The soundstage which housed The Empire Strikes Back is set to close

Share this Article:

Some appropriately miserable news for your Tuesday – the soundstage which played host to the production of The Empire Strikes back is closing down. More below…


The soundstage which housed some of cinema’s most iconic moments, including the most shocking paternity reveal outside of a certain daytime TV personality, is set to close after 45 years at the forefront of visual effects.

Originally home to Industrial Light and Magic, the building in San Rafael, California is currently home to 32TEN Studios, another Disney-owned company.

In a statement to ABC7 News, 32TEN said: “32Ten is simply going out of business due to adverse business conditions including the declining use of miniature practical effects in film production, and also the halt in production due to the Hollywood strikes.”

The building’s landlord apparently wants the current tenants out by the end of October, and plans to repurpose the building.

jurassic park t-rex

Industrial Light and Magic made this whole T Rex while based in the building (Credit: Universal)

While the San Rafael building isn’t the first home of George Lucas’ visual effects house (the company moved there during Empire's pre-production in 1978) it saw the creation of many of the company’s most iconic and exciting set pieces before they relocated again in 2005.

That means the Kenner boulevard team oversaw a series of visual effects milestones, from cinema’s first entirely computer-generated character (the “stained glass man” in 1985’s Young Sherlock Holmes) to the first use of motion capture to create a fully digital character (Jar-Jar Binks in The Phantom Menace).

Taking to Facebook, 32TEN employee Scott Wickman said: “Almost ALL of the effects, and numerous famous scenes, for The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi were created and filmed here. The list of other famous films that had moments filmed here, or had their practical effects done at the studio is massive; The Rocketeer, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Forrest Gump and Back to the Future to name a few.”

Wickman, along with colleagues Doug Cox and Sean house, are planning a crowdfunding campaign to keep the building from being repurposed. Hopefully, they’ll find some traction on that.

Thank you for visiting! If you’d like to support our attempts to make a non-clickbaity movie website:

Follow Film Stories on Twitter here, and on Facebook here.

Buy our Film Stories and Film Junior print magazines here.

Become a Patron here.

Share this Article:

Related Stories

More like this