|Planet type||Desert planet|
|Notable locations||Mos Eisley
|Created by||George Lucas|
|First appearance||Star Wars|
Tatooine // is a fictional desert planet which appears in the Star Wars space opera franchise. It is beige-coloured and is depicted as a remote, desolate world orbiting a pair of binary stars, and inhabited by human settlers and a variety of other life forms. The planet was first seen in the original 1977 film Star Wars, and has to date featured in a total five Star Wars theatrical films.
It is noted as the homeworld of the protagonist of the Star Wars saga, Luke Skywalker, and also of his father, Anakin Skywalker. Shots of the binary sunset over the Tatooine desert are considered to be an iconic image of the film series.
In his early drafts of the Star Wars story, author George Lucas changed the names of planets and characters several times. In his early treatment, Lucas opened the story on the fourth moon of the planet Utapau, the home of a young warrior called Annikin Starkiller. In Lucas's rough draft, The Star Wars (1974), the escaping droids land in a desert on the planet Aquilae; in later drafts the planet again takes the name of Utapau, a name that was later re-used for a planet in Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. Prior to production, early artwork commissioned by Lucas from conceptual illustrator Ralph McQuarrie show robots lost on a desert world scorched by twin suns, and mysterious, masked Tusken Raiders riding large horned Banthas.
George Lucas originally envisaged filming the Utapau/Tatooine scenes in Algeria (inspired by Michelangelo Antonioni's 1975 film The Passenger), Libya or Iran, but these locations were rejected by 20th Century Fox. When production began on Star Wars, production designers John Barry and Robert Watts scouted for filming locations in Morocco and Tunisia. Lucas, accompanied by producer Gary Kurtz visited the Tunisian Island of Djerba with them and were impressed by the desert landscape and the unusual architecture, and selected Tunisia to provide the desert planet setting. Lucas was also keen to shoot at the Hotel Sidi Driss in Matmata, a decision which extended the shoot by a day and consequently the budget. Filming in Tunisia began on 22 March 1976 and immediately ran into difficulty: the region was experiencing its first heavy rainfall in seven years, which disrupted the setting of an arid desert planet. The Matmata hotel consisted of a troglodyte dwelling in a large hole in the ground. Combined with shots at Chott el Djerid, near Nefta, this formed the setting for the Lars homestead and moisture farm. The landing site for C-3PO and R2-D2's escape pod was filmed in sand dunes at La Grande Dune, near Nefta, and exterior shots of Mos Eisley spaceport were shot on Djerba. The name Tatooine is not actually mentioned in the final screenplay of Star Wars — Lucas was still working on his fourth draft while scouting locations, and adapted the name from a town in southern Tunisia called Tataouine (French spelling, or Tatween spelling in Tunisian Arabic).
Certain scenes filmed on Djerba were subsequently deleted from the final cut of the film in order to improve the narrative pace. The most significant material cut was a series of scenes set in the township of Anchorhead which served to introduce the characters of Luke Skywalker and Biggs Darklighter. Lucas asked film editor Richard Chew to cut these scenes as they had been likened to "American Graffiti in outer space" by Fox executives (in reference to Lucas's 1973 teen film).
Footage filmed at Sidi Bouhlel in Tunisia was combined with 1977 second unit filming at Death Valley National Park in California was used to create the rocky canyon scenes featuring Jawas and Tusken Raiders. 
When crews returned to Tunisia to film for the Star Wars prequel films in 1998, locations at Onk Jemal in Tozeur, Ksar Ouled Soltane and Ksar Hadada, Ghoumrassen were used for Tatooine scenes. Abandoned sets for the filming have been left in the desert.
Tatooine originally featured in the 1977 film Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope), and was the first planet to be seen in the film franchise. In the opening scene, the planet and two of its moons are seen in space against a sea of stars, forming the backdrop of a space battle which sets in motion the events of the film. Two robots, C-3PO and R2-D2, jettison in an escape pod from a captured spaceship, the Tantive IV, and crash land on the surface of Tatooine. The droids lose their way in a sparse desert and are captured by small scavenger creatures called Jawas. When the robots are sold on to human settlers, the lead character of Luke Skywalker is introduced. The hostility of the arid desert environment is emphasised by the depiction of sandstorms and the heat of the binary stars, as Luke watches a twin sunset over the sand dunes. Humans are constantly threatened by violent bandit creatures called Tusken Raiders. As the film progresses, various leading characters are introduced to the story in scenes set on Tatooine: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Han Solo and Chewbacca. Later Tatooine scenes take place in Mos Eisley, a gritty bustling spaceport on the planet which is a centre of smuggling and organised crime. One of the most celebrated scenes in the Star Wars saga is in the Mos Eisley Cantina, a shady saloon bar populated by exotic alien species. Composer John Williams wrote music for the alien band in this scene in the style of swing musician Benny Goodman, and arranged with unusual instrumentation to convey an other-wordly sound.
