Mos Eisley

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From the Movies

Known to many as a pirate city, Mos Eisley is one of the largest spaceports on Tatooine. Its architecture is typical of the Tatooine style -- blockhouses largely sunken into the sand, providing some respite from the relentless desert suns. The city is arranged in a wheel formation, with the central power and water distribution plants at its hub. Circular docking bays and landing pads dot the city, and the sky is busy with interstellar traffic.

Overrun by criminal transients on the lam, Mos Eisley has been described as a wretched hive of scum and villainy. It was at Mos Eisley that Luke Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi secured transit off Tatooine. The two hired the services of Han Solo and Chewbacca, smugglers they met at the Mos Eisley Cantina.

From the Expanded Universe

Early in Tatooine's modern colonization, the starship Dowager Queen crashed into the desert flats. From this crash-site, a community developed, and Mos Eisley grew in a radial formation from the burned out remains. In the decades of growth that followed, a water and power distribution plant became the new city center, and the dusty remains of the Dowager Queen are little more than a place for vagrants and crackpot preachers to convene.

Mos Eisley Spaceport began as an alternative to the then-bustling Anchorhead port, which many residents found too expensive. Rodian refugees helped in the construction of the city's many docking bays. Though their hard work did indeed build a city, their corrupt pasts also brought vice and crime to the port.

When the popularity of Podracing began to wane, so too did neighboring Mos Espa's prominence in Tatooine's trade and tourism. Mos Eisley became the de facto (though unofficial) capital, as crime lord Jabba the Hutt moved some of his operations to a townhouse in the downtown area.

When the Empire came to power, the local governor installed an Imperial Prefect in Mos Eisley, as well as a contingent of stormtroopers specially equipped for the desert environments. At the time of the Battle of Yavin, the Prefect was a lazy man named Orun Depp. He died in an assassin droid "incident," and was promptly replaced with Prefect Eugene Talmont.

Mos Eisley is divided into a "New Quarter" and an "Old Quarter." The Old Quarter contains the Dowager Queen wreckage and attracts the shadiest characters. It is here that Jabba maintained a residence and it is also home to the infamous Mos Eisley Cantina owned by Chalmun the Wookiee. The New Quarter, conversely, is more brochure-friendly, offering a legitimate merchant district and places for tourists to relax. But, the gray and black markets can be found a mere scratch beneath this sham surface.

Behind the Scenes

The Mos Eisley exterior sequences were filmed on the island of Djerba in Tunisia. During the original filming of Star Wars, Director George Lucas was dissatisfied with the limitations of location shooting -- he simply was unable to convey the sense of scope that Mos Eisley required.

When the Special Edition of Star Wars was released in 1997, a handful of new, digitally enhanced shots showcased the scale of Mos Eisley. Extras dressed in Tatooine wardrobe, including stormtroopers and Jawas, were filmed and composited into miniature landscapes. Digital matte paintings extended the miniatures and allowed camera movement into and out of the city. Other CG creations -- including scurriers, rontos, speeders and starship traffic -- helped fill up the screen with the activity one would expect at a bustling, dangerous spaceport.

Keywords: Databank - Episode IV, Databank - Episode VI, Databank - Expanded Universe

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