The Desert is Only Good for Star Wars Fans

The Glamis and Imperial Sand Dunes are some of the most magnificent rolling hills of straight up sand in the world-and double as a low budget alternatives to filming in Ksar Hadada, Ghoumrassen where many of the Star Wars Tatooine desert scenes took place . Located 40 miles outside of the Imperial Valley (which I happen to live at-not that it’s a huge accomplishment) the Glamis Dunes are a hot spot during cooler months. People from all over the states haul their RV’s, dirt bikes, quads, and dune buggies out to participate in one of the most dangerous past times ever…because why not? To be honest, it makes trips to the grocery store super annoying, because there’s no beer, band aids, or ice packs anywhere. It not only attracts adrenaline junkies, but Star Wars junkies as well. The Imperial Dunes are lesser known for the sports action, and more known for the nerd action.

Last year, the Imperial County Film Commission hosted a tour of the Buttercup Ranger Station in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area, where much of the exterior shots of Tatooine where filmed for Episode VI: Return of the Jedi, including those of the exterior of Jabba’s Palace (photos from construction below).

The tour ended with an showing of Return of the Jedi at dusk, and it was pretty lit. The entire day was family friendly, and people showed up in some really badass cosplay costumes-and general Halloween costumes (below)

photos via Eric Calma

 

Not only did actual filming by an actual studio happen here, but tons of fans of the franchise have filmed fan films as well. Some of them are pretty good, especially when you consider the lack of interesting scenery.

Kara, directed by Joe Sill, features a former X-Wing pilot transporting a young girl with strange powers. The story line-while short-is well developed, and special effects are of quality that I did not expect.

Desert Duty is a shorter, more light hearted fan film. It features Cooper the Storm Trooper (LOVE) transporting a thief, and the ending is pretty hilarious, as his thief escapes, Cooper just decides, “well, we should cancel that.” It was directed and posted to YouTube in 2016, by a more locally sourced director Ruben Najera.

Surprisingly, the desert has more than a deep rooted fear of rattlesnakes, but also a love for Star Wars. As far as I’m concerned when you take into account the venomous animals, sweltering heat, and lack of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s, the only good thing that ever came out of this place is Star Wars related-and me.

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Teejay Zeigler
Teejay Zeiglerhttps://www.sorryforsharing.com
Mediocre small town celebrity, from the bowels of the SoCal desert, turned melodramatic, sassy, sarcastically vapid blogger and writer. My hobbies include having entire conversations in "The Office" and "Archer" GIF's; complaining about typical millennial problems on my blog; and not being sure where exactly I put my phone. Strong advocate for craft beer to be considered an art form, and good French wine at an affordable price. And carbs.