“A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away....” Well this time not that far away. I am still in shock, I can’t believe it, bloody hell, Star Wars is coming to Dubrovnik.
A few years ago I was told by an Austrian tourist that it would be a good idea to install one of those large Hollywood signs on the Srd hillside. It was an idea that was a little off the wall, but if we continue like this then we will soon need one. Game of Thrones has opened so many doors for us, and it can be argued that Star Wars is just another opening. Who would ever have dreamt that Star Wars would be filmed in Dubrovnik?
It was the first ever film that I dragged my mother to the cinema to watch, it was 1977 and I was seven years old. About the only thing that I can remember from that first trip to the cinema, well apart from my first taste of popcorn, was the opening sequence of the film, you know when the words disappear into space. And now 39 years later Star Wars is coming to me.
When the story first broke I thought it must be April Fool’s Day. As I delved more into the story it soon became clear that I was one of the last people to know. Of course everyone at a governmental level denied it. They had no choice; they had all signed a contract of silence that would mean them having a rusty knife pushed through their heart if they gave away any details. But the more I brought up the story the more people crawled out of the woodwork. It soon became clear that it was the worst kept secret in town.
Already there are Star Wars fanatics on the internet guessing what scenes Dubrovnik will act in the movie. If you thought that Game of Thrones fans were dedicated you are in for another shock with the Star Wars geeks. “What planet could Dubrovnik represent? Parts of it make me think of Naboo,” – “I bet that Dubrovnik will be the planet Del Toro's character is from,” - “I think that Dubrovnik will mostly likely be yet another new planet. Perhaps where the KOR are currently based?” These are just a taste on the Star Wars forums...and believe me there are hundreds of these forums.
I would not be surprised if they started to speculate that Orlando will be cast as C-3PO or that St. Blaise will be the new Joda. It is going to be another fun ride. From King's Landing to the Death Star, from historic drama to sci-fi, seems like the force certainly is with Dubrovnik. Maybe they will land the Millennium Falcon on the Stradun.
And just think of the tourism possibilities. The Game of Thrones factor has been colossal. In 2015 the second most numerous tourists in Dubrovnik were from the USA. Now that fact probably wouldn’t be so surprising if we were talking about Rome, Paris or London, but Dubrovnik, or even Croatia, doesn’t have any flights to the US. Without any direct flights to and from the US we still managed to attract a huge number of American tourists, thanks mainly to the Game of Thrones. Now imagine the Star Wars impact on the city. That figure of American tourists from last year will soon double. We will soon be one of the most important film destinations on the planet.
The tourism publicity is quite frankly mammoth and the marketing is priceless. We already have half a dozen Game of Thrones souvenir shops in town; all they need to do is change the logos of the shops windows to Star Wars and the business will continue to roll.
It begs the question – what next? It seems like the sky is the limit. For after Star Wars has filmed here you can bet your last Kuna that the flood gates will open for more production companies to come. “Star Wars is fun, it’s exciting, it’s inspirational, and people respond to that. It's what they want,” once wrote the Star Wars creator George Lucas. It is exactly want we want Mr. Lucas…thanks.