Meet the stewards of the 'Star Wars' sands

Love "Star Wars?" The Save Lars group does too -- so much so that members went to Tunisia and restored Luke Skywalker's fictional homestead on Tatooine from its previous state of disrepair.

It took over a week of work and years of planning to restore the Lars homestead. Savelars.com

For some people, the real-world locales featured in "Star Wars" stand as historical sites that deserve preservation and restoration. One of the most inspirational tales in the "Star Wars" universe exists outside of the official canon: a group of superfans tapped a fanbase to fund the restoration of the original Lars homestead shooting location in Chott el Gharsa, Tunisia.

This tale doesn't have a simple beginning. According to the official project Web site, the idea materialized in May of 2010 after a group of "Star Wars" fans led by Mark Dermul visited Luke's home and observed its disappointing condition -- blasphemy for any sci-fi fan.

After several years of Tunisian unrest and $11,700 in fundraising, the Save Lars restoration group (consisting of Dermul, Mark Cox, Terry Cooper, Robert Cunningham, Imanuel Dijk, and Michel Verpoorten) last month obtained permission from the Tunisian government to repair the iconic location, fully restoring its previous minimalistic splendor. We explore their journey (and some incredible visits to other famous "Star Wars" locations found along the way) in our gallery.

 

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