At the end of Rise of Skywalker, Rey revisits a location we haven't seen since Episode IV,

Uncle Owen & Aunt Beru's farmstead

which had previously been attacked. Obviously, the attack is long past, and any remains were long removed.

That said, the structure was a well-known one and not in an untravelled area (as evidenced by the older woman Rey encounters just outside the structure).

This structure had at least moderate economic value and stood in a very harsh environment, which (on Earth, at least) tends to reclaim abandoned structures very quickly

burying them in windblown sand, as anyone familiar with Egyptology can tell you

As a result, I'd expect someone else to have either taken over the property

To continue running the moisture farm

or for it to have been reclaimed by the surrounding environment.

It is also significantly less on fire than I recall seeing it when Luke last left.

How did this happen? Did Rey use the Force to uncover it? Did Rey drive off and/or slaughter the new residents? Did Ben's ghost busy himself dusting for a few decades?

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    Surely it had been reclaimed by the environment? It was half buried in sand, which Rey slides down. Dec 30, 2019 at 20:31
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    @DanielRoseman The exterior was virtually identical to the shots of it in Episode IV (the buildings were built half-buried in the sand, likely to supplement the environmental controls) and the central area was very open and clean. If you abandoned a well-made building at the edges of the Sahara desert for a year or two, it would be hard to find afterwards.
    – Jeff
    Dec 30, 2019 at 20:36
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    No it was the central area I was talking about. That was clearly shown as half-buried, especially the vaporators in the middle, which it had not been in the originals. Again, the way Rey slides down the sand would not have been possible originally. Dec 30, 2019 at 21:07
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    I'm amazed how Javas didn't strip all those equipment down.
    – Ege Bayrak
    Dec 31, 2019 at 12:12
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    @ShadowRanger Do note that we actually have experience observing a sandy desert planet in real life: Mars, which does happen to have very large sandstorms. Obviously not an exact match for Tatooine, what with the extra sun and probably thicker atmosphere, but a decent indicator that huge variations in environments are not necessary for strong winds.
    – 8bittree
    Dec 31, 2019 at 22:00

3 Answers 3


Let's assume, for argument's sake, that Tatooine is just like Earth's sand-swept areas

There's not a lot of things to naturally degrade the buildings

It's a desert, so you have naturally low humidity and probably no serious rainfall, two major things that destroy buildings fast. There's also no nearby mountains for runoff.

Only 20-ish years have passed since it was abandoned

While there is some sand in the buildings, they're not totally subsumbed by sand. Consider the abandoned South African town of Kolmanskop. It was abandoned around 1954, or about 65 years ago. While sand has infiltrated the buildings... they're really not in all that bad of a shape (image source)


What about the moisture farm?

Well, the moisture farm wasn't really tied to the land, but the air

A moisture farm was an area of land devoted to the production of water through the drawing of moisture from the dry air.

I'm going off memory, but I don't recall seeing any of the moisture vaporators near the abandoned house, which is the main thing you need form moisture farming. Those were almost certainly taken by scavengers. The house was likely not very valuable by itself, especially when you consider that it was remote, likely to help the Larses avoiding theft of the vaporators, or their household items. Remember that Luke had to use his X-34 to get around.

Where did the woman come from then?

Despite it being remote, there was probably a "road" that lead by there. My grandparents lived in a rural area where their nearest neighbor was half a mile away, but they still had a road. We see the Jawas come by to trade. The woman probably lived somewhere not too far off, but not close enough to be seen in any of the footage around the house.

  • 11
    Doesn't change the essence of your reasonable answer, but it has been at least 30 years in between
    – desertnaut
    Dec 30, 2019 at 23:54
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    Interesting! It seems that deserts' building reclamation is slower than i had believed. Thanks for the insightful answer.
    – Jeff
    Dec 31, 2019 at 15:41
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    Definitely not 20-ish years, more like 40-ish. Just sayin'...
    – Omegacron
    Dec 31, 2019 at 17:13
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    They could have used the original set--what's shown on screen is fairly close to the condition of the set, left in the middle of the desert in Tunisia Jan 2, 2020 at 0:48
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    @MatthewBarclay If it hadn't had a makeover, yes. markdermul.be/savelars/photos6.html
    – richardb
    Jan 2, 2020 at 14:40

To be truth, we do not see if the house is occupied or abandoned.

As far as we know, the property could be reclaimed, someone could be living there and taking care of the structure.

Rey doesn't need to come and kill the residents, it just has to ask politely for permission to "pay her respects"

  • 11
    We see that the compound is full of sand, the electrics appear to be off and an old lady drops by to mention that no-one has lived there for a long time. I think we can be reasonably certain that the Lars Residence is unoccupied.
    – Valorum
    Jan 2, 2020 at 13:59

It could be that, as a site associated with, literally, the savior of the galaxy, it has been left alone in reverence to its former occupant. A sort of shrine, if you will.

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    This doesn't appear to be the case. It's dilapidated and full of sand. Shrines are usually taken better care of
    – Valorum
    Jan 2, 2020 at 16:29
  • @Valorum I didn't say it was a shrine. I said it was like a shrine. Also, it's not that hard to find shrines here on earth that are dilapidated and full of sand, water, jungle vines, etc. There are also plenty of shrines on earth that no one takes care of.
    – Mohair
    Jan 2, 2020 at 16:36
  • Tatooine is in the middle of nowhere and not even part of the Empire. I would imagine that the average resident couldn't give one peggat for what happened to the Death Star or that a local boy was involved.
    – Valorum
    Jan 2, 2020 at 17:10
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    I presume that a few minutes after Jabba's death, the other crime lords in the vicinity carved up his territory and things went on much as before for the average Tatooinian
    – Valorum
    Jan 2, 2020 at 17:39
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    @Mohair: despite the upkeep (or lack thereof) of the shrines on Earth, it would stand to reason that if this location were supposed to be preserved as a historical site (or similar) there would be some sort of signage posted. We see no evidence of this.
    – Jeff
    Jan 2, 2020 at 18:23

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