule at the end of 97 and decided to pull the trigger and swap the release dates.

        Outside of those two films the biggest grossing December releases have been Peter Jackson’s LOTR releases and the first Hobbit film. In fact if you really want to make big bucks during the holidays a November release is a better bet. Even analysts are starting to come to this realization.

        Despite some early ridiculous suggestions that Star Wars VII would gross $2 billion and one analyst even suggesting $3 billion, people who actually run numbers and analyze data are coming to a more realistic conclusion:

        http://www.thestreet.com/story/12856371/1/heres-how-bob-iger-should-release-disneys-7th-star-wars.html

        There’s just more money to be had with a May release plus the double dip effect you get with merchandising tied to a movie release in May then followed up with home video tied into the Holidays. But hey, I’m not running the company.

      • lazypadawan Says:

        That’s another problem with a December release: not too much time before Christmas to move gifts (though collector-holics will buy them beforehand anyway) and there’s no big gift-giving holiday season when the movie is out on DVD/Blu-Ray.

        $3 billion? What crackhead came up with that?

    • Stefan Kraft Says:

      Just a thought: the majority of blockbuster box office is made by the “Average Joe” viewer. Such people are not die-hard fans – and who knows, after the whole Darth Media comments that the PT was awful, who knows how many might think “well, the last movies were bad, why should I watch these ones?” And the hateboys have sunk their own ship in the end…

      It could however also turn out differently: most might say “well, I enjoyed all of the precedent movies – nice entertainment, I’ll watch these new ones, too”. Why? Because I think (or at least hope) that the majority of moviegoers enjoy the prequels, no matter what a loud minority says.

  3. madmediaman Says:

    And one more thing. The press is now once again pulling out their knives on Lucas (for whatever reason). With new articles about the Original Original Trilogy, and how George wants to prevent you from seeing that:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/star-wars-george-lucas-doesnt-150000465.html?soc_src=mediacontentstory

    Or how George almost “ruined” Empire by not using Frank Oz’s voice:

    http://www.cinemablend.com/new/George-Lucas-Almost-Ruined-Star-Wars-Empire-Strikes-Back-Here-How-66923.html

    I’ll take these point by point:

    1) The original six film Saga belong to George… he reserves final edits on those films. So like it or not those are his vision of the final product. I take film preservation seriously, and while I would love to see the originals preserved for posterity, for commercial consumption it is completely George’s call. Of course the hateboys don’t get that and now believe with Disney’s ownership that the studio should go back and release the originals.

    So now we are talking about re-edits which are against the director/writer/creator’s wishes. To me that’s tantamount to Ted Turner colorizing Warner’s library because he happened to own them. Just because he could do it did not make him right.

    2) It’s easy to Monday morning QB the decision to use Oz as Yoda, because we have some 35 years of history with him playing the role. We have no idea how that would have played with another actor, and ultimately Lucas opted to keep Oz so it’s really a moot point.

    However, I will say Lucas’ first instincts were right, as I can recall numerous, and I mean numerous, complaints that Yoda sounded like Grover or Fozzy Bear, and general complaints that Yoda was too muppet like. Frank Oz doing the voice only fed into that perception. But when you are looking at the past through rose tinted glasses you tend to conveniently ignore facts like that which do not line up with your Lucas-is-a-hack agenda.

    • Hunk a Junk Says:

      OMFG. That first article you list is one of the worst pieces of hateboy (hategirl) “journalism” I’ve ever seen. The writer just accepts every hateboy meme at face value — because she had her conclusion before she even started “writing” (randomly punching squares on a keyboard is more appropriate).

    • PrinceOfNaboo Says:

      Yeah, “journalism”, that about describes it best.

      If you’re familiar with some foreign interpretations/voices of Yoda, you might understand why one could think Frank Oz wasn’t the best choice. Don’t get me wrong, Oz is a great puppeteer and Yoda is also his achievement, but I’m not the biggest fan of his vocal performance, tbh.

      • Hunk a Junk Says:

        The thing that makes the Yoda voice article so odious is that most Star Wars fans know that George also considered other voices for Threepio — his whole “used car salesman idea — before deciding that Anthony D simply WAS Threepio. I think that experience was epeated on TESB with OZ doing Yoda’s voice. George considered other possibilities until deciding to go with the performer. Here’s the irony for hateboys, however. I know for a fact (because I know an actor who did it) that other voices were considered for Jar Jar. Once again, George went with the performer. So in the case of Threepio and Yoda, George was CRAZY to even consider other voices, but in the case of Jar Jar, I’m sure they think George was CRAZY to not choose another voice. For hateboys, it’s always heads I win, tails you lose.

      • Stefan Kraft Says:

        On the other hand, they brought Ahmed Best back for TCW after having tried someone else. But let’s be serious, Ahmed IS Jar Jar. 🙂

  4. lovelucas Says:

    God – I just love this place and reading all of you. Safe harbor, warm haven, people who think like me and praise Lucas, not condemn him. And who recognizes movies, by their nature, are artificial. Why dump on George when he gave the world …so much?

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