You have to admire their proactive approach, this is not a “wait and see” view this is more like a “strike whilst the iron is hot” tactic. As soon as news broke, well rumours broke, that the eighth episode of Star Wars was to be partly filmed in Dubrovnik the whole city was talking about nothing else. But rather than just gossiping a couple of bright sparks in the city were already thinking outside of the box. They scooped up the domain “starwarsdubrovnik.com” and created a blog of Star Wars news and rumours for Dubrovnik.
“Basically the first idea came from Zeljko Erak, who is also involved in the project, and he came to me with the idea of starting a Dubrovnik based Star Wars website,” explained the editor of the site Bozidar Jukic to The Dubrovnik Times. The initial plan was to create a small, fan website and when once the filming started to follow the events as they unfolded. However in a short space of time the website, and associated social media sites, exploded as lovers of the Star Wars franchise from all over the world saw the opportunity to get news from the front line.
“I am a fan from a very early age. I grew up religiously watching the first three episodes. I succeeded in wearing out these early VHS video tapes that my father brought me very quickly,” said Jukic. How surprised was he to find that Dubrovnik was chosen as a location for the next Star Wars in the series? “Extremely, I couldn’t imagine in a million years that I would see Star Wars filming in my city.”
As the rumours rolled like an avalanche the pair soon discovered that they were in the middle of an exclusive story. The blog almost filled itself as international fan websites and forums started speculating on the possible scenes and locations. Rumours turned into hard facts and renowned news portals started digging for more information, the Star Wars in Dubrovnik bandwagon was rolling along at breakneck speed.
Bozidar Jukic - I grew up religiously watching the first three episodes
“I am not a journalist, nor do I try to be, this isn’t a news website it is a fan blog. Dubrovnik is a small town and lots of the information about Star Wars is going to be circulated no matter how hard they try to keep a lid on it. Of course people closely connected to the production have all signed contracts of silence; however rumours in any small town will spread like wildfire. We don’t push for information but a lot of information comes our way,” said Jukic. Adding that they don’t publish all of the information that comes their way and that they always respect their sources.
Of course there is lots of speculation, its Star Wars after all, so the blog has already had a healthy amount of hits and the social media sites are growing on a daily basis. Will Star Wars have the same positive influence of Dubrovnik’s tourism as the HBO Game of Thrones serial did? Jukic seems confident that the Star Wars effect will be even bigger. “Of course the Game of Thrones has had a huge sway on Dubrovnik’s tourism industry, especially in the American market, however the potential of Star Wars is way more than Game of Thrones. It depends on many factors, such as how recognizable Dubrovnik is when seen on screen, but the potential is enormous.”
The lasting results of Star Wars in Dubrovnik remain to be seen, “we love Dubrovnik and we love Star Wars, so of course we want to brag about the production coming here,” concluded Jukic. The force has certainly awakened these Dubrovnik bloggers.