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‘Star Wars’ fanatics travel far for glimpse of iconic sites
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On the sweeping grounds of Villa del Balbianello, visitors can get married in the setting overlooking Italy’s Lake Como where Queen Padme Amidala married Anakin in “Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones.”
The epic film series has spawned a franchise including collectables, books, television series, video games and comic books that Forbes magazine estimated in 2007 had earned more than $22 billion.
Lucasfilm is among several businesses and nonprofits that have relocated to the Presidio, the onetime military base turned national park overlooking the bay and the Pacific Ocean. Run-of-the-mill fans, however, aren’t invited past the plush company lobby without invitation.
“The Yoda fountain is the public face of Lucasfilm, the one picture-taking opportunity that they have with something from ‘Star Wars,’ ” said Steve Sansweet, a fan relations adviser to Lucasfilm who houses a trove of collectables on his land in Northern California, dubbed Rancho Obi-Wan.
Jay Shephard, a manager at an online testing company in Baltimore, went a step further, calling the fountain a mecca for fans.
“Yoda’s like what I would like to aspire to be in the way that I live my life and the way I raise my kids,” said Mr. Shephard, who founded a fan site called TheForce.net. “Here’s this little guy who’s really unassuming, and you think ‘How could this little creature be a warrior’? But the messages he shares with Luke in the movie really resonate with all of us.”
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