Star Wars and Death Valley - then and now


Sr Member
Some of you may remember my trip to Tikal a couple years back. Last week I was in Death Valley participating in one of our artists' workshops for the International Association of Astronomical Artists (IAAA). I spent much of my time when I wasn't with my artist colleagues hunting down the various sites where the original Tatooine/R2/jawas second unit shots were filmed in 1977. I've put together a short video comparing my images with the original footage:


There were some things I got good shots of that I didn't put in here but you get the idea. Many others have done this kind of thing of course and all the sites are pretty well documented on the web. But it was a ton of fun hunting down these locations myself and in the process I gained some insights into the probable hows and whys of filming some of the things they did - things you can only internalize by actually being there...

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That was really neat, thanks for making the comparison and sharing it with us. I can see a lot of changes and erosion over the relatively short (geologically speaking) time since the movie was made. It looks like the rock the Jawa was under has slumped and could no longer fit anyone. Really cool.






In some cases the erosional changes have been drastic (e.g., the broken front face of the big jawa rock). In others, individual pebbles and rock grains are in the same relative place they were 46 years ago!

Reminds me of Gene Shoemaker's 1969 re-do of John Wesley Powell's 1869 trip down the Colorado River. Gene carefully positioned cameras in exactly the same place that Powell did a hundred years prior - in over 90% of the cases the images were identical down to the individual rocks and pebbles; in the other ~10% of cases the landscape had changed dramatically. Showing that a lot of geologic change is in fact much like Eldredge's and Gould's "punctuated equilibrium" in biological evolution...

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Love it and thank you (y) (y) :cool: :cool: As you mentioned, some features are not going to change drastically for hundreds of years...while others will be transformed in less than a decade. Erosion, flash flooding of river beds followed by quick drying, wind and extreme temps (during the day and at night) makes for a changing landscape. Seeing your pics, you see that most of the main features are still there and are sentinels of a movie that's close to our hearts!

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