Tusken Raider

Tusken Raider

A New Hope (ANH)

Costume History

A Tusken Raider is easy to recognize for the Jundland Waste residents by many things.  He grunts viciously, as it is all he is capable of doing and it coincidentally also incites fear in the Tatooine communities and the humble travelers; his mask is a terrifying sight and is almost never removed lest he drown in the unwanted moisture, so it is the face of the sand people to outsiders; and his territorial behavior due to the harsh desert condition of his planet make him unapproachable to anyone besides his trusty tribe.

Neither the robes of a Tusken Raider nor his gear were an off-handed decision made by George Lucas and friends.  They were planned logically and tactfully in order to both make sense of the Tusken culture and everyday life on Tatooine, and to protect the actors from the equally harsh conditions of Tunisia (the real life location of the planet with two suns).  Tunisia is a Northwestern African country with incredibly hot and dry summer days and cold nights.  The natives of this area have adapted to this namely with their clothing.  Robes that cover your body from head to toe are standard in these climates to protect your skin from both the insufferable heat and the potential sand storms; in addition, it would usually be wise to choose a lighter color to absorb less sunlight.  For those working with terrain, boots would be better than any other foot covering, and most everyone would want to wear something to shield the head from heat as well.  All of this translates well to the standard Tusken Raider, who lives in the same climate.

The male sand person wears a compilation of robes and wrappings that are very obviously tattered and worn by constant use.  The innermost robe is relative to an Arabic thawb, literally meaning 'a garment'.  It is a long, thin tunic touching the ankles that begins the process of protecting its wearer.  The outermost robe is much thicker cloth that resembles a kaftan, which is a coat of the same length worn by cultures similar to the Arabic's.  Historically speaking, one that wears a kaftan often accompanies it with a sash, and this is not unlike the sand people since they, too, wear a sash over their innermost robe of the same fabric type.  On top of this, the rest of their extremities are covered in tighter wrappings, gloves, and their boots. Every piece of clothing is the same light, sandy color in order to not trap the heat of their planet's two massive suns close to their body.  When their outfit is completed, it makes for good camouflage with the sand dunes and mountains of the Wastes.  The female sand person, on the other hand, wears something strikingly different to their male counterpart.  The color palette is slightly more varied, with a whopping addition of one new color, umber.  It can be seen in the bottom half of their robes, while the top half is mostly made up of their sand-shroud and jeweled masks.

At one point, it was considered a canonical statement to make that the actual species, and ergo the unmasked appearance of a standard Tusken Raider could be best described as a humanoid rat creature.  This would make sense considering that they are especially vulnerable to large amounts of light, and raid moisture farms.  Their greatest enemy is a Krayt Dragon, which has a skeleton that is very familiar to a legless, scaly, slithery friend of ours on earth…