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New 'Star Wars: Episode VII' To Be Filmed In England

posted 11 May 2013, 11:59 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 11 May 2013, 12:00 ]

Filming of the new 'Star Wars' movie will take place in England, returning the franchise to its British roots, says Disney's Lucas film.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIAUNITED STATES  (REUTERS) - Filming of the new "Star Wars" movie will take place in England, returning the franchise to its British roots, Disney's Lucasfilm has confirmed.

The six previous "Star Wars" films were all partly made in the UK at famed studios including Pinewood, Elstree, Shepperton and Leavesden, north of London, home to the Harry Potter movies.

Disney announced three new "Star Wars" films in October 2012, when it purchasedGeorge LucasLucasfilm company for $4.05 billion (2.6 billion pounds). It is rumoured Luke Skywalker, played by Mark Hamill, could return in the new movies.

The news that the film would be shot in England was welcomed by the British Chancellor George Osborne.

It will further boost the British film industry that has been regenerated by the popular James Bond and Harry Potter franchises.

"I got personally involved in trying to persuade the Lucasfilms to bring Star Wars to the UK so I am absolutely delighted," he said.

However, Mr Osborne was unable to resist a Star Wars-related joke, adding, "You know, it looks like the force is strong with this one."

"Star Wars: Episode VII" will be made by director J.J. Abrams, who is fresh from directing the latest Star Trek movie.

"I feel very lucky to be involved in these things that are much bigger than any of us, that have pre-existed my involvement for decades so I feel like a very lucky tenant in an existing house... or two houses that I go back and forth between," he said.

By coincidence, a Star Wars convention was taking place in the eastern English city of Norwich on Saturday (May 11), with several delegates parading through the streets in full costume.

While over at the London sci-fi store Forbidden Planet, bosses said Star Wars products and figures had remained among their most popular down the decades.

"Well I think a lot of people will see this as a return of Star Wars, and for a shop like Forbidden Planet Star Wars has never been away. The genius that the Lucasorganisation has always shown with Star Wars is that everything has always existed in a timeline so all of the books, all of the comics, the video games, all weave together. The films are just six, and now nine, blips on a massive timeline across a massive galaxy, so it's never been away in that respect for us," said Jim Harrison from the store.

The "Star Wars" franchise has grossed more than $4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1977.

"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,"Kathleen KennedyLucasfilm president, said in a statement.

"Star Wars: Episode VII' is scheduled to be released in 2015.