Obi Wan Kenobithe limited series chronicling the continued adventures of Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi lands on Disney+ tonight.
Set years after the events that ended the ill-fated prequel films, the series continues after Kenobi, also played by Ewan McGregor, dumped infant Luke Skywalker on the desert planet of Tatooine and watches from the sidelines as he grows up .
Most of the final round of shooting took place in Los Angeles, where McGregor battled the growing might of the Empire against a variety of special effects and digital backdrops.
Denied today’s impact, the original films, filmed long ago on a continent far, far away, had to search the deserts of Tunisia for the realism offered by contemporary digital forces.
Shooting on locations across Tunisia, George Lucas captured everything from the resort island of Djerba and the traditional cave dwellings inland to the gorges and salt flats around Tozeur in the south of the country.
In recent years, however, an endless series of setbacks has visited Tunisia and its southern desert areas, halting visitor numbers and hampering tourism.
Over the past 11 years, revolution, radicalisation, environmental concerns and the pandemic, coupled with the relative obscurity of English language films among local populations, have doomed many of the original film locations that once withstood the might of the Galactic Empire to defeat through disinterest and neglect .
That doesn’t mean there isn’t reason for renewed hope.
Plans by the German Foundation GIZ and the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism to open up the locations of four of the more well-known films made in Tunisia are already bearing fruit.
Before the 2010/11 revolution and the construction of bespoke film sets in Morocco, Tunisia hosted a number of major film shoots, with Hunter of the lost treasure, The English patient and, somewhat controversially, Monty Python’s Life of Brian All are filmed in Tunisia and are included in the new route.
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“Some of the war of stars Sites are still very well preserved, while some others still need investment in restoration,” said a GIZ spokesman.
“However, there are many efforts. For example, at the beginning of May, Luke Skywalker’s house – “Lars Homestead” – was renovated by the war of stars Fan club with the support of GIZ.”
However, this is not the whole story. Grand Sahara Adventures used to run tours of many of the war of stars Pre-pandemic locations.
There have been “no tourists for two years; even the [annual] The Sahara Festival has been cancelled,” the agency’s Bruno Fournier said via email. Still, he and others all pointed to the significant demand for not only war of stars Tourism, but a general hunger to travel in and around Tunisia’s remarkable desert landscape.
It is in and around the southern town of Tozeur where most of the truly recognizable places are found. Here you’ll find Luke Skywalker’s newly renovated space igloo, Sidi Bouhlel, or Star Wars Canyon as it became known, and the sprawling fiberglass sets of Mos Espa, which, whatever Anakin Skywalker thinks about it, is beginning to lose its fight in the sands.
While development is underway, the Jundland Wastes, which has been the outskirts location of Luke Skywalker’s childhood home since 1977, should not be traveled lightly.
Not too far behind are the larger Mos Espa sets used in many of the prequels. Seeing the village isolated from the dwellings means capturing at least some of the otherworldly atmosphere that the prequel films aspired to.
Away from Mos Espa, past the Camel’s Neck sand structure which heralded the arrival of the villain Darth Maul, and into the foothills of the Atlas Mountains lies the Sidi Bouhlel Gorge.
It was so popular with the production at the time that it became known as Star Wars Canyon. If you visit now, you’re likely to be undisturbed as you wander past shrines to long-dead Sufi saints, to look down into the gorges and imagine the Jawas and Tusken Raiders who would have terrified any passing anthropologist in 1977 .
That many of the truths we hold depend on our point of view is never truer than when we step inside from the outside of Luke’s childhood home near Tozeur, some 175 miles away in the central town of Matmata. Here the traditional underground structures dating back to the Phoneker occupation of Tunisia saw unexpected services as Lars Homestead.
Today it serves as a working hotel, the Sidi Driss, where visitors can sleep in Luke, Lars, and Beru’s beds. In its grand courtyard, carved out of the desert rock years ago, stand the fiberglass doors and moisture evaporators of a universe far from the overlooked hotel, perched on the edge of a winding mountain road.
The hotel, which has been closed for much of the pandemic, faces an uncertain future.
His manager, Massoud Ben Rachid, recalls having to guide his family and workers through the worst of the pandemic. The future is uncertain.
“We don’t even want to think about closing it,” he said. “And I say ‘we’ because the hotel is a community effort. It’s really. At some point we even had to cut (our) salaries to keep the hotel open.
“We feel helpless. We want it to thrive and do everything we can, but in times of crisis the situation becomes too difficult. We hope this summer will be good,” he said.
Like tourist destinations throughout the Mediterranean, Tunisia has bet a lot on the upcoming summer. When the pandemic hit, the country lost around 15 percent of its GDP and countless jobs in a country where casual work is often the norm.
But from the hotels of Matmata to the marketplaces of Ksar Hadada, many will be watching TV tonight and hoping, against all odds, that they’re feeling very good.
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/star-wars-tunisia-obi-wan-kenobi-disney-b2237567.html Where is Disney’s Obi-Wan Kenobi series filmed?