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Story by Courtney Brockman ’17
When Alison Fisker left UM in 2002 with her communication studies degree in hand, she never dreamed she would one day be working for the entertainment company that owns “Star Wars.”
“I’m actually sitting here looking at my diploma and the beautiful picture of Main Hall that I have framed in my office,” Fisker says from San Francisco. “UM gave me the education and skills I needed to embark on a career in public relations, and 15 years later, I’m here at Lucasfilm overseeing corporate communications.”
An online job search led Fisker to Lucasfilm two and a half years ago, and she now manages all company communications for its thousands of employees. From planning traditional annual events to representing Lucasfilm at Star Wars Celebration and other major fan gatherings, Fisker has been a Force at the company.
What is it like to help bring “Star Wars” to a new generation with “Rogue One” and “The Force Awakens?” I almost don’t know how to describe it. I came to Lucasfilm the year before we launched “The Force Awakens.” That was the first movie we launched with Disney, so it was exciting, and obviously the whole world was excited. I felt lucky to be inside the company and be a part of such an epic movie release. Every day we would just shatter records – every sort of box office and theatrical record.
But it’s pretty spectacular to see the evolution. “Star Wars,” when I was growing up, was really just kind of for boys, or at least just my brother or my young guy friends that were into “Star Wars.” And I feel like there’s a new generation of “Star Wars” fans that are girls. We have these amazing, strong characters like Rey and Jyn and some of the other characters that little girls can look up to. And it’s a nice change from Disney princesses.
Have you met George Lucas? How would you describe him? I have been at several events where George has been – “The Force Awakens” premiere and Star Wars Celebration – and I see him around the building sometimes (he is our landlord now). He’s a very quiet, but funny guy. He doesn’t play into all of the hype. He’s very down to earth.
I’ve really only met him once, and it was a special occasion. We were hosting a Make-A-Wish kid at Skywalker Ranch, and George just happened to be in the office that day, so we surprised the boy with a tour of George’s office – which is off-limits to all guests – and a meet-and-greet with George. The boy and his family were speechless. It nearly brought me to tears. George was so kind and asked the boy a few questions, showed him where he does his writing and some special “Star Wars” items in his office. He was so gracious. The boy idolizes George and asked him so many great questions in return. It was really special to see them bond over “Star Wars.”
So you help plan the Summer Picnic? The Summer Picnic was something that George Lucas started almost 40 years ago, and it started off very, very small. It was a potluck, and you had to bring a salad. It has now grown into one of our biggest annual traditions, and people look forward to it every year. We get to go to Skywalker Ranch, which George owns, so I help plan that. It’s a time when employees get to bring their families and just kind of celebrate everything that we do.
What makes “Star Wars” fans so unique? I don’t get to work directly with our fans all that often, but I do attend Star Wars Celebration, which is our annual fan convention, and I’m always so impressed with the level of dedication the fans put into their costumes for the show. I had no idea the level of detail and intricacy they put into their cosplays. It’s impressive. I also love seeing families all dressed up in “Star Wars” costumes – multigenerational fans. We have a tattoo booth at Celebration, and they’re busy all weekend cranking out “Star Wars” tattoos for fans. Now that is serious dedication. (I do not have a “Star Wars” tattoo, by the way). Fans fly from all around the world to attend Celebration, which is a three- to four-day event. That can’t be cheap year after year, but they look forward to it.
Do you have a favorite “Star Wars” movie? I love “A New Hope,” Episode Four. I just love the kind of vintage classic feel of that movie and young Han Solo and Princess Leia. I think that’s probably always going to be my favorite, and it’s the first one I ever saw. But now with the new generation and having worked on “Rogue One,” I think “Rogue One” is probably my latest favorite. It also just happens to be the movie my name is in the credits, so that was a really special moment. And I just feel really proud of that movie.