THE next Star Wars film is to be made in the UK it has been announced.
Confirming the move, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said she was “delighted that Star Wars is coming back to Britain”.
Due to start production next year and be in cinemas in 2015, the much-anticipated seventh episode of the series is being directed by Emmy award-winning JJ Abrams.
Chancellor George Osborne hailed the announcement as a fresh coup for British tax breaks and took to Twitter yesterday to reveal the decision, joking: “May the force be with us...”
Kennedy said: “We’ve devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie, and I’m thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilising the incredible talent there can be a part of that. Speaking from my own long-standing connection to the UK with films like Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Empire Of The Sun and recently War Horse, it’s very exciting to be heading back.”
Lucasfilm representatives met Osborne earlier this year to work on a deal to make the film in this country. In a statement yesterday, Osborne said the announcement was “great news for fans and our creative industries, and is clear evidence that our incentives are attracting the largest studios back to the UK.”
He added: “I am personally committed to seeing more great films and television made in Britain.”
All six previous Star Wars movies have included UK production. Parts of previous films were shot in studios steeped in British cinematic history, including Elstree, Shepperton, Ealing, Leavesden and Pinewood Studios.
Star Wars: Episode VII is being scripted by Toy Story 3 writer Michael Amdt and directed by Abrams, who was behind TV’s Lost and was also picked to revive the Star Trek franchise. The director has been described as the “ideal choice” by Star Wars creator George Lucas. Lucasfilm was bought last year by Disney for £2.7 billion.