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Star Wars Fans Force Sands Back From Darth Vader's Tunisia Birthplace
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Star Wars Fans Force Sands Back From Darth Vader's Tunisia Birthplace

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Star Wars Fans Force Sands Back From Darth Vader's Tunisia Birthplace

Star Wars Fans Force Sands Back From Darth Vader's Tunisia Birthplace
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Sets from George Lucas' films had become buried by sand dunes, but a partnership between Tunisian tourism officials and online donors has helped them emerge again.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And now this - a story that needs no words to introduce it, just this sound.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

(Breathing heavily).

GREENE: Although - although, I guess we could also use these words.

INSKEEP: (Imitating Darth Vader) I am your father.

GREENE: No, it's not true. That's impossible.

INSKEEP: Yeah, it's not true. I'm just James Earl Jones doing a voice of a guy in a mask.

(SOUNDBITE OF JOHN WILLIAMS SONG, "STAR WARS MAIN THEME")

INSKEEP: Fans of the "Star Wars" movies know what's going on here. We're playing off some lines from "The Empire Strikes Back," and now we have real-life "Star Wars" news. A large and menacing force is threatening to swallow up the home planet.

GREENE: The planet called Tatooine - although it's not exactly a planet. It's a city in the North African nation of Tunisia. A sand dune there has been swallowing up the area that was used to represent the desert planet in "Star Wars."

INSKEEP: And that is including the spot where, in "Star Wars" mythology, Anakin Skywalker first met Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi.

GREENE: Anakin, as many of you know, would later become Darth Vader, and while some would just as soon pulverize him, many others saw good in Vader all along.

INSKEEP: And that positive force seems to be driving an effort to preserve Vader's homeland. "Star Wars" fans, preservationists and the Tunisian Ministry of Tourism raised money to remove the sand and restore the real clay dwellings around the spot where the fictional Vader was born.

GREENE: May the force be with them. This is NPR News.

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