The Sandcrawler launched in Singapore

The Sandcrawler vehicle of the Jawas in Star Wars
The Sandcrawler building in the Fusionopolis district
The Sandcrawler building in the Fusionopolis district
Photo: Lester J Wan

Lucasfilm’s iconic new hub for Asia Pacific strengthens its initiatives in the film and entertainment industries in the region

Not too long ago, in the galaxy we call our own, Lucasfilm, most famous for the Star Wars films and a host of other blockbusters, recently launched its new Sandcrawler building.

The unique state-of-the-art building in the Fusionopolis district will function as the regional headquarters for Lucasfilm Singapore, The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) and ESPN Asia Pacific.

Light-hearted Touch to an Efficient Machine

The Sandcrawler building is so named due to its resemblance to its namesake, the vehicle of the diminutive desert-dwelling aliens known as the Jawas. The vehicle, depicted in the original Star Wars film, is a personnel and goods transporter.

In the film, the Jawas also had a slightly comical nature, and perhaps that aspect injects a little light-heartedness into such a momentous occasion and functional building.

The Sandcrawler building was officially launched on Jan 16. The event was graced by Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm and George Lucas himself, creator of Star Wars and founder of Lucasfilm.

Invited guests included Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Leo Yip, Chairman of the Singapore Economic Development Board, and Robert Gilby, Managing Director, The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia).

Lucasfilm & its Many Arms

Lucasfilm Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company. It is renowned for the two Star Wars trilogies, the Indiana Jones films, and a string of 1980s hit films such as Labyrinth, Willow and The Land Before Time.

Lucasfilm encompasses a few divisions including Industrial Light & Magic (famous for visual effects for Star Wars and other films), Skywalker Sound (post-production sound design), LucasArts video games and Lucasfilm Animation, of which Lucasfilm Animation Singapore opened its doors in 2005.

Other former prominent divisions included Pixar Animation Studios, the computer animation film production company famous for Toy Story and Monsters Inc., that was sold to Steve Jobs in 1986 and later became a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, way before Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm.

THX Ltd, the theatre sound system, was also created by Lucasfilm. It is still used in many of the best cinemas today.

Award-Winning Design

The Sandcrawler building, designed by Aedas Architecture, has received a Gold Plus Greenmark certification in Singapore and has won an impressive six architectural awards including the prestigious Chicago Athenaeum International Architecture Award for Best New Global Design.

It has a special two-part high-performance glass exterior that, in addition to energy-conservation qualities, makes it appear chrome-like yet allows natural daylight into the offices without the heat.

The building includes a 100-seat theatre, state-of-the-art digital production facilities and street-level retail space.

The Sandcrawler vehicle of the Jawas in Star Wars
The Sandcrawler vehicle of the Jawas in Star Wars
Photo: © 2014 Lucasfilm Ltd. All rights reserved.

No Tour

One big disappointment was that there wasn’t really a tour of the building and facilities. Guests were led to a room where a video on Lucasfilm’s CGI, special effects and some of its recent work on films was screened, followed by an update on Lucasfilm and the Sandcrawler building.

After that, we were led to an auditorium where guest of honour PM Lee, Kennedy and Lucas delivered their speeches.

Darth Vader was also present with several Stormtroopers to set the scene and to provide photo opportunities.

Apart from this, a Yoda statue was officially unveiled by PM Lee.

Films to Look out For

Upcoming films that Lucasfilm has worked on include the soon-to-be launched Lone Survivor, and Noah, Transformers 4 and The Avengers 2.

Other recent films included Pacific Rim, GI Joe: Retaliation, Battleship, Transformers: Dark of the Moon and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

The Sandcrawler is located at 1 Fusionopolis View, Singapore 138577.