It’s every little potential Sith Lord’s (or lady’s) dream to have their own Death Star to call home. And, if they are very lucky, sometimes they can make their dreams a reality.
Mike Dillon from Dillon Works and Eric Ward from Definitive Audio count themselves as some of the few to have ever constructed such a project.
Back in 2001, they were commissioned to build a Death Star home theater, featuring the hundreds of Star Wars memorabilia pieces the client had collected over the years — and this month, it became a sensation online, when aslideshow went viral on sites like Buzzfeed.
The plans had been drawn up by Doug Chiang, the design director for Lucasfilm on Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones. All the teams had to do was make it reality. Dillon Works was in charge of the design and installation of the piece. Owner Dillon said his crew watched the films over and over again for inspiration, but it helped that some of the crew were Star Wars fanatics themselves. Plus, the client had specific instructions for their dream theater.
“One important aspect was that the client didn’t want the automatic doors to make a ‘whooshing’ sound because that happens in Star Trek — not Star Wars,” Dillon told Metro World News by email.
A Carbonite replica of Han Solo is placed on one of the walls and posters of all the Star Wars films greet moviegoers. Dillion’s team even gave the walkways more depth to make it more realistic.
“In the lobby we made walkways that were raised off of the floor,” he explained.
“On the floor and ceiling along the sides we installed mirrors. The result is the illusion that the walls seem to go on further giving, the impression like it would look on the Death Star.”
While they wouldn’t disclose the price, Dillon Works said that it wouldn’t be unusual for a project of this magnitude to run between $250,000 and $1 million, not including the audio/visual components.
To make sure the theater had the perfect equipment, Ward — Definitive Audio’s director of business development — and his group installed top-notch technology. They periodically return to the home to upgrade the equipment — for example, they recently installed a Blu-ray player — but the initial work remains the same. All together, he estimated that the equipment cost $1 million dollars, including $165,000 each for the front left and right speakers.
“It’s crazy,” he said. “Even the theaters are catching on, but it has way better sound systems, digital equipment and digital projectors than what’s out there.”
Ward is used to doing things like hiding speakers behind panels, so they did some neat tricks like creating a projector lift into the ceiling in a separate projection room to hide the equipment.
But, the client decided they liked the exposed speaker look for the theater. The challenge came with trying to fit everything in the room, especially because the walls curved.
Ward is confident that the speakers have stood the test of time and sound better than most theaters, calling the viewing experience in the room “phenomenal.”
“The client liked the equipment,” Ward said. “So, we had to make it look good. Then we had to make it sound good.”