Krayt Dragon - Star Wars IV
Krayt Dragon - Star Wars IV
The Krayt Dragon first appeared in the Second Edition of the Mini Museum. We're pleased to offer it once again as a standalone specimen!
Above: Front of the specimen card.
On May 25th, 1977, George Lucas' Star Wars premiered in theaters. The film was an instant success. Fans saw the movie multiple times, sometimes on the same day. Star Wars went on to become a global phenomenon and still remains the third highest-grossing film of all time (inflation-adjusted).
This specimen is a fragment of the fiberglass from the "Krayt Dragon," the long serpentine skeleton C-3PO encounters soon after separating from R2-D2 on Tatooine.
Star Wars IV Krayt Dragon Film Prop Specimen
This specimen is a fragment of film prop skeleton used in Star Wars: A New Hope. The "Krayt Dragon," a long serpentine skeleton seen in the desert of Tatooine, is encounted by C-3PO soon after separating from R2-D2 at the beginning of the film.
The specimen is housed in an acrylic jar that is encased within a glass-topped riker display box. The box measures 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card is also included, which serves as the certificate of authenticity.
📸 A cross section of the Krayt Dragon vertebra showing the many layers of material
After the original filming in Tunisia, the production team left the Krayt Dragon as well as several sets to rot in the desert. Over the decades, the area has become something of an attraction with locals excavating material and selling it to film location tourists. However, while some sets have remained, the dragon was eventually lost to the shifting dunes.
Single specimens vary widely in size, shape, and thickness, though in general, we are aiming for a surface of 5mm x 5mm. The pictures of single specimens are will give you a good idea of the range. As pictured, the material varies widely throughout this particular specimen, from somewhat thin strips of fiberglass with threads to thick resin. Colors vary as well from nearly pure white to a smooth gray and some elements of brown from exposure to sand and sun.
This is fiberglass so take care when handling the specimen. Also, some fragments may have dust and sand from the Tunisian desert in the nooks and crannies. We understand sand can be coarse and rough and irritating. It certainly gets everywhere. 😎
📸 So happy to see you! (Source: The Mandalorian)
About the Krayt Dragon & Filming Star Wars
Lucas chose to film the desert scenes in Tunisia after being inspired by the area’s architecture. Early scouting of the area heavily influenced the design of the houses and streets seen in the film. There was also a practical element to Tunisia as compared to other places in North Africa, as there are a variety of geologic features within close proximity to each other. Dunes, ravines, and salt flats were all within a half hour’s drive, making shooting in several varied sets far easier. Tunisia’s strongest influence on the film would actually be the name of a city in the area: Tataouine.
📸 The complete Krayt Dragon Vertebra
From a Galaxy not so far away...
The skeleton is a fiberglass model, which was originally used as a Diplodocus skeleton in the 1975 film One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing. Its inclusion was a matter of happenstance; when some forgotten equipment needed to be flown out to the shooting location, the skeleton was tossed in with the cargo simply because they had space for it. The creature would not even be given a canonical name until some years later.
After the original filming in Tunisia, the production team abandoned the Krayt Dragon as well as several sets in the desert. The entire area is considered a significant tourist attraction, bringing in thousands of visitors per year. Locals take advantage of the traffic by conducting tours of the ruins and salvaging wreckage for sale.
📸 A diagram of a Barchan Dune movement
THE DUNES OF Tataouine
Science has also benefited from the remains. NASA uses the position of the Star Wars sets to track the progress of large, crescent-shaped sand dunes called "barchans" which sweep through the area at 15 meters per year.
Arial photography gives scientists a clear reference point by which to measure the movements of these dunes. Thanks to the left over sets, there's something that can be used to help tell the scale of the image, unlike other parts of the desert that only have sand.
Side Note:The largest barchans in the solar system are on Mars. Known as megabarchans, these massive dunes reach over 500 meters high and 6-7 kilometers in length. Perhaps someday film crews will leave behind props there as well!
📸 A model of the Krayt Dragon's appearance in the Mandalorian
A New Dragon
The Krayt Dragon recently returned to the Star Wars universe when a living specimen featured on an episode of The Mandalorian. Though the show returned to Tatooine, production took place on a stage in California instead of North Africa.
The Mandalorian shoots with a massive LED screen as its backdrop, running a game engine in order to build digital environments. With this technology, they can shoot a scene set on an icy mountain back to back with a desert ravine. Though this technique is vastly different from the on-location shooting Lucas and his crew did in the 70s, it retains the spirit of efficiency and scale that caused them to choose Tunisia in the first place.
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
Rinzler, J. W. The Making of Star Wars: The Definitive Story Behind the Original Film. Random House, 2008.
Lorenz, Ralph D., et al. "Dunes on planet Tatooine: Observation of barchan migration at the Star Wars film set in Tunisia." Geomorphology 201 (2013): 264-271.
Roesch, Stefan. The experiences of film location tourists. Vol. 42. Channel View Publications, 2009.
Taylor, Chris. How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: the Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise. Basic Books, 2015.
Rinzler, J. W. The Making of Star Wars. Del Rey Books, 2005.
The Virtual Production of The Mandalorian, Season One. Youtube, ILMVFX, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUnxzVOs3rk.