Star Wars standalone film to be shot in UK

George Osborne with JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy and R2-D2

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The first Star Wars standalone movie will be filmed in the UK next year, it has been confirmed.

The film, to be helmed by British director Gareth Edwards, will be shot at Pinewood Studios - where Star Wars: Episode VII is currently in production.

It will be one of two spin-offs built around existing characters from the Star Wars universe and developed alongside the new trilogy.

The as-yet untitled movie is due in cinemas on 16 December 2016.

Chancellor George Osborne made the announcement during an Episode VII set visit at Pinewood.

Confirming the news on Twitter, he wrote: "On set of Episode VII tonight, can announce another #StarWars film will be made in UK. A #LongTermEconomicPlan in a galaxy far far away."

The chancellor also posted a picture of himself with Episode VII director JJ Abrams, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy and character R2-D2.

Tax incentives

Mr Osborne said the decision to shoot Episode VII in the UK was "testament to the incredible talent in Britain" and meant "more jobs and more investment".

"The further changes the government made to the film tax relief at Budget 2014 will support our highly skilled, innovative creative sectors so that they continue to thrive and encourage more films to be made in the UK."

Lucasfilm's Kennedy said: "The UK crew that we're working with on Star Wars: Episode VII is incredible.

"They're among the most gifted and passionate when it comes to film and storytelling. Star Wars couldn't be in better hands."

A Treasury spokesman said the UK gives 25% tax relief on the first £20m of qualifying film expenditure, and 20% thereafter.

Investment in UK-based film production in 2013 was more than £1bn, an increase of 14% on the previous year, he added.

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