By Richard Verrier
5:06 PM PDT, May 10, 2013
The force is returning to Britain.
Disney-owned Lucasfilm announced Friday that production of "Star Wars: Episode VII" will take place in the United Kingdom, the latest example of a high-profile Hollywood movie filming outside California. Another big Disney movie, Marvel Studios' current release "Iron Man 3," filmed in North Carolina.
Britain provides rebates of up to 25%, making it an attractive destination for such big productions as the "Harry Potter" movies, "Clash of the Titans" and "Captain America: the First Avenger."
The "Star Wars" franchise has longstanding ties to Britain. All of the six previous live-action Star Wars movies have filmed scenes in the U.K. at such renowned studios as Shepperton 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 U.K. for production and utilizing the incredible talent there can be a part of that," Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm, said in a statement. "Speaking from my own longstanding connection to the U.K. with films like 'Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'Empire of the Sun' and recently 'War Horse,' it's very exciting to be heading back."
Representatives from Lucasfilm met with the chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, in London this year to establish an agreement to produce "Star Wars" in the U.K.
"I am delighted that 'Star Wars' is coming back to Britain," Osborne said. "Today's announcement that the next 'Star Wars' film will be shot and produced in the U.K. is great news for fans and our creative industries."
"Star Wars: Episode VII" will be directed by J.J. Abrams, with a screenplay by Michael Arndt, and is scheduled for a 2015 release.
After acquiring Lucasfilm last year for $4 billion, Disney announced this year that it will release a new "Star Wars" film every year starting in 2015, with "Episode VII" the first installment in a planned trilogy. Disney also is releasing two stand-alone "Star Wars" films that are not part of the overall saga.
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