Skywalker Ranch is a movie ranch and workplace of film director, writer and producer George Lucas located in a secluded, yet open area near Nicasio, California, in Marin County. The ranch is located on Lucas Valley Road, named for an early-20th-century landowner in the area, no relation to George Lucas. The Ranch is not open to the public.
The principal operation of the facility is as a motion picture sound mixing and recording facility, as well as serving as the corporate offices of Lucasfilm. Other Lucasfilm properties provide animation and visual effects; Skywalker handles sound, music, and allied services.
Assembled parcel by parcel since September 1978, Skywalker Ranch has cost Lucas up to US$100 million, according to the Wall Street Journal. Lucasfilm acquired 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) of adjoining land for a total of over 4,700 acres (1,900 ha). Only 15 acres (6.1 ha) have been developed. The residents of the area have for 25 years fought his plan to build a larger studio on the property, citing light and noise pollution.
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 "Ewok Lake", a hilltop observatory, a 300-seat theater called "The Stag" as well as 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; it is part of the Marin County mutual aid system and is often called on to assist firefighters in nearby Marinwood.
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. The George Lucas Educational Foundation is based at the Ranch. Skywalker Sound remains based at the Ranch, for which Lucasfilm pays a rental fee to George Lucas, who remains the property's owner. Although Lucas maintains his offices there, he does not reside at the Ranch. Lucasfilm Games was located at the ranch during the early company years.
Nearby Lucas properties
Big Rock Ranch
Big Rock Ranch is a later Lucasfilm development in Marin county at 3800 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 1,061 acres (429 ha), of which 43 acres (17 ha) are developed with 317,000 sq ft (29,500 m2) of office space. Before the move to the Presidio in 2005, Big Rock Ranch housed the marketing, licensing, distribution and online divisions of Lucasfilm. As of 2007[update] it was the headquarters of the animation division. In 2018, Big Rock Ranch was renovated into an opulent, 56-room resort called "Summit at Skywalker Ranch". The facility hosts exclusive corporate retreat events.
Starting in 1988, Lucasfilm sought approval to develop another nearby property called Grady Ranch at 2400 Lucas Valley Road. The most recent proposals called for a 263,701-square-foot (24,498.6 m2) digital film production center for the property. However, in the wake of delays caused by local resistance and environmental concerns, Lucas abandoned these plans in April 2012 and has instead decided to sell the land.
The Ranch hosted Bill Moyers and Joseph Campbell for interviews for The Power of Myth documentary in the late 1980s. Campbell's works were influential to George Lucas in creating the Star Wars universe. Years later, Moyers returned to the Ranch to interview Lucas for a documentary titled The Mythology of Star Wars around the time Episode I was in production.
In the 1997 PC first person shooter game Outlaws (which was created by LucasArts), has an ending level named Bob Graham's Big Rock Ranch. The name and a few smaller aspects is a tribute to Big Rock Ranch and Skywalker Ranch.
The 2009 comedy film Fanboys is the story of five Star Wars fans on their quest to break into Skywalker Ranch and watch a rough cut of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace before its official release.
The ranch was featured in an episode of The Big Bang Theory (Season 8: The Skywalker Incursion) where Leonard and Sheldon tried to gain access in order to see the ranch for themselves. They are stopped at the guard post, but Sheldon breaks free and they are detained.
In Chef Show (2019): Episode 13, the hosts find themselves in another unusual locale: the sprawling Skywalker Ranch in Marin, California as noted in ‘Chef Show’ Volume 2 Has Chuckling Seth Rogen and a Trip to Skywalker Ranch.
- Strickler, Jeff (2002-05-18). "Skywalker Ranch: George Lucas creates a magic world in real life". Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune. Archived from the original on 2007-10-10.
- Labrecque, Jeff (10 May 2005). "'Star Wars' Timeline". Entertainment Weekly. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- "Lucas can build additions, bridge on Skywalker ranch". Marin Independent Journal. MediaNews Group, Inc. ANG Newspapers. 31 March 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2007. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- Allen, Nick (22 May 2012). "George Lucas in planning row over Skywalker Ranch". Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group Limited. Retrieved 6 August 2012.
- Arnold, William (21 May 2005). "Inside the secure world of Skywalker Ranch". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Communications Inc. Archived from the original on 15 October 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- "History". Skywalker Sound. Lucasfilm Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 June 2007. Retrieved 20 May 2007.
- "Letterman Digital and New Media Arts Center". Lucasfilm Ltd. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
- Lev-Ram, Michal (November 1, 2015). "Behind the scenes at Lucasfilm's Skywalker Sound". Fortune. Retrieved November 2, 2015.
- Diver, Mike (January 27, 2015). "Tim Schafer Discusses His Classic Video Games, 'Grim Fandango' and 'Monkey Island'". Vice.com. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- Powell, Dean R. (26 September 1996). "Lucasfilm, Ltd. Master Plan and Use Permit with construction". Marin County Planning Commission. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
- "Big Rock Ranch Project". CMA. August 2002. Archived from the original on 16 October 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
- Kravets, Jim (24 November 2004). "Lucasfilm to transfer much of its workforce". Point Reyes Light. Archived from the original on 6 October 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
- Vilmur, Pete (21 September 2007). "Clone Wars at the Ranch". StarWars.com. Lucasfilm. Archived from the original on 11 November 2007. Retrieved 28 October 2007.
- "The Summit at Skywalker Ranch". Skywalker Properties Ltd. Archived from the original on 12 July 2018. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- Johnson, Nels (27 April 2016). "George Lucas' plan: 57 overnight guest rooms at Big Rock Ranch under review". Marin Independent Journal. MediaNews Group, Inc. Bay Area News Group. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
- Peter Fimrite (April 11, 2012). "George Lucas withdraws Marin plans amid protests". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Grady Ranch". Marin Conservation League. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- Official website
- Virtual Tour of the Stag Theater
- Regular land map of Skywalker Ranch: from The Center For Land Use Interpretation
- Google map view centered on the Main House