In its original blank state, an observatory in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany was practically begging for a Star Wars-themed paint job. It was already the perfect shape for its transformation into one of the space epic’s most beloved characters; all it took was a fresh coat of white and a few new blue markings.
Hubert Zitt, an electrotechnology professor at the Zweibrücken University of Applied Sciences, was already known for injecting his lectures with a little pop culture flavor when he decided to take on the project. He’s spent the last few decades traveling the world, speaking at sci-fi conventions on the scientific realism (or lack thereof) in fictional worlds. He even has a class called “The Physics of Star Trek,” where he explores such topics as the feasibility of beaming and warp-drive technologies.
So it’s no surprise that, upon considering how to bring more visitors to the observatory, his first thought was an R2D2 paint job. Zitt brought together a team of volunteer painters, including his father and some of his students, to complete the transformation in late 2018.
Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, brought attention to the project on Twitter, rewriting Laughing Squid’s headline to make sure those responsible know they’re massive nerds.
As you might imagine, the scheme worked, going viral on American and European media and drawing in Star Wars fans from lands (if not galaxies) far, far away.