Published June 20, 2012
It was in a galaxy far, far away … otherwise known as Tunisia.
The iconic homestead on Tatooine of future Jedi knight Luke Skywalker -- where his loyal aunt and uncle hid him from the prying eyes of the empire -- was actually filmed by George Lucas and Co. in the deserts of Tunisia. But the spot where Luke dreamed of epic Tie Fighter battles and zipping around the galaxy was crumbling -- until Terry Cooper came along.
"It’s the most iconic scene of all six Star Wars movies,” 42-year-old Welsh superfan Cooper told “Wales Tonight,” a program on TV station iTV. “And knowing that that place does exist, in a real place on Earth, that’s free to go and see … it’s something that we thought it would be a shame if this ended up as just a faceless ditch in the desert one day.”
Learning of the crumbling film set -- it’s actually located outside of the remote Tunisian village of Tataouine -- Cooper and some fellow fans set up a Facebook page and started collecting donations to repair the "moisture farm."
Within a year, 425 donors gave amounts ranging from $1 to $600 apiece to build a $11,700 fund.
Working in the desert heat alongside local workers, the team had just six days to complete the restoration of “Lars Homestead” (named after Luke's aunt and uncle, Owen and Beru Lars, according to Wookieepedia) and restore the crumbling building to a facility worthy of a rebel leader -- a future rebel leader anyway.
They reinforced the outer layer of the edifice with wood before reattaching the props Lucas and his team built so many decades ago.
“When you get your camera out, the first thing you want to do is stand on the ridge of the crater and look off to the horizon and just think, this is the actual spot where, 35 years ago, the film was actually made.”
It seems the Force was with him on this mission.