Star Wars trek: Bay Area and Marin County - March 2001

Star Wars stories

It's widely known that Lucas considers himself to be more of an independent filmmaker and prefers to live and work up north in the Bay Area and Marin County. A lot of events from his life have happened in this area. And it is only a 2-hour drive from where he was born in Modesto. I tried to find some of the bigger ones but I was only searching in the area for a day. Someone who actually lives out there would probably have a better time finding the more obscure locations and I have included all of my notes in case you want to try.

Read more.
See all pictures.
See satelite photos.

San Francisco
Before USC - "he and Plummer journeyed to the avant-garde North Beach section of San Francisco" to watch all kinds of films - Skywalking
"After MJC and before USC Lucas spent one term at San Francisco State University studying art" - Empire Building
SFSU, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132
"Spielberg reshoot the scene downtown San Francisco, having Marion wait for Indiana on the steps of the government building." - Skywalking
"American Zoetrope opened at a warehouse in the run-down Folsom Street district" - Empire Building
"American Zoetrope was born in a warehouse loft at 827 Folsom Street." - Skywalking

I think the original warehouse must have been torn down because I only found a building under construction at this address.
"Lucas and his crew zipped around the San Francisco area, using the half-completed tunnels for the new San Francisco rapid transit system as their major set." - Skywalking
"The THX 1138 company traveled to no less then 22 locations in the San Francisco Bay Area, filming in such places as the Oakland Coliseum, the San Francisco Pacific Gas and Electric Building, the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael, and the various tunnels and tubes of the a-building BART system...a tumor research center in San Jose, where there was a four-million-volt linear accelerator and a laser treatment machine...the cathedral sequence near the end of the picture that was actually shot in a TV studio" - American Cinematographer, Oct 1971
Oakland Alameda County Coliseum, 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621
Pacific Energy Center Pacific Gas and Electric Company, 851 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA 94103
Civic Center Library, 3501 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA 94903
American Graffiti "they showed the film to Tanen at a Sunday morning screening at the Northpoint Theatre in San Francisco on Jan. 28, 1973 - Empire Building
SW4 - "The first major public screening had been arranged at the Northpoint in San Francisco at the beginning of May." - Empire Building - May 1 - Skywalking Northpoint Theatre 2290 Powell St (Powell and Bay)
"On February 22, 1969, George Walton Lucas, Jr., and Marcia Lou Griffin were married at the United First Methodist Church in Pacific Groove, just south of Monterey, CA." - Skywalking
First United Methodist Church of Pacific Grove, Sunset Dr & Seventeen Mile Dr # D, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
I haven't been to the Presidio since the new Lucasfilm offices opened, but I did see it from the air when flying into the San Francisco airport last year. Plus it is easy to spot from satellite photos.
Lucasfilm Ltd. (Letterman Digital Arts Center) One Letterman Drive, San Francisco, CA 94129
SW4 - "After finding out how little progress ILM had made George had a stress attack and was treated at Marin General Hospital" - Empire Building
Marin General Hospital, 250 Bon Air Road, Greenbrae, CA 94904
SW6 - "Some cast and crew stayed at Hotel Corte Madera in San Rafael" - The Making of ROTJ
Marin Suites Hotel, 45 Tamal Vista Boulevard, Corte Madera, CA 94925
Kurtz's house in Sausalito - "we turned off the freeway and onto the road that winds steeply up to the little hillside town...We turned into the Kurtz's drive and saw a house that springs out from its driveway like a jack-in-the-box because it is built on ledges that overlook the bay. Its multilevel interior leads down to an octagonal room of book-clad walls with comfortable lounging chairs around an open fireplace" - Once Upon A Galaxy
Skywalker Ranch
"May 1978 Lucas' formed a company called Parkway Properties to start buying land including the 1,882 acre 100-year-old Bulltail Ranch in Nicasio and 13 other adjacent parcels including Big Rock Ranch for a total of 2,949 acres". - Skywalking
Skywalker Ranch - 5858 Lucas Valley road - It appears that you exit 101 on Lucas Valley road and the gate will be on the right side of the road. 40 miles from San Francisco.
"To get to the Ranch, you head west from San Rafael on Lucas Valley wind through the plump, grassy hills of Marin county...beyond the automatic wooden gates, you come to a kiosk with a guard whose patch says 'Skywalker Fire Brigade'" - The New Yorker 1-6-97
About 150 employees at Lucasfilm Ltd. will soon be moving into a new 175,000-square-foot facility on Lucas Valley Road, about 2 miles east of Skywalker Ranch. Big Rock Ranch, as the new complex is known, is the first large-scale addition to George Lucas' San Rafael spread since Skywalker opened in 1985. "It's a beautiful building and will be a wonderful place for employees to work," said Gordon Radley, president of Lucasfilm. "We took great care to put parking underground and to minimize the impact on the land." - SF Gate
San Rafael
AMERICAN GRAFFITI "Some of the cruising scenes were shot on Fourth St. in San Rafael, where a Friday Night Cruise took place for many years. And the Freshmen Hop dance scene was shot at the Tamalpais High School gym in Mill Valley."
Tamalpais High School, 700 Miller Avenue, Mill Valley, CA 94941
The Ewok Adventure - "one of the scenes was filmed at a rock quarry a few miles from ILM". - The Art of Special Effects
The Art of Star Wars Episode I - The Phantom Menace: The book confirms speculation posted here in the past that the buildings seen in the city of Theed were partly inspired by:
