LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Filming of the new "Star Wars" movie will take place in England, returning the franchise to its British roots, Disney's Lucasfilm said on Friday.
"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 Kennedy, Lucasfilm president, said in a statement.
The six previous "Star Wars" films were all partly filmed in the UK at famed studios including Pinewood, Elstree and Shepperton.
Disney announced three new "Star Wars" films in October 2012, when it purchased George Lucas' Lucasfilm company for $4.05 billion.
The news was welcomed by the British finance minister, George Osborne, who tweeted on Friday: "Great news for our creative industries. May the force be with us."
"Star Wars: Episode VII" will be made by director J.J. Abrams, and will further boost the British film industry that has been regenerated by the popular James Bond and Harry Potter film franchises.
The "Star Wars" franchise has grossed more than $4.4 billion at the worldwide box office since the first film was released in 1977.
"Star Wars: Episode VII' is scheduled to be released in 2015.
(Reporting By Piya Sinha-Roy, Editing by Jill Serjeant and Peter Cooney)