When you visit certain places around the world they each have a specific quality to them. Some are breathtaking, some are historical, and just a few are magical. As we were driving up to the property, I was glancing out the windows and we went from a city to the most beautiful and lush green fields. It was like we were stepping into a whole new world. Skywalker Ranch, located 40 minutes north of San Francisco, is the pastoral home to Lucasfilm’s celebrated audio postproduction facility, Skywalker Sound. and as soon as you go through the sign you get cold chills. The sign says: “Viadante del cielo” which is Skywalker in Italian. Skywalker Ranch is not open to the public. However I’m hoping that through this post you can see the beauty and the magic and almost feel like you are their yourself.
Currently Skywalker Ranch is about about 7,000 acres, but it keeps changing because George will buy property and then give it back to open space. However, Only 15 acres have been developed. Skywalker Sound occupies the 153,000-square-foot Technical Building, which features a world-class scoring stage, six mix studios, ADR and Foley stages, 34 editing suites, and a 300-seat screening room. The property also includes the iconic main house and the beautiful Lake Ewok. also, somewhere on property is THE original Death Star model. We didn’t get a chance to see it on our tour, but being that close to it was kinda geek worthy.
Skywalker Sound Technical Building
We screened Strange Magic in the 300 seat screening room names the Stag Theatre Screening Room which was modeled after George’s favorite theatre in Modesto. George Lucas himself was sitting 3 rows behind me during the screening!! We were sitting in the “sweet spot”. An area where the filmmakers sit to see the best angle and hear the sound. It was pretty Epic. See the big statues? You might remember them from a certain STAR WARS film. They were in Palpatine’s office.
In the technical building their are quite a few nooks and crannies. Skywalker Ranch is intended to be more of a “filmmaker’s retreat” than a headquarters for Lucas’s business operations. So there are lots of spots where those who are working on a project can sit back and relax to get the creative juices flowing.
George Lucas has one of the worlds largest collection of Norman Rockwell paintings. Going through the ranch you can see a few of them. It just brings out the nostalgia of the ranch and you get a feeling of joy and calmness walking through the halls.
The Ranch contains a barn with animals, vineyards, a garden with fruits and vegetables used in the on-site restaurant, an outdoor swimming pool and fitness center with racquetball courts, the man-made “Lake Ewok,” a hilltop observatory, a 300-seat theater called “The Stag” as well as multiple theater screening rooms, and parking that is mostly concealed underground to preserve the natural landscape. Speaking of the lake….our tour guide said that on the 4th of July they have a big celebration and some swim in the lake. What fun!
Did you know that a bit of the Ewok film was filmed on property. PLus, the scene with the speeders in Return of the Jedi was filmed close by.
One more thing: There is a fully equipped fire department. The Ranch really has everything you could possibly need!
That’s right! There’s also a vineyard. They currently make Skywalker Pinot Noir, Skywalker Vineyards Pinot Noir Rose, and Viandante Del Cielo Pinot Noir. Looking to buy some? Check out the Online Store.
The Main House
Then you have The Main House. This was built to resemble a cattle rancher’s Victorian home. This was also the first building on the Ranch. This is where George did a lot of editing for Star Wars. Now it’s home to George Lucas’ office as well as a HUGE research library. We were not able to take pictures inside so I’ll try to explain the awesomeness that was inside.
When you first walk in there are some cases over to the right that hold some of George’s collectibles. For example: the original hat from Indian Jones, The crystal skull from the last Indian Jones. All of the original lightsabers. Even a lightsaber that went to space! Some Marquettes from various films. Even the ORIGINAL AT-AT walker from Empire Strikes Back. Lots of history!
The Research library was heaven for me. The staircase, all of the books, the ceiling, the smell. I LOVE a good library and with around 33,000 books I would stay busy for awhile. Speaking of books we were able to see Star Wars: Frames box set Which is afcustom collectors box with a cast iron Yoda figure on it. In the book George picked his favorite frames from the STAR WARS films.
As you can tell it was truly a magical day. I wish we could have stayed longer! Now, speaking of Magic. The reson why we were there was for the new film from the mind of George Lucas:
“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion. Lucasfilm Animation Singapore and Industrial Light & Magic bring to life the fanciful forest turned upside down with world-class animation and visual effects. Directed by Gary Rydstrom (“Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation,” “Lifted”) from a story by George Lucas, “Strange Magic” will be released by Touchstone Pictures on Jan. 23, 2015.
***Disclosure: I attended #StrangeMagicEvent My flight, lodgings, and expenses were covered by Disney All opinions are 100% mine. ***