It’s hard to believe that there’s still a standing set from the original Star Wars film shoot in 1976, but if you go out into the Tunisian desert you’ll find it: the Lars homestead; home of Luke Syywalker before Imperial Stormtroopers killed Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru and ransacked the place while he was out.
To this day, you can still head out to the corner of the middle and nowhere and see the still standing Lars homestead. Just like Mark Cox, a 35-year-old insurance worker from southeast England, did in 2010 when he married his wife Sarah there. But while the couple was in Tunisia, they noticed that the old Lars homestead was, what you might call, a fixer-upper, and they decided they would. Fixer-up that is.
“It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Mark Cox. “But it was so humbling that people had trusted us with the money to do the work, and that they so wanted to help us.”
That money was the some $11,700 from 400 donors that Mark and Sarah raised through a Facebook page for two years. Their original plan was to go to Tunisia with a crew of six to repair and restore the old set last year, but their plans were postponed a year because of Arab Spring unrest in the country. The homesteaders were finally able to make the trip earlier this year and they got down to business.
“It’s just captivating – there’s nothing there,” Cox said. “It really feels like you are actually there in the film, and when you watch the sun set it is amazing.”
If any of this sounds intriguing, Cox says that their efforts were filmed for a possible documentary, and he himself is also thinking about penning a book about his experience. Profits from both endeavours will be fed back into the ongoing efforts to preserve the Star Wars set.
“Now that we’ve done the work, we hope people will be able to go there and have those memories again,” Cox said. “It’s been my moment of fame, and I’ve had so many messages of thanks since I got back.”