Lucas was well acquainted with the unpredictable temperament of this location. The heat could be close to unbearable, but the storms, which rolled in quickly and were packed with devastating potential, could lay waste to a film set. One night, Lucas spotted an ominous gathering of clouds making tracks for their Mos Espa set.
As he told Laurent Bouzereau and Jody Duncan in “Star Wars: The Making of Episode I – The Phantom Menace:”
“It didn’t look good to me. I had been through the same experience on the first ‘Star Wars’ — it was as if the storm had hidden away for twenty years, just waiting to come back! When we started to hear thunder, I asked [producer] Rick McCallum, ‘What are we going to do tomorrow?’ And he said, ‘Don’t worry — we’ll shoot. But he was being optimistic.'”
McCallum and production supervisor David Brown hopped in all-terrain vehicles to survey the damage during the storm, which proved unwise. “It was like a hurricane and a tornado combined,” said McCallum. “It was terrifying. Wind was hitting my car so hard, I thought we were going to be turned over. So we went back to the hotel and just waited. When the storm let up a bit, I went back out to the sets — or what was left of them.”