May the Fourth Be With You: ‘Star Wars’ fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

May 04, 2014 | 8:00 a.m.
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"Star Wars" fans gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. Here, some fans pose for cameras last week in Tunis. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 1 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

"Star Wars" fans gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. This fan dressed as a Stormtrooper was photographed on May 2, 2014. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

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"Star Wars" fans pose for cameras on April 30, 2014, in Tunis, Tunisia. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

la ca 0502 star wars 058 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

"Star Wars" fans pose for cameras on April 30, 2014, in Tunis, Tunisia. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

la ca 0502 star wars 059 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

"Star Wars" fans pose for cameras on April 30, 2014, in Tunis, Tunisia. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

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"Star Wars" fans pose for cameras on April 30, 2014, in Tunis, Tunisa. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars1 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

"Star Wars" fans gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 2 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014 shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 3 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 4 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 5 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 7 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars 8 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

afp getty tunisia tourism economy film star wars2 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

la ca 0502 star wars 066 May the Fourth Be With You: Star Wars fans celebrate saga in Tunisia

A photograph taken on May 2, 2014, shows a film set where numerous "Star Wars" scenes were shot in Ong Jmel, Tunisia. Fans of the franchise gathered for an international meeting in Tozeur, Tunisia, over the weekend. (Fethi Belaid / AFP/Getty Images)

Finally, after months of conjecture, “Star Wars” fans learned last week precisely which actors will have a role in “Star Wars: Episode VII,” the film that will return George Lucas’ galaxy far, far away to the multiplex Dec. 18, 2015.

Adam Driver, best known for his role in HBO’s “Girls,” and Oscar Isaac, who won considerable acclaim for his turn in the Coen brothers “Inside Llewyn Davis,” will appear alongside Irish actor Domhnall Gleeson, performance capture expert Andy Serkis and venerable Swedish thespian Max von Sydow in director J.J. Abrams’ new film.

John Boyega, known for his work in the fan favorite film “Attack the Block,” and newcomer Daisy Ridley, also will star, and the principal actors from Lucas’ original saga — Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Kenny Baker — are set to return in their original iconic roles.

PHOTOS: ‘Star Wars’ at the box office

The casting was generally cheered online, even though details about the characters the new actors will portray remain closely guarded, as does the plot of the movie, which is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan.

But it wasn’t the new trilogy that will begin with “Episode VII” that was the central focus for fans who flocked to Tunisia this weekend for an international gathering of enthusiasts of the franchise.

Rather, fans traveled to Tunisia to celebrate the nation’s “Star Wars” legacy and also help raise funds to reclaim the set where numerous scenes for “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” were filmed in the 1990s. The desert has begun to encroach upon the area that hosted sets for Mos Espa, Anakin Skywalker’s hometown, which were constructed at Ong Jmel in southern Tunisia.

The weekend-long event additionally was designed to help bolster tourism to the North African nation, which, of course, famously appeared on screen in “Star Wars: Episode IV — A New Hope” in the 1970s, providing the arid landscape for Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine. (Abrams’ “Episode VII” is not currently expected to film in the country, which has recently experienced political unrest.)

Click through the gallery of images above to see fans visiting sites in Tunisia, and let us know how you’re celebrating May the Fourth in the comments section below.

– Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex

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