On Sept. 7, 2000, George Lucas finally brought ”Star Wars” home.
Yes, he went to Tunisia in 1997, to shoot ”Episode I – The Phantom Menace.” But back then, he did not come to Chott Le Jerid, the earthly stand-in for the Tatooine stamping grounds of Luke Skywalker.
Incredibly, the original sets Lucas built on this arid lakebed 27 years ago – including the deep crater he dug for the family’s shelter – are still there, tended to year-round by locals who wear vintage ”Star Wars” T-shirts. For the younger cast and crew who accompanied Lucas to Chott Le Jerid to shoot ”Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” being there was like leaping back into their childhoods. ”It’s the iconic set of the whole series. The homestead,” recalls the 58-year-old Lucas. ”The kids were excited because this is what they remembered ‘Star Wars’ to be. For me, it was a nostalgic trip to the past. Standing out there, it was like no time had passed at all.”