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By David West Reynolds
$17,851 pledged of $10,000 goal
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All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

My name is Dr. David West Reynolds. I am an archaeologist and a New York Times #1 best-selling Star Wars author. If you're a Star Wars fan, you may have seen some of my Star Wars Visual Dictionaries, Cross-sections books, or my many articles in Star Wars Insider.

Some of the official Star Wars books I have written
Some of the official Star Wars books I have written

When I was finishing up my Ph.D in 1995, I learned that the original Star Wars filming locations used for Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine had become lost. Not even Lucasfilm knew where they were anymore! I decided to head out to Tunisia and find them. It would be a test of my skills as an archaeologist… and an opportunity to set foot on another world.

 The expedition was successful beyond my wildest dreams.

Site of moisture farm on salt flat
Site of moisture farm on salt flat

 

Site of underground dining room in Matmata
Site of underground dining room in Matmata

I found not only all of the original Star Wars filming locations, but pieces of the original sets still in place. I found set décor and props that had been lying out in the sun, abandoned for two decades!

Articles about my Journey to Tataouine
Articles about my Journey to Tataouine

I wrote a famous article about my adventure for Lucasfilm’s official magazine, the Star Wars Insider, and coverage has appeared in several other publications, including Harper's magazine. But the full story has never been told. Now I would like to share it all with you in a documentary called Journey to Tataouine.

The video will run about an hour in length. It wastes no time and puts us on the ground in Tunisia immediately, following along with the expedition. In order to give you an experience as close as possible to the original discovery, I am building this project out of the S-VHS footage shot back in 1995, as the expedition was happening. 

A few photos from this project have been published by Lucasfilm, and a handful of stills appear in an interview segment with Star Wars producer Rick McCallum on the Saga Blu-Ray box set released in 2011, but none of my video footage has ever been shared before. This footage constitutes a time capsule of the sites as they were when I found them—when no one else in the world knew where they were, and they lay completely untouched.

Map Set

To help you follow the narrative of the half dozen separate "treasure hunts" that were scattered across Tunisia from the coast to the dunes of the Sahara, I have created special maps and graphics.

Prototype maps created for Lucasfilm
Prototype maps created for Lucasfilm

The prototypes of these maps were created specially for producer Rick McCallum when I was working for him as a location scout, and they were never published. For the Journey to Tataouine video project I am creating enhanced new versions to help the viewer in re-tracing the original discoveries. 

Join Me on the Journey

As an official Lucasfilm author I wrote seven Star Wars reference guide books while I worked at Skywalker Ranch. For those projects I had the run of the Lucasfilm Archives, and I had some pretty wild adventures along the way, in and out of various original Star Wars costumes. But in Journey to Tataouine, I can finally share with you the most exciting Star Wars experiences that I ever had.

With Journey to Tataouine I want to be your guide to a strange middle ground between reality and fantasy… a place that is at the same time the foreign country of Tunisia and a faraway planet. Between my half a dozen trips there, my location scouting for Lucasfilm, and my work at Skywalker Ranch, I can assure you that nobody knows this desert planet the way I do.

Archaeologist and robot friend in Dune Sea
Archaeologist and robot friend in Dune Sea

Whether you want to travel in the safe comfort of your armchair, or head off to North Africa to follow in my footsteps, Journey to Tataouine is your passport to an adventure unlike any other. And nothing quite like it will ever happen again.  

For the BBC and for private clients I have served as an on-location guide to the Star Wars landscapes of Tunisia. This video will put that same experience in your hands. 

Thanks for looking over this project. I hope you will choose to join me, and help to launch this documentary version of the Journey to Tataouine.

Stretch Goals

It will require $10,000 to complete post-production, including fees for professional audio polish work, soundtrack music licensing and other such finishing costs. We will have a good solid show about an hour long. 

However, as the rough cut has made clear, one hour does not allow me to go into all the detail that real Star Wars fans would enjoy about each of these locations. There is quite a bit of additional interesting footage and information that I would love to be able to share. So, if support for Journey to Tataouine goes substantially beyond the baseline required for the hour-long show, I can afford to put together roughly 3 - 5 minute in-depth "bonus features" which would be added to the DVD. Further examples of spaceport-style architecture and a thorough tour of the underground homestead are just two of the prospects! I will provide more details about these bonus features, including some sneak-peek stills, if funding looks like it might exceed our baseline. The bottom line is that I pledge to you that every bit of support that comes in for this project will make the final product better.

