What is to Become of Abu Dhabi’s Star Wars: Episode 7 Sets?

Already done filming in Abu Dhabi? That was fast! So now what to do with all those sets they built? Find out after the jump . . . 

As the calendar rolled over to June it seems, based on this JJ/KK pic, that Bad Robot/Disney/LFL rolled into London, marking the rapid end of the Abu Dhabi [presumed to be Tatooine] leg of the production:

Wow, does time fly! The Abu Dhabi production has gone by quickly. Now that the crew has pulled up their tents and moved on, I ask, What is to become of all those awesome sets? 

For an answer to that burning question we turn to The National who released an article about that very subject. The National, you may recall, was the same outlet that broke the rumors that panned out, regarding the massive market set, the crater set, and the “pod” like crafts with jet engines. According to their latest piece, Chief Executive Noura Al Kaabi of TwoFour54 said that they are in the process of exploring ways to preserve the sets: 

“We are storing them [the sets] until we curate them with the support of our friends in the Cultural District. We haven’t finalised the location but it is likely to be Saadiyat.”

This makes sense for a couple reasons. First, Episode VII is a momumental movie for the world, let alone the film industry in Abu Dhabi. Second, it could very well be a record-breaker as I suspect it will be. But could there be another reason to preserve them?

This is pure speculation, but IF any future Star Wars projects should require the sets they will be preserved in pristine condition. (This is similar to how the Millennium Falcon is being built full-scale in Pinewood. Most likely the future Star Wars productions will need to use that set as well.) 

Case in point, recall that the original sets for Tatooine were built in Tunisia. You may or may not know, but many of the set pieces were abandoned on location — not once but twice for each of the previous trilogies — where they decayed and eroded over the years. 

It’s sad, really, that no one in Tunisia had the foresight to realize what kind of fortune in tourism could have been gained by preserving these sets. Even Lucas himself allowed a valuable film treasure to be lost.

Some devoted fans, leave it to the devoted fans, have discovered some of the Tattoine remains and have spent $11,000 dollars, not to mention their effort and time, toward restoring the Lars Family Homestead. Fortunately, they were able to salvage something form the original 1976 shoot, but, unfortunately, a lot has been lost, as well as the treasures from the Prequel shoots, to the harsh, unforgiving Tunisian desert.

Thankfully, the good folks in Abu Dhabi recognize the treasure they now possess and will take great care of it for future fans to hopefully someday visit and see with their own eyes! 

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28 thoughts on “What is to Become of Abu Dhabi’s Star Wars: Episode 7 Sets?

  • June 11, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    It always surprised me Lucas got away with just leaving those sets where he’d built them, you’d think the studio would be under some obligation to clear them away, but it just seems like they built them, filmed on them and walked away !!

    • June 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

      The desert is its own clean up crew

    • June 11, 2014 at 4:26 pm

      Yeah I mean I’m as environmental as the next guy, but deserts are huge and I doubt anyone comes across these sets too often, I don’t think the locals care if some structures were built a hundred miles away from anything of interest. Does anyone know how close the old sets are to cities.communities in Tunisia?

    • June 13, 2014 at 12:12 am

      Locals had scavenged the sites; apparently there’s not a lot of wood in the desert.

  • June 11, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    they are sets though, they aren’t built to stand the test of time or even be enshrined in a museum- wanting to save them for some reason is probably a waste of time-

    its not like new zealand and the hobbiton reconstruction- the same same thing happened in new zealand after the LOTR trilogy. the remaining sets laid in ruin until they decided to create the hobbit trilogy and this time the crew rebuilt hobbiton to stand the test of time because they knew it had already become a tourist attraction-

    While these star wars sets may have the same appeal for tourist- its not likely with the amount of sets being created for starwars that the carpentry team built these sets of a long lasting quality.

    Save pieces for the star wars museum road show, and discard the rest.

  • June 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

    this article is the kind of stuff that gets fanboys arrested for trespassing-

  • June 11, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t particularly think echo-7 understands the way sets are build- they aren’t build to be theme park kiosks and have kids jumping on them and interacting with them – they are temporary structures, poorly build, just to get what they need- it would be a massive hit to the budget to make these sets someone functionable for real life situations-

  • June 11, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    while i understand the point of this article- I don’t necessarily like what it is promoting- Disney is under ZERO obligation to create these ways in such a way to last for the long haul- Disney is so protective of their brand that I don’t really see them letting some poorly built structures stand in the desert- the insurance responsibilities alone would be a nightmare, not to mention they would probably have to hire a staff to just sit there and oversee the area- this simply isn’t realistic.

  • June 11, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    They should put them up for auction to the highest bidder with the proceeds going to UNICEF… tying in with their ‘Force for Change’ campaign. If you could buy an actual piece of Star Wars would you not jump at the chance??

  • June 11, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  • June 11, 2014 at 4:13 pm

    I’m happy that there is a set to store, and not just some CGI in a computer.

    • June 11, 2014 at 10:58 pm

      CG sets are less likely to be leaked in unauthorized photos, on the downside.

  • June 11, 2014 at 4:47 pm

    Um hate to burst the bubble but those sets aren’t from Abu-Dhabi LOL… So why say they’re from there when they’re not? And Abu-Dhabi is barely mentioned.

    • June 11, 2014 at 5:43 pm

      Pretty sure those photos were for comparison purposes… We know those are the sets from the Lars homestead in Tunisia and it was clearly mentioned in the article.

  • June 11, 2014 at 5:14 pm

    are sets really “film treasures” this article is way over the top.

    • June 11, 2014 at 5:44 pm

      Anything that contributed to the making of a Star Wars film, I’d consider a treasure.

    • June 11, 2014 at 5:48 pm

      If sets and props aren’t “film treasures”, what would be?

    • June 11, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      the actual film itself?

    • June 11, 2014 at 9:59 pm

      Oh my god seriously? Wow. People are such idiots.

  • June 12, 2014 at 2:54 am

    Do we know if any of the original trilogy actors were present on the Dubai set?

  • June 12, 2014 at 9:31 am

    They should have filmed it in America, Africa or Europe not in the filth.

  • June 24, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    I visited the Tunisian Star Wars sets in April 2014. 4 days and covered over 1000kms driving. It was the road trip of a lifetime. Plenty to see from original 1975 locations to early 2000s prequel sets. Its all still there, sitting in Southern Tunisia. If you love Star Wars you would love it. If it is in your blood, then you would get goosebumps….

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