Yoda Fountain

San Francisco, California (CA)

Yoda Fountain: honouring one of the greatest Jedi Masters of the Star Wars universe.

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- Niall Kennedy

Discovering the Yoda Fountain

In the courtyard of the LucasFilm headquarters, outside the Letterman Digital Arts Center in San Francisco's Presidio, one can find a bronze fountain. But this isn’t just any fountain, it's the Yoda Fountain, dedicated to Jedi Master Yoda, loved by Star Wars fans for his teachings and unparalleled wisdom.

Access to the lobby of Lucasfilm, George Lucas's renowned film production company, is restricted. However, visitors can still admire the Yoda Fountain from outside Building B, which houses Lucasfilm Ltd., Industrial Light and Magic, LucasArts, and the George Lucas Educational Foundation.

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- Emmet Connolly

Creating the Yoda Fountain

In 2005, the Yoda Fountain, a bronze sculpture of the wise Jedi master, was unveiled to the delight of Star Wars fans worldwide. Located just off Letterman Drive in front of the Letterman Center’s Building B, the fountain quickly came to represent Lucasfilm itself, instigating regular Star Wars pilgrimages from far and wide to the Letterman Digital Arts Center.

The Yoda sculpture was crafted by sculptor Lawrence Noble, who shares a professional relationship with Lucasfilm, dating back to 1980. Noble had been commissioned to produce a poster concept for "The Empire Strikes Back." Although his initial poster concept did not include Yoda, seeing the film for the first time left a lasting impression on Noble.

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- Maxence

"Seeing Yoda on the screen for the first time was intoxicating... it was like he was sending a personal message to me to take my work up another level."

Noble.

Seated beside his friend John Alvin, Noble was captivated by Yoda’s character, brought to life through Frank Oz's skilled puppet-work. This fascination led to the production of an 8-inch tall clay model of Yoda, in 1990. Initially offered as a promotional gift to members of the Official Lucasfilm Fan Club, the model caught the attention of Sidney Ganis, then-marketing chief at the company.

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- James Jeffrey

Nurturing Noble's Fascination with Yoda

Recognising his potential, Ganis encouraged Noble to pursue the project further and so Noble transformed the small model into a limited-edition bronze sculpture. Lucasfilm licensee Kilian Enterprises then produced 50 limited edition bronze replicas, which cost $550 each and became highly sought-after collectibles among fans.

"I am honoured to have Master Yoda accompany me on my journey through life and art."

Noble.

After his initial success Noble began taking on larger commissions, including the life-size Yoda sculpture that would eventually sit atop the Yoda Fountain. He also went on to create other culturally important sculptures, such as one of Eadweard Muybridge, the pioneer of motion photography, and Philo Farnsworth, the inventor of television.

"George Lucas tapped into something very primal, and that has given me the energy to do what I do."

Noble.

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- Scott Beale

The Yoda Fountain Today

Years after its installation, the Yoda Fountain remains a cherished landmark within the 17 acres of beautiful parkland open to the public, at the Letterman Digital Arts Center. Visitors flock to the fountain for photo opportunities, to make wishes for good luck, and to ‘feel the force’ that Yoda exudes.

Although the Lucasfilm headquarters is not open to the public, the exterior is worth exploring. The building’s architecture is impressive, and the lobby, visible through the large glass windows, displays Star Wars memorabilia and artwork, including Stormtroopers, and other Star Wars themed items, costumes, and props!

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- David Beach

Exploring the Surroundings

While the Yoda Fountain itself is a major draw, the surrounding area offers plenty of activities to fill your afternoons. San Francisco is home to many walking trails, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints. After visiting the fountain, take a stroll through the park, enjoy a picnic, or explore the many historic buildings and museums nearby. Or head out to the edge of the world (it seems) and visit Lands End Labyrinth and Sutro Baths.

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- Patrick Buechner

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our San Francisco Scavenger Hunts- untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of San Francisco and beyond!

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