'Star Wars: Episode VII' to be filmed in the UK, confirms LucasFilm

Chancellor George Osborne 'absolutely delighted' at news...

Star Wars: Episode VII will be filmed in the UK, LucasFilm has confirmed.

The BBC reports that Chancellor George Osborne met executives from LucasFilm - which is now owned by Disney - earlier this year to discuss plans to shoot the much-anticipated next instalment of the classic sci-fi series in the UK. It is also thought that the production will be eligible for a tax break.

Speaking about the decision, Osborne said he was "absolutely delighted" that the franchise would be returning to Britain after previous Star Wars movies were filmed in UK studios including Elstree, Shepperton and Leavesden. Production on the seventh film in the series will start next year.

"I think it is a real vote of confidence in Britain's creative industries and a big movie like that - one of the most famous, perhaps the most famous movie franchise in the world - brings with it not just jobs for actors and directors and so on, but for all the other people who have put together an enormous movie," he said.

The politician - who also revealed that Han Solo was his favourite Star Wars character - said the news was "clear evidence" that working in the UK was an attractive proposition for film studios.

LucasFilm president Kathleen 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."

Disney has slated Star Wars: Episode VII for release in 2015 and hired Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt to write the script. JJ Abrams will direct and co-produce, while original cast members Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill have all hinted that that they are likely to be returning for Episode VII. Earlier this month (May), Abrams confirmed that usual Star Wars composer John Williams is clear frontrunner to write the score.

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