The Official Star Wars Site confirmed the not-very-surprising news today: Star Wars film-making is returning to the United Kingdom, with production on Episode VII set to follow in the footsteps of its six Brit-friendly predecessors.
While the decision provides an element of continuity from the first six movies, it is likely related to the U.K. Film Tax Credit. According to the BBC, the British government offers tax relief on up to 80% of a film's U.K. production budget if at least 25% of the total production expenses occur within the U.K.
Check out the full announcement text below.
Star Wars Feature Film Production Returns to the U.K.
May 10, 2013
Lucasfilm announced today that production of Star Wars: Episode VII will take place in the United Kingdom. All of the six previous live-action Star Wars movies have included UK production in such famed studios as Elstree, Shepperton, Leavesden, Ealing and Pinewood Studios.
"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 utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that," said Kathleen Kennedy, President of Lucasfilm. "Speaking from my own longstanding 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."
Earlier this year, representatives from Lucasfilm met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in London to establish an agreement to produce Star Wars in the U.K. "I am delighted that Star Wars is coming back to Britain. 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," Osborne said today.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Michael Arndt and is scheduled for a 2015 release.