Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Tour with a Camera (a Star Wars post)

If you've been following me for any length of time, you will know that the Lucasfilm offices and Skywalker Ranch are not places unfamiliar to me. There have been two problems with this:
1. Not owning a cellphone (and, thus, an always on hand camera), I have not ever had a camera with me when I've been. Usually, this isn't an issue as we're not going to be any place really cool, anyway; however, there have been a few events where a camera would have come in handy:

  • the premier event for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull -- lots of cool props on hand at the gathering after the movie
  • the premier event for the debut of Star Wars: The Clone Wars -- since it was animated, there were no props, but there was a lot of the pre-vis models and sketches and stuff
  • that time George Lucas said "howdy" to me -- okay, so a camera would have gotten me in trouble that time, but since I didn't have one with me...
2. I've never actually been on a tour of either facility. Wait a minute... had never.

So, yeah, I finally got a tour of the Lucasfilm offices down at the Presidio in San Francisco and I took my camera with me. Although that was kind of scary. You have to sign a non-disclosure agreement before getting to go in (and get a security badge and all that) and that includes not taking any pictures. I  hadn't met up with my friend, yet, as I was getting my badge and stuff, but one of the main reasons for the tour is that I wanted to get some pictures, so not getting to take any would kind of defeat the point. Not that it would be a reason not to get the tour, but, you know, PICTURES! But I signed the agreement and went looking around for my friend. No, no, not in the building. Back outside, since I figured he was looking for me (and I couldn't actually go in without him, anyway). Once I found him, I was, like, "Dude! I just signed a thing saying no pictures. Does that mean no pictures?" And he was, like, "Well, I don't think so."

Yeah, that put my mind at ease.

But we stayed to, basically, public areas where there was no sensitive Episode VII stuff going on, so we're pretty sure the pictures are okay. And a couple of the security dudes seem to think it was okay, too, so, finally, I have some pictures. However, if you never hear from me again, you'll know what happened. I just hope they put me in a cell not connected to one of the garbage compactors.

Until then, here is your (partial) photographic tour of some of the cooler things I saw there:
Yeah, you have to pretty cool to get your own Lego head made for you by the Lego company.
The most famous blaster in the galaxy.
A statue to Ray Harryhausen, possibly the "Father of Stop-motion photography."
The Yoda fountain.
He's offering me cookies. (Recognize the shirt Briane?)
What? You thought it was all Star Wars?
Okay, it's a lot Star Wars.
But this is not Star Wars. (Knowing might win you points in my so far unimplemented point system.)
These should look familiar to at least some of you.
This guy kept trying to sell me stamps.
This is so sad.
Anyone recognize these guys? They don't come with batteries.
Well, that's about it for the pics (that I'm going to share), so everyone
"Beee goood."


  1. Oh my God, a Lego Lucas! That's priceless.

    It would be hard not to touch all of that, it's so cool.

    Thanks for posting the pics and glad you finally got some taken!

  2. I'm guessing that one prop is a Terminator prototype given to him by Cameron.
    Cool you did get some photos. Nice there is a statue of Harryhausen.
    And nice to know I'm not the only one in the world without a cell phone. (However, my iPad does have a camera.)

  3. Let me say the obvious: That shirt looks AWESOME ON YOU and would obviously make any man, woman, extraterrestrial, or dinosaur look incredible. Perhaps they should contact you or me and find out where to get one!

    These pictures were GREAT. I am so jealous of you. If I got a chance to get in there I might have stayed in there forever, like a lowbrow version of Foucault's Pendulum. (LITERARY REFERENCE ALERT)

    I tried to figure out the points-system photo and the space ships. Is it "District 9" and "The Avengers"?

    Even I don't think I'm right.

    You have a very cool life.

  4. Wow. That is so awesome! The Batteries Not Included guys look way bigger than I would expect.

  5. I agree, don't like seeing Han Solo metalized.

    Excellent photos, Andrew and nice to know you were inspired and prepared (this time) to take photographs (some of us may never get to see this place otherwise). If 'they' come to get you, we'll have to mount a rescue.

    Hubs did that 'Oops, camera went off' in one of the closeup NASA tours we had of the old control centre. I appreciate the effort!

  6. Funny story, my son had a chance several years ago, to either visit Pixar, or ILM as a sorta VIP guest (long story there) on a private tour. He chose ILM because he was starting to think of Pixar stuff as for kids, and he was really interested in live action stuff... so he went to ILM, and the was told that since 99% of their attention was currently focused on a couple of upcoming blockbusters (I remembered one the Transformers sequels, but I forget which one, I forgot the other movie... might have been a Marvel one) that they just couldn't allow him to tour the 'working' sections of ILM, so he described his experience as 'walking down lots of hallways, and occasionally seeing a poster'.

    I tole him to go to Pixar, but he wouldn't listen.

    Anyhow, those props are amazing! I remember not like Batteries Not Included very much when I saw it, but it's been a very long time ago. Was it good?

  7. I think we need a "Fanboys" type raid on the Lucas compound to nab a print of Episode VII before it comes out.

  8. Anne: Some of it was touchable, although I'm sure they preferred no hands. At least one statue had a broken piece.

    Alex: Nope, not from Terminator. All of the props are from movies ILM worked on, although I'm pretty sure they did the fx for T2.

    Briane: Well, it looks cooler from the outside, but I'm sure that's how it always is.
    As for your guesses, no and no.

    Matthew: They weren't that big. The smaller ones would fit in my hand.

    D.G.: That's not Han in that picture, although they had Han there, too.

  9. I came back to see if you commented on my comment and was looking at the pics more closely - the one is Galaxyquest, right? With the two ships dropping into earth's atmosphere. I've got no idea about the club fisted robot though.

  10. Awesome! ^_^

    And Jar Jar Binx turned into a carbon coffee table made me smile.

  11. Rusty: Sorry, I ran out of time to respond this morning. I had to get to class and just stopped where I was.

    Yes, those are the ships from Galaxy Quest.

    I've been to Pixar, too, and, actually, there is more to see at the Lucasfilm offices in general. However, if you get what I'm gonna call a backstage tour at Pixar (which I did), there's a lot to see, but it's stuff that the creators have done with their spaces. That was what was really cool about going there. However, I don't think the tours there usually include getting to go back through the offices and cubicles and stuff where the creators work. I'm sure that's where all the (even more) cool stuff is at Lucas, too, but I didn't get to go back there since it was during a work day and work, right now, is Episode VII.

    PT: Yeah, but I'm not even sure where that would be now that Skywalker Ranch is just the personal property of Lucas.

    Misha: But I like Jar Jar...

  12. Oh I bet you were like a kid on Christmas morning :)

  13. Hailey: Surprisingly, it was my daughter that was most running around like that.
    But, yeah, it was pretty great.

  14. Very cool! I'm sorry, but I love Jar Jar in Carbonite. Too bad that didn't happen before episode 1...


  15. James: I figured most people would find that amusing.