back to top

ISIS Hasn't Actually Taken Over Luke Skywalker's Home Planet

While Mos Eisley is still a wretched hive of scum and villainy, ISIS fighters aren't among them.

Originally posted on
Updated on

As CNN correctly points out, the original Star Wars — and some of the prequels — did film scenes set on Luke Skywalker's home planet of Tatooine in Tunisia's deserts.

The "struggling town on the fringes of the Sahara still draws a few fans of the movie but now finds itself part of a real conflict, as a way-station for jihadists crossing the Libyan border 60 miles to the east," CNN wrote.

Three young men had been arrested in Tataouine, CNN reported, for allegedly wanting to cross into Libya to join a terrorist network. "Two arms caches have also been found in the region this month, one of which included rocket-propelled grenade launchers and more than 20,000 rounds of ammunition," CNN said.

ISIS did take credit for the attack that killed 23 people in Tunisia earlier this month. So with the Tataouine report, the Internet responded with a collective feeling of outrage and sadness that jihadis had taken over such a cultural touchstone.


And David Thomson, a reporter with Radio France International based in Tunisia, tweeted that the area CNN wrote about hasn't become a base for jihadists.

Contrairement à ce qu'écrit CNN le lieu du décors de Star Wars près de Tataouine, n'est pas devenu une base jihadiste

More important is what Al-Jazeera pointed out about Tataouine, the town CNN mentions. It wasn't even where they filmed any of Star Wars.

"While Tataouine was not used in any of the movies," a page on laying out a route for tourists wanting to explore Tunisia reads, "it is obviously the inspiration for the name of the desert planet that till that point was known as Utapau, as evidenced by some production schedules that Charles Lippincott, the advertising publicity supervisor for A New Hope, recently uploaded on his Facebook page."

Hayes Brown is a world news editor and reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.

Contact Hayes Brown at

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.