Tatooine features once again in the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, in which the story's heroes return to Tatooine to rescue Han Solo from the palace of Jabba the Hutt, a fearsome gangster who dominates the criminal underworld on Tatooine. When the prequel trilogy revived the film franchise in 1999, the action returned to Tatooine for Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace as the setting for the childhood of Anakin Skywalker, future father of Luke. Living as a slave in another spaceport, Mos Espa, Anakin competes in pod races, long-distance airborne races across the desert. In Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), an older Anakin returns to Tatooine to search for his mother, who has been enslaved by Tusken Raiders. The prequels depict a vast expanse of desert with jagged rock formations. Tatooine features once more in the final prequel film, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005); in the closing scene, Obi-Wan Kenobi takes the infant Luke Skywalker into hiding with his adoptive parents on the Tatooine moisture farm.
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Tatooine orbits two main sequence binary stars and it has three moons, Ghomrassen, Guermessa and Chenini. Its G-type twin stars (Tatoo I and Tatoo II) heat its surface, making water and shade hard to come by. The planet's indigenous lifeforms—such as the Womp rat, bantha, Sarlacc, and Krayt Dragon—are well-adapted to its arid climate, but human settlers often become moisture farmers and live in subterranean dwellings in order to survive. The planet's lack of resources, brutal heat, and decentralized population have made governing the planet nearly impossible.
The planet fell into the clutches of the Hutts, a clan of gangsters and crime lords[when?]. Since Tatooine was beyond the reach of the Galactic Republic, the Hutts presided over the lawless planet with little outside interference. When the Galactic Empire subsumed the Old Republic, the new regime established only a token presence on Tatooine, which left Jabba the Hutt’s reign unchallenged. Jabba remained the assumed ruler of Tatooine until his death in the Battle of Carkoon.
- Humans – Settlers
- Hutts – Wormlike crime lords
- Jawas – Humanoid rodent scavengers and traders, and one of the native life forms of Tatooine
- Tusken Raiders (or Sand People) – Fierce, nomadic humanoids and one of the native life forms of Tatooine
Flora & Fauna
Because Tatooine features so prominently in the Star Wars film series, a wide range of locations has been represented on-screen.
Although the planet is sparsely populated, settlements of varying size have provided the settings for many scenes in Star Wars films. The first settlement to be shown, Anchorhead, featured in scenes that were deleted from the final cut of the original 1977 film. At a mechanical repair shop called Tosche Station (or Toshi Station) located here, Luke meets his young friends and bids farewell to Biggs Darklighter. Many humans settlers on Tatooine pursue a difficult agrarian existence on remote "moisture farms" in the desert, collecting water vapour from the atmosphere to grow crops. Among these moisture farmers is the young hero of the film, Luke Skywalker, who resides with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru at the Lars Homestead.
Two spaceport locations are shown on Tatooine. Mos Eisley (Star Wars, 1977) is a bustling spaceport town with an active criminal underworld, described by Obi-Wan Kenobi a "wretched hive of scum and villainy". This is the location of one of the most noted scenes in Star Wars, the Mos Eisley Cantina which is shown as a busy saloon bar-style establishment, patronised by exotic and often violent alien species. The Cantina additionally features as a location in Lego Star Wars video games. Mos Espa (The Phantom Menace, 1999) is similarly populated with a variety of species and is home to a podracing track. It is also a centre of slavery. Bestine is the "capital" of Tatooine; although it does not appear in any films, it is mentioned as "Bestine township" the 1976 novelisation Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker and is featured prominently in Star Wars Galaxies video games. In the Expanded Universe, there is also a separate planet named Bestine.
Tatooine is mostly a desert environment. Characters make reference in the films to the deserts by name; the Jundland Wastes, a rocky region, is the location of the Tusken Raider attack (Star Wars, 1977), and the vast sandy Dune Sea is the setting for Jabba the Hutt's Palace. Also situated in the Dune Sea is the Great Pit of Carkoon, the lair of the deadly omnivorous Sarlacc creature.
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones
- Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Star Wars Holiday Special
- Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope
- Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (mentioned only)
- Super Star Wars
- Super Return of the Jedi
- Lego Star Wars: The Video Game
- Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy
- Lego Star Wars: The Complete Saga
- Lego Star Wars III: The Clone Wars
- Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (mentioned only)
- Star Wars: Battlefront
- Star Wars: Battlefront II
- Star Wars: Battlefront (2015)
- Star Wars Battlefront: Elite Squadron
- Star Wars Empire At War
- Star Wars Bounty Hunter
- Star Wars: Droid Works
- Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
- Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds
- Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: Clone Campaigns
- Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided
- Star Wars Holiday Special
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
- Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II The Sith Lords (mention only)
- Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
- Star Wars: Rogue Squadron (both level 1 and a bonus level are situated on Tatooine)
- Star Wars: The Force Unleashed (downloadable content)
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue
- Star Wars: The Old Republic
- Angry Birds Star Wars
- Angry Birds Star Wars II
- Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace
- Star Wars: Jedi Power Battles
- Disney Infinity 3.0
Similarity to real world planets
The discovery of exoplanets in the real-world universe gained pace in the early 21st century. In 2015, the US space agency NASA published an article which stated that many of the newly discovered astronomical bodies possessed scientifically confirmed properties that are similar to planets in the fictional Star Wars universe. Among them, the planets Kepler-16b and Kepler-453b have been likened to Tatooine because they have been discovered orbiting binary star systems.
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