A Star Wars Nerd’s Dream: Visiting the Skywalker Ranch & LucasFilm HQ

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This past weekend, one of my dreams came true. I went to Skywalker Ranch and LucasFilms HQ. I am a huge Star Wars nerd so this was amazing for me. The things I got to see – only a handful of people can do that. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.

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Skywalker Ranch

From the moment we pulled on to the Skywalker Ranch lot, I was in awe. It was pitch black and we could barely see a thing but I knew I was where George Lucas – THE George Lucas – lives sometimes, and that was enough for me. After being told to turn our cellphones off and put them in sealed bags, we were led into a theater. But not just any theater. The theater where George Lucas himself has sat and screened 1st cuts of some of America’s favorite films. WOW.

We were in George Lucas’ theater – and we were about to watch 28 minutes of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. I am pretty sure I watched all the footage with my mouth hanging open. I was in awe. What I saw was so well done – different but with similar undertones. Gareth Edwards has done incredible things and I cannot wait to see the rest of the movie – I am DYING to see the rest of the movie.

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A Tour of the Grounds

After the footage, there was a press reception. There was delicious foods and wittily named drinks (Jyn and Tonic & Jyn Mule). We were able to get our photos taken with some Stormtroopers and saw 8 costumes from the movie displayed. I was on cloud 9 all night – and then we were told the Skywalker Ranch General Store opened up for us and we could shop. I collect 3 things – magnets, ornaments, and mugs – so I got all 3 of those and I know I will smile each time I see them as I remember this once in a lifetime experience. On the way to the store, we even drove by George Lucas’ house, which was beautifully decorated for the holidays.

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LucasFilm HQ

I could have ended my trip there and been one of the happiest geeks alive – but the next day we were off to LucasFilm Headquarters to interview many of the cast members and the director. I will have those interviews later (so keep checking back for those), but we were also able to shop there AND get a private tour. I am pretty sure I was beaming with excitement the entire day (my cheeks still hurt from smiling so much).

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ILM Tour

There was so many incredible things to see on the Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) tour. I was surprised to discover just how many movies were finished there. We walked down a wall filled with posters of movies they finished in post and it was quite surreal. The props that I got to see – things like Slimer from Ghostbusters, the T-Rex from the original Jurassic Park (and fun fact – he was scanned in to a computer for the new one too!), and models that were used on set for movies like Star Wars.

I could have spent an entire day – or longer – exploring everything. The hour tour seemed way too short. One of my favorite things was the motion capture suit for Davy Jones from Pirates of the Caribbean. I loved that it even had the claw hand like the character.

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Motion Capture

Speaking of motion capture, because Alan Tudyk did motion capture for K-2SO, we were able to go into a motion capture studio there and see how it was done. This was really fun! We got to see the suit up close and also see K-2SO projected on screens while the person wearing the suit was moving around. I found it fascinating to watch – and the guy in the suit made it a lot of fun. We even were taking photos with K-2SO! It is such an amazing process.

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I still cannot believe that I was there and all the amazing things I saw. These were once in a lifetime opportunities and I will treasure the memories for the rest of my life. Any Star Wars nerd – or movie nerd at that – would appreciate the incredible things that I saw.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story hits theaters on December 16th!

1 Comment

  1. Pingback: Golden Globe Nominee Riz Ahmed Says Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is about Redemption | #RogueOneEvent | Mama Smith's

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