Abrams' 'Episode VII' to Shoot in UK, Inspired by 'Star Wars' Origins

May 11, 2013

Star Wars Hoth Set

Don't read too much into this, but there's a great quote from producer Kathleen Kennedy about their UK shooting plans that's worth a quick glance. The official Star Wars website posted a press release confirming that production on Star Wars: Episode VII, likely to begin early 2014, would take place in the United Kingdom. There's no new information or details revealed, but Kennedy does briefly mention the "origins of Star Wars" most likely as a reference to the original trilogy being shot at various UK studios like Elstree and Shepperton. We're still anxious for some actual details, but at least production plans are coming together.

Here's the full press release statement from (via SlashFilm) featuring a few new quotes from Lucasfilm's Kathleen Kennedy, who is heading the development of the new Star Wars saga and spin-offs.

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.

As pointed out, the original Star Wars movies had many sets and were filmed predominantly in the UK, so this isn't any surprise. As pointed out by SlashFilm, which studios they'll be shooting at aren't named yet. I think, or at least hope, that Kennedy's comment about the "origins of Star Wars as inspiration" pertains to the idea that they're going back to using sets, and mixing realism in with effects as much as possible, doing things like they did in the early days during the first Star Wars. If that's the case, even better. J.J. likes to build small set pieces for the actors to interact with and fill in the background with CGI, and that should work well for Star Wars without making it feel too much like the prequels. At least I'm hoping for the best.

Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams from a screenplay by Michael Arndt, scheduled for a 2015 release. We'll continue to keep you updated on all the latest Star Wars details and news as they arrive.

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  • michael
    bring it on .....real sets ,real puppets,real actors ,real FX mixed with a little creative with this one....
    • Nope. Massive amounts of cgi, space battles, lightsaber madness and lots of aliens.
      • Lautaro
        So true. Sadly, they will never release a Star Wars film R rated with intence violence, gore, and nudity, directed by an obscure and well respected director. I will kill to watch that.
        • That's why a zack Snyder one off is so necassary
    • mistermysteryguest
      Dream on.
  • RayJackson
    Great news. They really need to take a cue from the latest James Bond flick, Skyfall. They went back to the roots of franchise and the film was very well received.
    • Dogeffa
      Skyfall was the worst Bond film ever... So freakin' boring!
      • Agreed. It was by far the worst Bond with DC, IMO. Overrated.
        • Fidel Reyes
          I enjoyed it more than Quantum but I mean they went all dark and gritty on it, James Bond is supposed to be cunning, suave, charming, action packed(yeah it didn't have that much sequences) ,not Nolan styled.
        • Yea quantum was awful. Casino was the best obviously.
      • Lautaro
        Not at all, at least has a mood. The photo is great and the character is at least somewhat conflicted.
      • Bl00dwerK
        It wasn't the worst Bond film ever, let's get that out of the way, but it wasn't as good as alot of people said it was when it came out. It's not even Craig's best Bond (which is still Casino Royale). I don't even think it's better than Quantum of Solace...
        • mistermysteryguest
          I agree with you. QoS was better than Skyfall.
          • Yeah I fell asleep watching skyfall.
          • Bl00dwerK
            Yeah, man, I'm not sure where all the "hate" for QoS came from. Maybe because it was, basically, a continuation of Casino? I absolutely loved the ending scene with M and Bond. The way Marc Forster (sp?) shot the necklace, Bond walking away with M in the background, and then back to that shot of the necklace in the show? Love that shit...
  • Roleesun
    Please, more location shooting and less CG backdrops. There is something visceral about seeing actual deserts, glaciers and forests that CG cannot capture. Overuse of CG in Episodes 1, 2, and 3 made the films feel detached and flat.
    • RayJackson
      If you're into that sort of thing, have you seen Lawrence of Arabia (1962)? Shot all in the desert. Incredible cinematography. No effects.
  • William Anthony McGillivray
    man I hope they cut out as much cgi as possible.. More messed up hair...more dirt under the fingernails...more stop motion animation, puppets and the like. Make Star Wars look like it has been 'lived-in.' But above all...I hope they remember that it wasn't the budget that made Star Wars resonate with the world.
  • first star trek now star wars. not looking foward to this one either.
  • Richie G
    A lil off topic, but 'Into Darkness' was SOOO good, just saw it. I can't wait to see what he does with this. My girlfriend pointed out a plothole near the end though, bit jealous. 10 points to anyone who can guess it by the time Alex posts his review
    • George Caltsoudas
      Into Darkness had A LOT of plot holes.
  • I have faith in JJ as hes fan of the original movies, not the prequels. While i did not loved the first ST i thought it was soild. And JJ knows about pacing. It will be interesting for sure. And yes, real locations and i like the idea of a even more worn SW look then ANH had (or all of them for that matter). Most of all, make sure you have a GOOD SCRIPT.
    Great news. But really, he would have been "crucified" if he said the prequels were his inspirations.
  • VFX 1138
    LucasFilm also failed to mention that the VFX work will be done in London and not at ILM. They've already started to layoff the staff in San Francisco and telling them if they want to work on the new Star Wars films, they'll have to quit and move to London. They failed to tell them they need to apply at whatever VFX House gets awarded the project. But alas, the tax breaks are only viable if you hire the locals. That is not inspired like the original Star Wars films now is it.
    • Are you serious? No ILM? hmm. Maybe that's a good thing. Maybe a smaller company with more passion will do justice. Going back to the roots.
  • Pilgrim_UK
    Is this Abrams trying to woo all those disenchanted Star wars adults.
  • Ehsan Davodi
    I think JJ have a little problem in bringing depth to his characters . Thats hard for me but is true. Star Trek , MI3 , Super 8 was exciting but .... a little dry for me. He have skills in bringing tension on in his works without any doubt. I love STAR WARS (who doesn't if he is in love with cinema?!). I wish THE BEST for his cast & crew. For me Achilles' heel of this new segment is VILLAIN. Darth Vader is iconic eternal status in previous works, he is devil reincarnation. I loved him and hated him in same time. If this segment doesn't have perfect villain , movie collapse for me.




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