Star Wars: How George Lucas’ Star Wars Almost Started a Real War


The “Star Wars” saga is about an intergalactic war. George Lucas’s “Star Wars” almost sparked a real war on Earth.

Star Wars: Tatooine was filmed in the desert of Tunisia.

Star Wars: Tatooine was filmed in the desert of Tunisia. (Source:

  • The Jawas are scrap collectors and cross the Tatooine desert in the first “Star Wars” film with a sand crawler.
  • In order to make his world as authentic as possible, George Lucas created completely new designs for the Jawas and their vehicle in 1977.
  • However, he probably would not have thought that the novelty of the sand crawler would cause irritation and almost trigger a war.

George Lucas’ first “Star Wars” film was released in cinemas in 1977. The then young director famously shot the film in Death Valley, California, and Tunisia. Shooting the desert planet Tatooine required a real desert. While Lucas was filming his Star Wars in Tunisia, a real war almost threatened to break out.

The desert area where Lucas filmed is on the border with Libya. Tunisia and Libya share a 460-kilometer-long border and the situation was extremely tense in the 1970s. The situation was almost brought to a boil by – unbelievably – the cute Jawas, who almost started a war between Libya and Tunisia.

The Sandcrawler was misinterpreted as a military vehicle

Star Wars - The Mandalorian: The Sandcrawler is often used by the Jawas on Tatooine to drive through the desert.

Star Wars – The Mandalorian: The Sandcrawler is often used by the Jawas on Tatooine to drive through the desert. (Source: Disney / LUCASFILM / Montage: Netzwelt)

The then head of state of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, who came to power in a military coup in the late 1960s, threatened Tunisia during the filming of “Star Wars”. He demanded the immediate withdrawal of the military vehicle from the border area, otherwise he threatened military countermeasures and war.

In reality, the “military vehicle” was a sand crawler, which is the vehicle used by the Jawas in the “Star Wars” film. Although the sandcrawler is not as large as it appears on screen, it was about the size of a tank, which only increased Gaddafi’s suspicions.

Lucas, who was in no situation to explain the nature of the sand crawler as a film prop, complied with the request to film the scenes at a different location and had the “military vehicle” withdrawn from the border area.

Why didn’t George Lucas feel able to explain the situation?

While vehicles like the Sandcrawler are an integral part of pop culture today, Lucas’ world was still new back then. No one knew Tatooine, Star Destroyer or Sandcrawler. Lucas was unwilling to take risks and preferred to shoot in a different location rather than explain his world. He probably wanted the film to speak for itself when it was released.

Additional scenes on Tatooine were therefore filmed in Death Valley. Only for future productions, after the galaxy far, far away had already been established on the big screen, did Lucas venture back to Tunisia to film there.

By the way, Taooine in “The Mandalorian” was filmed against a virtual background. With modern technology, a real set in the desert no longer had to be built. We’ll find out when Tatooine will be seen next in the upcoming “Star Wars” releases!

Rate The Mandalorian
genreDrama, Action & Adventure, Sci-Fi & Fantasy
First broadcast

November 12, 2019

First broadcast in Germany

Other sources
networkDisney Play


Lucasfilm, Walt Disney Studios, Fairview Entertainment, Golem Creations


Don’t miss anything with this NETWORK WORLDNewsletter

Every Friday: The most informative and entertaining summary from the world of technology!

Use AtlasVPN for free with all functions: Here's how

Use AtlasVPN for free with all functions That’s how it’s done

This page was created with data from Amazon, Netflix, MagentaTV, Sky Online, iTunes, The Movie Database,, Warner Home Entertainment, Sony Home Entertainment or the respective production studios and/or publishers. If you have any errors or problems, please use the contact form.

Source link -67