Lucasfilm announced Tuesday that it is abandoning the Grady Ranch project, the planned expansion of Skywalker Ranch. Instead, George and crew will be building the new digital media production studio elsewhere.

Despite Lucasfilm's insistence that the new project was not "the evil empire," the company decided to halt the Marin, California plan after facing fierce opposition from his neighbors.

"We love working and living in Marin, but the residents of Lucas Valley have fought this project for 25 years, and enough is enough," the company said in a statement. "We have several opportunities to build the production stages in communities that see us as a creative asset, not as an evil empire."

George Lucas's neighbors, who feared that the expansion of his Skywalker Ranch would negatively impact their quiet area, fought as if the Hollywood filmmaker were Darth Vader himself. The local planning commission approved the project in February but opponents appealed that decision last month.

According to EW, the plan called for a 269,000-square-foot complex that would include a 51-foot-tall, mission-style compound with two 85-foot towers, two indoor sound stages and a large outdoor stage. There would have been screening rooms, guest housing, a general store, an employee cafeteria and a "wine cave."

The company argued that the new studio would generate hundreds of high-paying jobs, but local homeowners and environmentalists feared it would increase traffic and noise and cause environmental damage.

Lucasfilm spokeswoman Lynne Hale said two other cities have already offered "substantial incentives" to build the new studio. "It makes me sad that we cannot build the studio in Marin," Hale said. "Other communities understand the economic and educational benefits of having a company such as Lucasfilm in their cities."

The AP reports that the historic farmland of Grady Ranch will now likely be sold to a developer who will build low-income housing.

[via EW]
categories Movies