Risks and challenges

I am a best-selling author, with over two million hardcover copies of my books sold worldwide in some 14 languages... so I know how to tell a good story. I have given presentations about my Journey to Tataouine at San Diego Comic Con (standing room only) and at museums, libraries, and official Lucasfilm events across the country, so I know that people love this "treasure hunt" tale. The reactions of those audiences have helped me to craft the story into its best and most entertaining form. At Skywalker Ranch I helped cut movie trailers and MTV music videos, so I also know how to produce a video project. Finally, this documentary is about my own adventures rather than those of the Star Wars characters, and uses no Star Wars footage, so it needs no license or approval from Lucasfilm or Disney. (Tataouine is actually a real town in Tunisia, so it can be used in the title without infringement.) The rough cut of the show is already assembled, and the funding is needed only for the final post-production work. There is minimal risk or challenge in this project... only the post-production funding is missing, and you are the one who can take care of that! Fund this project and you can confidently expect an entertaining video about a unique story.

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    Tataouine Project wallpaper (download)

    Help us out with a token $5 pledge and you can download a special image that puts the Journey to Tataouine on your computer. Suitable resolution for computer wallpaper use, this image features highlights from throughout the expedition over a map of Tunisia.

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    Journey to Tataouine mini-Poster

    11" X 17" movie-style mini-poster promoting the Journey to Tataouine project as if it were a theatrical release

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    Journey to Tataouine Map Set

    Five 8 1/2" X 11"maps covering the Star Wars filming locations in Tunisia.

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    Journey to Tataouine DVD

    DVD copy of the hour-long video Journey to Tataouine

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    DVD and Map Set

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    Personalized Visual Dictionary

    Here's a special new Reward opportunity! For a contribution of $50 or more, I will not only sign but PERSONALIZE a copy of my Star Wars Classic Trilogy Visual Dictionary, AND add an annotation pointing out where the book pictures the sand creature bone props that I recovered in Tunisia. This ties the documentary directly to the book in a unique way.

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    Early Bird Bundle

    SIGNED DVD copy of Journey to Tataouine documentary plus Map Set, together with set of five custom trading cards celebrating the expedition, PLUS two unique Early Bird cards

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    Rewards Set: DVD, Maps, Cards, & Poster

    Here is the full basic Rewards Package: Signed DVD copy of Journey to Tataouine video, set of 5 Maps, 11 X 17" mini-poster print, and set of five custom trading cards celebrating the expedition.

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    Grand Package with Set of 5 Books

    For up to ten generous supporters at $250 I will put together a grand package with a full set of my five best-selling DK Star Wars books, all beautifully signed—and with a special remarque in the Classic Trilogy Visual Dictionary noting the photo of the sand creature bones that I found in Tunisia (and possibly another fun little notation or two). These five books are on top of the full Rewards Package of signed DVD copy of Journey to Tataouine video, set of 5 Maps, signed 11 X 17" mini-poster print, and set of five custom trading cards.

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    Executive Producer Set

    Support the project with a substantial contribution of $2500 or more and you will receive an Executive Producer credit on the documentary. An Executive Producer also receives the entire Grand Package of rewards offered at the $250 level, as well as a vial of 1995 filming location sand in a special presentation shadowbox.

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    Rewards Package plus Visual Dictionary

    Contribute $100 and I will add a signed copy of my best-selling DK Star Wars Classic Trilogy Visual Dictionary to the Rewards Package that includes signed DVD copy of Journey to Tataouine video, set of 5 Maps, 11 X 17" mini-poster print, and set of five custom trading cards.

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    Rewards Package plus "Tataouine Sand"

    For just a handful of supporters I can offer a small vial of the "Dune Sea" sand that I recovered from the filming location in 1995 (with certificate of authenticity) in addition to the full basic Rewards Package featuring signed DVD copy of Journey to Tataouine video, set of 5 Maps, signed 11 X 17" mini-poster print, and set of five custom trading cards celebrating the expedition.

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