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Star Wars: Episode VII to be filmed in UK
The latest Star Wars film is to be made in the UK, producer Lucasfilm has said. The seventh movie in the sci-fi series is due to start production next year and is scheduled for release in 2015.
Chancellor George Osborne met executives from Disney-owned Lucasfilm in London earlier this year to discuss the plans and the production is thought to be eligible for a tax break.
In a statement, Kathleen Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, 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.”
The company said representatives from Lucasfilm met with Mr Osborne “to establish an agreement to produce Star Wars in the UK”.
Mr Osborne said: “Today’s announcement that the next Star Wars film will be shot and produced in the UK is great news for fans and our creative industries, and it is clear evidence that our incentives are attracting the largest studios back to the UK.
“I am personally committed to seeing more great films and television made in Britain.”
In recent years hundreds of films have benefitted from tax relief, which require that at least 25% of the total production expenditure takes place in the UK. Relief can be claimed on production expenditure in the UK, up to a maximum of 80% of the total budget.
Disney announced it would be making three new Star Wars films after it purchased Lucasfilm, the company started by Star Wars creator George Lucas, in October 2012. Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by JJ Abrams, from a script by Little Miss Sunshine writer Michael Arndt.
The six films in the series have grossed more than £2.8bn ($4.4bn) at the worldwide box office.
Pinewood and Ealing studios were also used for production of previous Star Wars films.
Filming on previous Star Wars also took place in Britain at studios including Elstree, Shepperton and Leavesden.
The 1977 original, the Empire Strikes Back in 1980 and Return of the Jedi in 1983 were shot at UK studios, as well as on location across the world.
The series was revived in 1999 for three prequels. Studio production on the Phantom Menace took place at Leavesden studios in Hertfordshire, with Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith filmed in both the UK and Australia.
Lucasfilm has not confirmed where the new film would be made but Star Wars fans website Jedinews has speculated that Pinewood studios may be one of the sites.
Earlier this month, the Sun newspaper also reported that scenes would be shot in the Highlands and the Isle of Skye.