George Lucas, the creator of distant galaxies and movie-maker par excellence, has established a Utopia for himself, better known as Skywalker Ranch. No surprise why it’s dubbed Skywalker Ranch, but the maverick Hollywood director’s workplace and retreat seem shockingly huge, spanning more than 4700 acres, nestled in the foothills of Marin County, California. A fitting sanctuary for the genius and $10 billion worth chairman of Lucasfilm (now owned by The Walt Disney Company).
The American filmmaker’s mountain of wealth is built on the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, and at least $100 million was taken from that fortune to build and develop Skywalker Ranch. Lucas no longer lives on his 1978 property which serves as his studio and workspace. Let’s find out more about the place that stimulates creativity and attracts the bigwigs of the movie business-
George Lucas turned Skywalker Ranch into his headquarters-
In 1977, Lucas made his epic space opera Star Wars, and in September 1978, he bought the first parcel of land called Bulltail Ranch. Eventually, Lucas added another 3,000 acres of adjoining land, which took the space to a whopping 4,700 acres. Not many know that only 15 acres have been developed so far. It makes you wonder why does he need a home spread across 5000 acres? The idea was to turn Lucas Valley into the headquarters of Lucasfilm, LucasArts, and Industrial Light & Magic.
Niceties of the spectacular Skywalker Ranch and what cooks inside-
About Skywalker Ranch, Lucas told Architectural Digest, “It’s not exactly a small town. If anything, it’s an industrial park. But it’s a nice industrial park.” The Victorian-style house is packed with movie memorabilia like lightsabers Alec Guinness and Mark Hamill used in the original “Star Wars” and the Staff of Ra headpiece from “Raiders of the Lost Ark on one side. It also boasts Tiffany chandeliers and original paintings by Thomas Hart Benton, Norman Rockwell, and Maxfield Parrish on the other. Not many are aware that Lucas is a major collector of the American illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell and possesses a collection of 57 Rockwell paintings and drawings.
The 50,000-square-foot main house with a wraparound porch is occupied as the company research library under the stained glass dome. According to New York Post, the two-story research library is paneled in first-growth redwood and stocked with 27,000 books.
The complex holds 14 buildings that handle music, sound, and allied services like recording and editing rooms. Lucas mainly creates the sounds and music used in his films on this ranch. Since its inception, sound production facilities have been used for nearly two thousand films, television, and video game productions.
What makes $100 million Skywalker Ranch a world inside a world?
The University of Southern California graduate indeed established a small world of his own with Skywalker Ranch. The list of amenities is as enjoyable as his movies. Noted filmmakers like James Cameron, Philip Kaufman, and Clint Eastwood employed Skywalker’s famous soundstages and postproduction studios. The world’s most advanced sound system can be found inside Skywalker Ranch’s 300-seat Stag Theater inside the Tech Building.
To cater to visitors and guests, Lucas developed a bed-and-breakfast guest complex. The complex also nourishes its 250 employees and guests in three restaurants. The wellness center includes a health club with yoga and Pilates classes.
Nature lovers will fall in love with Skywalker Ranch for its gorgeous seven-acre olive grove and organic gardens. The greenery also delights the horses, goats, chickens, and a herd of Texas longhorns on the property.
George Lucas, the connoisseur, comes alive at Skywalker Ranch-
Skywalker Ranch is not just about movies and production, but it is a hardcore ranch complete with a man-made Lake Ewok, olive oil, and wine. Per CBS, grapes from the Skywalker vineyard are whisked to fellow filmmaker and friend Francis Ford Coppola’s Niebaum-Coppola Estate Winery in Napa Valley and bottled as Viandante del Cielo, or “Traveler of the Sky.” The vineyard got embroiled in a controversy when the 78-year-old filmmaker’s California neighbors called it an eyesore and were concerned about noise, traffic, and wastewater disposal.
Country-loving George Lucas didn’t pay much heed; the connoisseur has been dabbling in wine-making for almost 30 years since he planted his first vines in Marin County. His attorney responded, ‘The vineyard will continue to be at that location. We’re not moving it to another spot. This was determined to be the best spot for the type of grapes they wanted to grow. That’s why they selected it.’ You can’t win a war (or any war) with the man who fathered the iconic Star Wars!