The Sahara (specifically, Tozeur, Tunisia) provided the setting for Star Wars' desert planet, Tatooine.

Photograph by LUCASFILM LTD, courtesy National Geographic

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  • On May 4, 2011, film fans around the world first celebrated Star Wars Day. Why May 4? Quick-witted fans adapted the franchise’s signature farewell: May the 4th be with you.
    American filmmaker George Lucas released the first Star Wars movie in 1977. Since then, the Star Wars universe has spawned films, television series, novels, video games, and comic books. Museum exhibits about the series’ impact on science and popular culture have traveled throughout the United States, as well as Australia, Japan, and Singapore. Star Wars has been translated into more than a dozen languages—and was the first film in history to be translated to a Native American language (Navajo).
    Lucas rooted his science fiction story in global myths and real geographic ecosystems, making the series appealing to fans all over the world. Some of the familiar settings of this “galaxy far, far away” include the forest moon of Endor; the desert planet of Tatooine; the swamp planet of Dagobah; the snow-ice planet of Hoth; and city-planet of Coruscant.
  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    celebrate Verb

    to observe or mark an important event with public and private ceremonies or festivities.

    city Noun

    large settlement with a high population density.

    desert Noun

    area of land that receives no more than 25 centimeters (10 inches) of precipitation a year.

    Encyclopedic Entry: desert
    dozen Noun

    a group of 12.

    ecosystem Noun

    community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

    Encyclopedic Entry: ecosystem
    exhibit Noun

    display, often in a museum.

    familiar Adjective


    farewell Interjection

    expression of good-bye and good luck.

    forest Noun

    ecosystem filled with trees and underbrush.

    franchise Noun

    licensed group of connected works, such as films, books, and video games.

    galaxy Noun

    collection of stars, planets, gases, and other celestial bodies bound together by gravity.

    language Noun

    set of sounds, gestures, or symbols that allows people to communicate.

    myth Noun

    legend or traditional story.

    Native American Noun

    person whose ancestors were native inhabitants of North or South America. Native American usually does not include Eskimo or Hawaiian people.

    Navajo Noun

    people and culture native to the southwestern United States.

    novel Noun

    fictional narrative or story.

    popular culture Noun

    goods, services, ideas, and patterns of their use in a population.

    science fiction adjective, noun

    art form that draws on knowledge of science for plot, setting, or character.

    signature Adjective

    unique identifying feature or characteristic.

    snow Noun

    precipitation made of ice crystals.

    spawn Verb

    to give birth to.

    swamp Noun

    land permanently saturated with water and sometimes covered with it.

    Encyclopedic Entry: swamp
    translate Verb

    to turn written or spoken text into a different language.