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Six Star Wars Fans and the Ultimate DIY Project

The Lars Homestead, all photos by Mark Durmel and Michel Verpoorten

The Lars Homestead, all photos by Mark Durmel and Michel Verpoorten

A long time ago (roughly 35 years), in a galaxy far, far away (well in Africa actually), good old George filmed some of the scenes for his humble little space opera about a (moisture) farm boy, out in the desert near a town called Nefta in Tunisia. His crew scouted for locations and built some sets, they did their thing and left.

The film was moderately successful, and about 20 years later they came came and did it all again for a prequel series – hoping to repeat the success. Some of the sets had to be tidied up and given a new lick of paint, and some new locations had to be found too. When they left this time, the locals saw an opportunity and ran with it, setting up little stalls in the souks, collecting props that had been left behind and generally help to relieve any passing tourists of their money!

Since then, one of those sets in particular has been left to the ravages of the desert. The entrance to the Lars Homestead, affectionately dubbed ‘The Igloo,’ was last seen (at least chronologically) with two smouldering skeletons on its steps as Luke learns of his destiny and begins his quest to restore peace and order to the galaxy.

The crumbling entrance

The crumbling entrance

Mark Dermul is a man with his own quest, linked very closely to Luke’s. Just after the first of the prequels were released, he traveled from his home in Belgium to Tunisia with the intention of seeking out as many of the sets and locations as he could find. After his return, he wrote a blog about his adventures which captured the imagination of many fans and he soon found himself becoming an unofficial tour guide, taking fans from all over the world on a “Trip To Tatooine” and even writing a fewStar Wars travel guides about their adventures.

On what he thought was going to be his last tour in 2010, some of the ‘Pioneers’ on the trip remarked on the poor state of the Lars Homestead and a crazy idea was born. Upon his return home, he started up the ‘Save The Lars Homestead’ project on Facebook and got a fabulous response from the fans, who start donating towards the $10,000 goal to cover the costs of an expedition to rebuild the iconic set. The project received a blessing from Lucasfilm, mentions from all over the internet and Mark started negotiations with the Tunisian government who own the site to try to get the permits he’d need to complete the work.

Removing the rotten parts

Removing the rotten parts

In December a slight hiccup in the form of a little revolution in Tunisia put the negotiations on hold, but the donations kept coming in and the goal was reached by May 2011. After the new government was elected in October, the negotiations started up again and by December the permits had been authorized and the trip planned for May 2012

Read the rest of the story on the Wired.com site..

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This entry was posted on July 7, 2012 by in comment, wired.com and tagged , , .
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