The Dunes


A few kilometers away from Lars Owen's craters stands a little dune area that has been used for the scenes in the beginning of the movie. It is there where C3PO and D2R2 have a dispute after having crash landed an escape pod. The scene were the Empire's troopers track them shortly after ("Look sir, droids !") was also shot at this location.

It is astonishing how the physiognomy of the desert can change from completely flat ground to sandy dunes in so such short a distance. Not far from the Star Wars canyon, there are valleys perfectly suitable for Westerns. A variety of landscapes added to the modern infrastructures of the towns of Tozeur and Nefta (airport, hotels, manpower) have turned the region to an attractive place for directors of movies which plot is set in arid territories.

Back to Star Wars. How did I identify the dunes of "A New Hope"? In other words how does a dune differ from another? The place I was refering to is well known for its really big dune named "La Grande Dune" by the local population. It is a tourist attraction and it is the very one on which C3PO walks, as remember those who partook at the shooting 20 years ago. Not only C3PO, but also the German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has been invited to visit it during a diplomatic trip, as a starter of the Sahara desert, a few kilometers farther south.

Much more tangible proof is the discovering of Kryat Dragon's skeleton, abandoned by the crew in 1976. Made of glass fiber, the bones are almost intact. First covered with sand by thermal winds they have been dug out by rare but violent floods.

Below are pictures taken during the Spring. With the heat reaching up to 50 degrees celsius, it has been a superhuman effort to carry the camera in one hand and the pictures of the movie in the other while travelling on foot. Past an hour wandering, I ran out of water and had to go back to the Bereber tent.



"A New Hope"  (1976)

C3PO walking on the "grand dune".

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Same place, 1997


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"A New Hope" 1976


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Same place, 1997


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Making of "ANH", 1976

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Same place, 1997

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Here is a picture of Krayt Dragon bones remains 20 years after they were used in the movie. Luckily the dragon's bones have been found : some parts can be seen on the camel and, below, at Philip Vanni's home in France. Highly coveted by collectors, who would pay a fortune to get one, they may be sold by auction at Christi's in London in December 1998.


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