Lucasfilm and Disney confirm May start for new Star Wars film at Pinewood Studios
Lucasfilm and parent company Disney have confirmed that filming for Star Wars: Episode VII will start at Pinewood Studios in the UK in May this year. The UK was first confirmed as the main filming location in May 2013.
Director JJ Abrams has since revealed that he would have preferred to film on location in California, but the decision to shoot Star Wars in the UK was confirmed before he came onto the project.
Star Wars is a major loss for the California production industry, but the shift away from Los Angeles was inevitable as California's filming incentive does not currently support big-budget production. Abrams covered additional production costs himself to keep Star Trek Into Darkness in California and is reportedly planning to undertake parts of Star Wars’ post-production process in Los Angeles.
A casting call sent out in November last year suggested that New Mexico may have been chosen as an additional filming location for the new movie. New Mexico's desert environments could be suitable settings for the alien planet of Tatooine - a central part of the Star Wars universe - and the state offers generous filming tax credits. Tunisia famously stood in for hero Luke Skywalker’s home planet in the first Star Wars in 1977.
Star Wars is a major loss for the California production industry, but the shift away from Los Angeles was inevitable.
The original Star Wars trilogy was based at Elstree Studios in London, but George Lucas shifted production to Australia for his three prequel films that started shooting in 1997.
In the years since, formal filming incentives have become an even more integral component of where big-budget features choose to shoot and the UK has established itself as one of the world’s top hubs for Hollywood production.
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