The "Star Wars" set is under siege today and not by the likes of Darth Vader, but instead, erosion.
Sand erosion in Tunisia is threatening to sink the famed set of the fictional planet Tatooine, which appeared in every "Star Wars" film except for "The Empire Strikes Back." Making matters worse, the destruction of the set could devastate local tourism, and Tunisian officials are urging "Star Wars" fans to help out.
The Mos Espa set is located in the windy region of the country where sand dunes rise and fall up to 15 meters a year, according to ABC News. Tunisian tourism ministry bosses and the Tourism Chamber for the Oasis and Sahara regions have implemented a preservation project and are requesting donations to keep the set intact. Nabil Gasmi, a leader in tourism in the area, explained the problem with the sand dunes at more length.
"One dune has already buried 10 percent of the 'Star Wars' site," he told ABC News. "We managed to remove 8,000 cubic meters of the sand in 12 days. Unfortunately some of the set has already collapsed."
The preservation project already has $107,000, but officials are hoping that "Star Wars" fans will help them raise an additional $45,000 through an Indigogo project online. Further motivating potential donors, those who donate $1,000 or more will have their named carved into a panel near the film site.
Tatooine is the home planet of Anakin Skywalker and Luke Skywalker, and it is one of the most iconic planets in the "Star Wars" universe. The George Lucas-directed film franchise remains an icon in American pop culture, and it is the fifth-highest-grossing film series of all time. The epic space opera has spawned books, television series, comic books and computer and video games, among other merchandise.