The Daily Beast is now reporting that the outrage over terrorists invading the ruins of Tunisian Star Wars sets is unfounded. Mark Dermul, one of the men responsible for the restoration of the Lars Homestead set, was apparently angered by the reports originating from a story on CNN, and made the following statement, presumably after picking up power converters from Tosche Station:
“I have been receiving many questions from fans and journalists alike with regards to the news about ISIS-related terrorist activity in Tunisia at this time,” he wrote. “Some people even go so far as to ask me what we can do to save the Lars Homestead from the terrorists…[But] the activity takes place [in] the sleepy town of Tataouine, which is south of Medenine near the [Libyan] border (60 miles). The [Star Wars] locations referred too in the news media are all the way across the Chott el Jerid on the other side of the country, over 200 miles away!”
The exaggerated media reports have also led Mohammed Sayem, a member of the Tunisian tourism commission, to assure everyone that everything’s perfectly alright, we’re fine, we’re all fine here now: “This information is false and without foundation and doesn’t reflect the reality,” he says. “We were obliged to reassure our friends and fans abroad that it’s fine, everything is OK, the sites are protected.” In other words, not even a reactor leak or slight weapons malfunction in sight:
It’s not yet clear whether these reports are part of a guerilla marketing scheme for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, like the plane crash involving Harrison Ford that may or may not have been staged to draw attention to J.J. Abrams’ little sci-fi movie. Or perhaps the idea of an actual group of rebels setting up shop in the childhood home of one of the leaders of the fictional Rebel Alliance was just too much for news outlets—The A.V. Club included—who were tempted to the Dark Side. Either way, Dermul doesn’t approve:
“I’ve also been a bit annoyed, to put it mildly, by people who contacted me to ask me what I planned to do to protect the movie sets from the terrorists,” Dermul continued. “Not only is that a strange question-for what could I possibly do? - But it also shows a strange frame of mind. Hundreds of people are suffering from these terrorist activities and people are worried about movie sets? I think we need to focus on what is really important here. And it’s not the safety of brick and plaster buildings that were once seen on the silver screen. It’s the people of Tunisia, who already have a hard time trying to eke out something of a reasonable life in harsh conditions. This will only make their suffering worse as many needed tourism dollars will no longer be spent in that beautiful country.”
CNN officials could not be reached for comment, but we assume that what they told you was true, from a certain point of view.