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Disney Buys Lucasfilm: Now What Happens to Skywalker Ranch?

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Skywalker Ranch and Lake Ewok, with Skywalker sound building in background [Photo: Mike McCune]

On Tuesday it was announced that Walt Disney Co bought LucasFilm for a mind-boggling $4.05 billion (yes, with a B), giving George Lucas, the sole owner, half in cash and the rest in stock. But what about the future of Lucasfilm studios in the Bay Area? Disney has said that despite their headquarters being located in Southern California, they plan on leaving the Lucas employees where they are, meaning the Letterman campus in the Presidio. But it's unclear if the deal includes the 4,000 acre Skywalker Ranch near Nicasio in Marin County. The ranch is home to Skywalker Sound and Skywalker Properties, while nearby Big Rock Ranch houses Lucasfilm Animation and the George Lucas Educational Foundation. Lucas had plans to build a new studio on his Grady Ranch property, but was stalled by some NIMBY neighbors and ended up pulling the project (instead planning to sell it as a residential development site, as one final F-you). If that land is included in the Disney deal and they want to build the planned studio, it could reignite the neighbor war since the project already has county approvals and Disney certainly has the legal team to make it happen.
· George Lucas' Marin land in question [SF Gate]
· Previous coverage of Grady Ranch [Curbed SF]