Beginning the Journey
by David West Reynolds
May 01, 1997-Today, the waiting is over for Raphael and Francis. The first Star Wars CCG World Championship comes to fruition as we meet to begin our journey to Tatooine. I am very excited about our exploration of the original shooting locations of Star Wars, and in truth, I am amazed that Lucasfilm approved this extraordinary tour for the winners.
I have instructed the expedition members to pack light, because our Land Cruiser will be full to capacity with our landing party. Most of our luggage will be strapped on top of the vehicle as we cross hundreds of miles of Tunisia's Southern Wastes. I've had Raphael and Francis send me photocopies of their passports--such back-ups can cut through the red tape when crucial documents go missing.
My satellite locator is fully charged, and we have a video reference library and a micro-TV monitor for reviewing Star Wars scenes while in the field. (editors note: David West Reynolds recently earned his Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. Satellite locators, video reference library, micro-TV monitor....these are only a few of the sophisticated tools of a contemporary archaeologist. Things have really changed since Indiana Jones hunted for artifacts!)
Decipher has supplied a set of fabulous enlargements of Tatooine images from the CCG sets which will aid our mission, and Lucasfilm has provided both stills and video for reference as well. Raphael and Francis don't know it yet, but we will actually be staying in a hotel that, in the movie, was Luke Skywalker's home. The amenities of this hole in the ground may be a bit short of the other hotels we'll visit, but...would you pass up a chance to sleep in the Lars Homestead guest room?
The tiny bar in this hotel (next to Aunt Beru's dining room) now has a little Star Wars "shrine" in it, started with photos and materials I left during two visits in 1995. For years this location had languished in complete obscurity, and the proprietor had no record at all of his hotel's role in Star Wars. All he could do was point to the remaining parts of the original set decorations and try to explain about robots and rusty machinery and a guy in kind of a karate outfit, and...well..."it WAS a very important movie, honest...."
The truth is, Star Wars, the world's most popular film series ever, is virtually unknown in Tunisia. The innkeeper was absolutely delighted to get Star Wars stills I had promised him. At last he has photographs that prove his story. People no longer think of him as being stark raving mad when he tells them about his hotel's role in Star Wars.
The hotel/Lars homestead film location is only one of the Star Wars sites that we will experience. Many more await, and our schedule should permit extensive explorations. We will hike far back into the Jundland Wastes and explore all the back alleys of the cities that became Mos Eisley. That is, if we can get through the Imperial blockade. Wish us luck! My next report will come to you via satellite while I'm on expedition with Raphael and Francis....stay tuned.
Salut,David West Reynolds