Star Wars Film Site

Return of the Jedi - Imperial Sand Dunes

A long, long time ago, in a desert not that far away.... I sat in the driver's seat of my Jeep with my son Jim and Dave Adams, headed into the Sonoran desert in southeastern California. It was a beautiful day, and the temperature was well above 90°F as we sped east along Interstate 8.

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We had heard rumors that there was a huge space ship out in the desert near Yuma, Arizona. Rumor had it that it had been built for the filming of "Return of the Jedi," the third movie of the "Star Wars Trilogy." Would we be able to see it? Could we find it with the limited information we had? As we approached the Imperial Sand Dunes, our excitement rose to a fever pitch. We entered the Dunes area and headed for Buttercup Valley, a flat depression completely surrounded by sand dunes.

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Clip from the film

Suddenly, there it was! Big as life, looming above us in that strange and wonderful landscape. It was very easy to get to! A week later, it was gone. All that remains are the photos we took that day, and of course, "The Return of the Jedi" movie.

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Rear View
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Jim Bremner and Dave Adams on the set of "Return of the Jedi"


Story and photos by Jim Bremner

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