Thursday, 12 February 2015


Stormtroopers gather at the main entrance road to Mos Eisley. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI Special Collections.

The Imperial hunt for the fugitive droids carrying the stolen Death Star data tapes intensifies as Mos Eisley is plagued by Stormtroopers, in this classic sequence from STAR WARS shot in the Djerba fishing village as location filming neared its completion in Tunisia circa April 1976. At a checkpoint, Luke and his party are questioned by a squad (their leader played by Anthony Forrest, happily and specially recruited to the location to work with Sir Alec Guinness, quickly retrieved from the hotel's swimming pool!) before the elder Jedi Ben Kenobi uses his powers to free them from their predicament.

Mos Eisley Streets - Star Wars - Ajim. Tunisia - 1976 - YouTube

A Stormtrooper commander (Anthony Forrest, wearing the orange patch) questions our newly arrived heroes. Image: Ann Skinner/ BFI Special Collections.
Two droids that make background appearances in the sequence. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI Special Collections.

Outside the Cantina as Luke and Ben make negotiations for a star pilot for their journey to Alderaan, and meet Chewbacca, Threepio and Artoo observe a seedy human (Peter Diamond), later named Garouf Lafoe in the Expanded Universe, heading towards two Stormtroopers...

Part of a deleted scene of the droids outside the Cantina.
Reference image of Anthony Daniels as Threepio at the location. Image: Ann Skinner/BFI Special Collections.

From the Fourth Revised Draft of THE STAR WARS, dated 15/3/76


Threepio paces in front of the cantina as Artoo carries on an electronic conversation with another red R2 unit. 

THREEPIO: What could be taking them so long?

A patron comes out of the cantina and approaches two stormtroopers.

THREEPIO: I don't like the look of this.

Garouf Lafoe (Peter Diamond) confers with Stormtroopers. Note the middle trooper without his helmet band.

From Ann Skinner's continuity notes (handwritten) on Diamond's costume: Peaked cap- googles on hat above peak. Grey plastic of glasses. One flap keeping it up. Off white grey shirt laced up in front and held in place by w/coat and khaki coloured. 

One of the Stormtroopers in this scene does not have the black band marking on his helmet. This is noticeable on one of two continuity Polaroid images that Skinner takes of these two backpacked Stormtoopers (one front full length, the other rear full length) at the street location and in the above image. One of the troopers also bears a long tipped rifle/blaster seen in earlier filming at the abandoned escape pod.

Skinner's hand written info on the scene also highlights another particular human extra whom she thought was worthy of note for his costume: Beige colourless long-sleeed shirt leather with coat open, but loosely held together at waist. Key belt pouches at back. Gun on hip.

Kenny Baker taking a break on location in the Artoo shell, with a Power Droid opposite.

A colour Polaroid at the street location by Skinner additionally shows Artoo and Threepio with a power droid in front of them. In the distance is the cantina with an unknown human standing far right.

A landspeeder travels the road.
Spacecraft wreckage assembled at the location to hide a native building from shot.
A used space ship dealer beckons people on in this posed image.

On set photographer John Jay captured images of other varied extras and droids in and around the Tunisia location, whilst Skinner's Polaroids additionally show the Cantina and its street empty, plus a wide shot of the ship wreck damage, featuring a round shell droid in front (which had appeared previosuly in the Lars Homestead Jawa droid sale sequence) and a human far left walking rightwards.

With thanks to Ann Skinner and the BFI Special Collections.

With thanks to Chris Baker for additional images.

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