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Visiting The Set - Twenty Mule Team Canyon
20 Mule Team Canyon

Twenty Mule Team Canyon is located in the same general area as Artist's Palette and Desolation Canyon. Between 1882 and 1890, teams of 20 mules were used to pull wagons containing Borax through this canyon. These teams hauled loads of up to 23 tons a strenuous 165 miles to the railroad in Mojave.That is where the canyon's name comes from. About a half a mile in, you will find the path that C-3PO and R2-D2 traveled on during their trek to Jabba's Palace. The easiest way to spot it is to look for the three peaks on the left.

Shot taken in 20 Mule Team Canyon by Star Wars Crew in 1982

The top and upper right corner of the frame were masked off from exposure, as they would later have a matte painting added by artist Michael Pangrazio. The mountains on the horizon in the background as well as Jabba's Palace and the area immediately surrounding were all added in by the matte artist.

Comparison Shot - Spring 1982 vs. Oct. 2000

Ranger Charlie Callagan had actually placed a rock pile at the spot he believes is the exact angle from the film. You'll note that like the Desolation Canyon shots, this one was taken from an elevated positions. As a result, some of the runoffs on the left look slightly different (from ground level.) Our comparison shot does not match the exact angle. We took a lot of pictures, but it was getting very dark and we had 100 speed film, not a good combination. This is the only one that came out at all. Ranger Callagan explained that the film shot was taken right after a flood that washed out the main road. The road through the canyon would be off to the right of the film shot, but it was washed away, leaving what appears to be a "road" that R2 and 3PO are walking on. The area now is fairly flat.

One thing we found interesting was that this shot was in ROTJ, but it was very close to the locations of the ANH shots. Perhaps it was originally shot for ANH but never used? Or maybe they just knew that area of Death Valley looked good and thus went back....

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