“There’s nothing to see. I used to live here, you know.” —Luke Skywalker
Even a planet Luke Skywalker called the most distant point from the bright center of the universe has McMansions. Really, how better would you describe the opulent pad that Jabba the Hutt called home in “Return Of The Jedi”?
In honor of Star Wars Day this Sunday, May the Fourth, the Movoto Real Estate Blog’s council of fictional property evaluation Jedi decided to find out just how much this criminal compound would be worth. Seeing as I’m a huge “Star Wars” fan, I took the council’s assignment faster than the Millenium Falcon could make the Kessel Run.
After delving into the seedy specifics of Jabba’s second home (he also had a place on Hutta), I discovered that, at least in our galaxy, a wannabe intergalactic gangster—a space Scarface, if you will—would need a cool $44,665,500 to own it. (Not everyone could just storm the place and take it the way Jabba did.)
Just how did I tally up the cost of this Hutt’s far-from-a-hut? You don’t have to Force me to tell you; just keep reading and all shall become clear.
How I (Bounty) Hunted For A Price
Just like a backwater desert planet in a galaxy far, far away has a dive bar, property on said world can be evaluated using the same rules we have here on Earth. That means in order to put a value on Jabba’s palace, I needed to know three pieces of information key to any evaluation:
- How big the place is
- Where it would be located here
- The price of property in that area
Since getting that first bit of data meant being able to revisit one of my all-time favorite movies, I decided to start with the size.
Jabba’s Palace Wasn’t Always That Big
Did you know that Jabba’s palace (technically Hutt Castle) started out as a monastery? Neither did I, until I started researching this post.
It was built in 700 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin, where the Rebellion blew up the first Death Star) by the reclusive B’omarr Order of monks as a place of meditation. After that, it was used as a base of operations by a human criminal named Alkhara before finally being taken by Jabba Desilijic Tiure (his full name) by force.
While it was much smaller when the B’omarr Order first built it, Alkhara and Jabba made extensive modifications, including the nine-story tower, armor plating, and defense systems. I decided to evaluate the version of the palace seen in “Return of the Jedi,” which meant factoring in the aforementioned tower and various above- and below-ground additions made by its various owners.
In order to measure the palace as accurately as possible, I relied on multiple pieces of concept art, stills from the movie, and, most importantly, a fantastically detailed cutaway drawing contained in one of my favorite “Star Wars” books, “Inside The Worlds Of Star Wars Trilogy”.
While these images provided a detailed look at the property, I still needed something for scale. Fortunately, that gorgeous cutaway I mentioned also included a scale drawing of Jabba’s sail barge, the Khetanna, which I knew from my research was approximately 98 feet long.
With that to go by, I painstakingly measured all of the palace’s above- and below-ground areas, including:
- The iconic throne room
- Sail barge hangar
- B’omarr meditation cells
- Jabba’s quarters
- Rooms used by Gamorrean guards and their families
- Communications dome
- and more
I did not, however, include the size of the rancor’s pit, since it’s technically unfinished and this is a totally serious property evaluation.
When I added it all up, I had a monumental 744,425 square feet of approximate floor space. Even a Hutt as big as Jabba could stretch out in all that room.
Where oh where was it—would it be—though? That was next on my to-do list.
Locating The Real Tatooine
As any true “Star Wars” fan knows, the scenes on Luke’s home planet—which is also where Jabba’s palace now sits unoccupied following his asphyxiation—were filmed in Tunisia, Africa. What even fewer probably realize is that the world of Tatooine actually takes its name from a real place in the dusty Saharan country called Tataouine.
It’s not often when I do these fictional evaluations that I encounter such a perfect real world equivalent for the place I’m putting a price on. Looking at photos of Tataouine, I could almost picture Jabba’s majestic home looming on the horizon.
Needless to say, I stuck with this as my location, which meant I just had to figure out how much property in the real Tatooine would go for—something that turned out to be much more difficult than bullseyeing womp rats in a T-16.
“Through The Force, Things You Will See”
I’ve always wished that I could use the Force, but seldom as much as when I was trying to find property prices in Tunisia. As you can probably imagine, use of the Internet for disseminating data in this developing nation isn’t exactly widespread, so if there are any palace-sized structures for sale there, I haven’t a clue.
What I was (eventually) able to find, however, were some smaller dwellings (mostly apartments) for sale in the Tataouine area. Using their prices and sizes, I arrived at an average price per square foot of $60. That’s in the same ballpark as Pahrump, NV, a similarly remote desert town here in the United States.
With these facts obtained, I was ready to put it all together.
The Perfect Investment For An Up-And-Coming Crime Lord
The final thing I needed to do to complete my quest was some math. Not anything as complex as R2-D2 calculating the jump to lightspeed; just some simple multiplication.
Taking the size of Jabba’s palace (744,425 square feet) and multiplying it by the price per square foot in Tataouine, I got a total sticker price of $44,655,500. That’s about 72,041,129 in Galactic Credits, by the way, based on one fan’s delightfully obsessive calculations.
That unfurnished figure is 5,754 times as much as the $7,762 I valued Yoda’s hut at this time last year, for a dwelling that’s 8,248 times larger than the Jedi master’s extremely modest 90.25 square foot abode.
What’s more, it’s 321 times the sum another fan guestimated Han Solo owed Jabba at the time of his freezing in carbonite.
No matter the cost, you can’t really put a price on living like a space gangster. On second thought, I suppose you can, and it’s a whole lot of rancor “snacks”—plus residing on Luke’s least-favorite rock in the galaxy.