- "This place is the Holy Grail for them. And, you know, we actually have a few Holy Grails here."
- ―Noah Skinner (a member of the Skywalker Ranch Fire Brigade) on fans' fascination with the ranch
Skywalker Ranch is the name of the workplace of film director and producer George Lucas in secluded but open country near Nicasio, California in Marin County. The ranch is located on Lucas Valley Road, although Lucas is not related to the road's namesake, a turn-of-the-century landowner in the area. The Ranch is not open to the public and keeps a low profile from the road.
Assembled parcel by parcel since September 1978, Skywalker Ranch has cost Lucas up to US$100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. After neighboring ranchers complained that Skywalker Ranch was polluting the environment, Lucasfilm acquired 3,000 acres (12 km²) of adjoining land for a total of over 4,700 acres (19 km²). Only 15 acres (60,000 m²) have been developed.
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. Skywalker Sound was moved onto the ranch in 1987, now occupying the Technical Building. The Main House has a company research library under a stained-glass dome. Skywalker Ranch has its own fire station, which is part of the Marin County Mutual Aid system, and is often called on to assist firefighters in nearby Marinwood. Lucas also created a fictional backstory for the ranch, in which it "was once owned by an old sea captain". In 2007, Marin County gave Lucas permission to add two more screening rooms and a bridge across Bull Tail Creek
Lucas, who based his Star Wars films on the scholarship of Joseph Campbell, was involved in the creation of the 1988 documentary which explored Campbell's works of The Power of Myth. The series of six, one-hour interviews between Campbell and journalist Bill Moyers was filmed at Skywalker Ranch. In the first episode, Moyers discusses Campbell's friendship with Lucas and the impact of his scholarship on Lucas' Star Wars films (Episodes IV, V, and VI).
Skywalker Ranch is intended to be more of a "filmmaker's retreat" than a headquarters for Lucas's business operations. The headquarters of Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic, and LucasArts are located in Lucas's Letterman Digital Arts Center in the Presidio of San Francisco. Lucas does not live on the Ranch.
Big Rock Ranch
Big Rock Ranch is a later Lucasfilm development in Marin county on Lucas Valley Road adjacent to Skywalker Ranch. The county's planning commission approved this facility in September 1996 and construction was completed in August 2002. However in November 2004, Lucas announced that the 250 employees of the ranch were to be moved to the Letterman Digital Arts Center.
The ranch comprises 1061 acres (4.3 km²), of which 43 acres (17 hectares) are developed with 317,000 ft² (29,500 m²) of office space. Before the Presidio move in 2005, Big Rock Ranch housed the marketing, licensing, distribution and online divisions of Lucasfilm. It is currently the headquarters of the animation division as of 2007.
- "Looking At Lucasfilm"—The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 1
- "George Lucas: The Force Behind Lucasfilm"—The Lucasfilm Fan Club Magazine 6
- The Secrets of Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire
- Star Wars: Build Your Own R2-D2 91 (Building the Galaxy: Post-production factory)
- Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga: The Official Collector's Edition
Notes and references
- Inside George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch - Article at LA Times.com
- Virtual Tour of the Stag Theater
- A detailed tour description by a rare visitor from the press (1986)
- Chris Pope's Skywalker Ranch Virtual Tour
- Regular land map of Skywalker Ranch: from The Center For Land Use Interpretation
- "Inside Skywalker Ranch": a fan's detailed tour
- "Skywalker Ranch": from http://perljam.net/notes/interesting-google-satellite-maps/