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Photo Tour of Skywalker Ranch

We visited the ranch as a guest of Disney

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In anticipation of the upcoming Lucas film, “Strange Magic,” we got the invitation of a lifetime to tour Skywalker Ranch and see where the magic of Lucas films happens.

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When George Lucas purchased the property, it was just a farm. There were not any buildings, and everything including the lake was built from the ground up. The ranch is home to a huge sound post production facility, Skywalker Sound, that major studios use including Pixar, Steven Spielberg, and AJ Abrams.

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Lucas purchased and built the ranch because he didn’t want to make movies in LA in the traditional studio setting. He wanted to create a space where people could come and have everything they needed outside the studio system. It is important to Lucas to be surrounded by natural beauty. The size of the ranch keeps changing because Lucas will buy more property, and then give it back to open space…right now it is at about 7,000 acres.

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The ranch is located 40 minutes north of San Francisco and features the main house, technical building, Ewok Lake, Skywalker Inn and a beautiful vineyard. George wanted to create a place where his employees would be surrounded by everything that is beautiful, and the ranch is one of the most beautiful places that I’ve visited.

The lake was originally built as a water source for the on site fire department. It is also a place where people can swim and is fully stocked with fish…however, there is a sign that says “swim at your own risk.”

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Francis Coppola is good friends with Lucas, and the Coppola team harvests the grapes from the ranch and bottles a special wine with a Skywalker label. If you happen across a bottle of Coppola with the labeling then you know that those grapes came from the vineyard at the ranch.

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The main house, the heart of the ranch, was the first building built and was where Lucas edited all the Star Wars films. We were allowed to go inside, and only see parts of the house because in many parts of the house they are working on “super secret stuff.” The main house is not where Lucas lives as many would think but is a place for his staff to work in an environment surrounded by beautiful painting and artifacts. (Sorry..I could not take pictures from inside the house)

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In the house, immediately inside the door is two small cabinets with priceless artifacts and gifts that were given to Lucas. There is Charlie Chaplin’s hat, the “actual” crystal skull, keystone cops badges and more. The one artifact, which was extremely special, was the original light saber that Luke Skywalker used in “Return of the Jedi.” It is a “hero light saber.” That means it is just a handle with no stick because it was just to hang on the actor’s belt. During the last shuttle mission, NASA asked Lucas if they could fly the light saber in the cargo. This priceless artifact flew around the Earth! There were pictures, and NASA memorabilia displayed next to the light saber.

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Everything inside the house is designed by Lucas. If something is on a shelf it, is because he put it there. Lucas has one of the largest collections of Norman Rockwell paintings that are displayed throughout the house including beautiful drawings, sculptures, and other artwork.

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There is a media room that is mostly used for interviews and features a collection of old video games and every record you could imagine. Next to the media room is Lucas’ private office. The last place, we visited inside of the house, was the library. When we walked into the library another journalist, Yolanda said, “It looks just like the library in ‘Beauty and the Beast.'” The library serves as reference library for doing research on films. There are resources in the room, underground and stored offsite. If a filmmaker wants to do research on costume design, then this is the place they would go.

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In the back of the main house are small houses that they rent to other studios to do post production work. For those who might be from LA and working for a couple of months on a film at the ranch then there is the Skywalker Inn for them to stay. The Inn features 32 themed apartments.

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Finally, there is the technical building. This building is the main sound post production facility and where we saw the film “Strange Magic” with George Lucas. There is a cafeteria, 300-seat screening room, six mix studios, ADR and Foley stages, world-class scoring stage and many rooms where the magic happens.

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Lucas wrote and produced the new film “Strange Magic” and a lot of the work for the film was done at Skywalker Ranch. If you’re a fan of Lucas’ work…then you’re not going to want to miss taking your family to see the film “Strange Magic” on January 23rd.

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Learn more about “Strange Magic” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #StrangeMagic.

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5 Comments

  1. Shelby this looks amazing! Oh my gosh. Can I ask if anyone can tour? As a former production editor I would absolutely LOVE to take my kids here sometime. You are so fortunate to have done this!

    Katie 🙂

    • Hi Katie..the ranch is not open to the public for tours. It is only open to Lucas film staff. We were only invited to learn more about the film Strange Magic.

  2. wondering the same thing about touring…

  3. A-MAY-ZING!!! Great Story and pictures!!! What an experience.

  4. Ok thanks. If you ever need an assistant…just saying. 🙂

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