Frank Lloyd Wright's Marin County Civic Center. 3501 Civic Center Dr. San Rafael, CA
SW1 - "To get shots of the trees toppling, ILM made arrangements with a local power company responsible for removing trees endangering power lines." - Cinefex 78
SW1 - "Final ground battle between Gungans and Battledroids - Backgrounds for the entirely synthetic sequence were assembled from still photographs of green hills and valleys, shot by Dennis Muren. These photographs were scanned into the computers at ILM, then distorted slightly to make them look less like an Earth terrain, and more like something that would be found on the alien planet of Naboo". - The Making of Episode I pg. 126
SW1 - Gungan/Battledroid battle - For the remaining, static backgrounds, Muren went out to the hills east of ILM's home base in San Rafael and shot still photographs. - Cinefex 78
I'm sure I didn't find the same spot that Muren must have taken pictures at but during the right time of the year, there are lots of places that look like the rolling grassy hills of Naboo.
ILM located at 90 Windward Way in San Rafael and is right behind a restaurant named Foodles which address is 3140 Kerner Blvd Ste H, San Rafael, CA 94901
Skywalker Ranch to ILM is a 20 minute drive - Cinefex 78
"Presently ILM leases 13 buildings in the Canal neighborhood on the east side of San Rafael".
"I steered my car into the parking lot of the large brick building spread out in a quiet suburban community near the foot of a rugged chain of mountains."
"The casual passerby has no inkling that five stucco buildings, marked with orange trim and pseudo-Mediterranean tile roofs, and inconspicuously lettered A, B, C, D, and E are a magician's lair. They include the Kerner Company Optical Research Lab, better known as ILM" - Skywalking
"The ILM shop itself was established in a busy commercial and warehouse district of San Rafael, not far from the old downtown business strip where Lucas filmed some of American Graffiti...some street facing buildings unmarked and others decorated with the fading logos of long vacated tenants" - The Art of Special Effects
"In a drab San Rafael, California industrial park - next to a noodle shop, of all things - are two sets of low, nondescript buildings. The blinds on the tinted windows are closed, the doors shut tight." - Premiere May 1999
SW1 - Theed - "...ILM's Marin County facility. The set-up was so big, the production purchased a quonset hut-shaped airplane hanger to roll over the stage at night to protect the exquisite models from the elements" - Ep. I Official Souvenir Magazine
The incident occurred just after 9:30 a.m., when an employee of Industrial Light & Magic felt a sudden pain in his right arm and then his head as he was chatting with an associate outside the special effects company's San Rafael offices in the 3100 block of Kerner Boulevard.
Before Knoll began working on the Podrace, he spent a week exploring Utah's famed Arches National, Arizona's Monument Valley and Canyonlands National Park. - American Cinematographer Sept 1999
Parkhouse - San Anselmo
"George Lucas's elaborate film-set-like home is sequestered in a surprisingly everyday neighborhood here. Turn right by a supermarket parking lot, head up a hill past an assortment of lusterless middle-class homes -- an old washer and dryer are abandoned in the driveway of one -- and a visitor arrives at the electronically controlled gate that admits one to this private world".
"George and Marcia Lucas moved a few miles from Mill Valley to another picturesque Marin County town, San Anselmo, where they bought a modest house on Medway imposing Victorian mansion, high on a hill overlooking the town." - Empire Building
"With its black shingled exterior and shadowy nooks and crannies, Parkhouse might have come straight out of a Vincent Price movie." - Empire Building
"Each morning he would leave his house on Medway Street and travel up the hill to his comfortable new office." - Empire Building
"The remainder of his magnum opus had sat untouched in the five three-ring binders he kept in the "tree house" writing room he had built with Marcia in an outbuilding at Parkhouse." - Empire Building
"Their new home on Medway Street was small, and Lucas wanted a separate office where he could work on Star Wars. Marcia discovered a dilapidated Marin landmark for sale, a wood frame residence built in 1869. Lucas bought it for $150,000 in December, 1973 and had a screening room built in the back." - Skywalking
"old colonial's the only house that looks older then me (Lucas)" - Ecran 9-15-77
"The high wood fence that surrounds Lucas' house in San Anselmo, just north of San Francisco, is intimidating, as are the signs NO SOLICITING and BEWARE OF DOG. Behind the giant fence is a small, unpretentious wood house with a big front porch." - Rolling Stone 6-12-80
In San Anselmo, George Lucas has three offices including an editing facility in a building just off the main street. He lives on the outskirts of town among the pines and redwoods. - Once Upon A Galaxy
Mill Valley
"They found a house in Mill Valley which they turned into their first home, complete with an office and a small editing room in the attic." - Empire Building
"About fifteen minutes after crossing the bridge, Kurtz pulled up in the small, picture-postcard pretty town of Mill Valley, parked his car, and rang the doorbell of a small house off the main street." - Empire Building
"Marcia found a small hilltop house in Mill Valley" - Skywalking
Before being named Lucasfilm the name Mill Valley Films was being discussed. - Empire Building
"Their high jinx ranged from racing each other up a giant, revolving Holiday Inn sign to hurling Richard Dreyfuss off a second-floor balcony into a swimming pool." - Empire Building
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1101 Gravenstein Hwy S., Sebastopol, CA 95472
American Graffiti filmed in San Rafael for the first 4 nights before relocating to Petaluma for the remainder of the 28 day shooting schedule.
Currently 0.00 / 5 (0 votes)

Share It!

Comments are closed