Forget a Galaxy Far Away: Pinewood Studios is Star Wars Episode VIII’s Home

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Photo: Lucasfilm

 

The dust has barely settled and the wrap party is only slowly winding down for Star Wars: The Force Awakens filming and already Pinewood Studios is looking towards its next big project. Luckily for them, it’s another Star Wars film.

“The seventh ‘Star Wars’ movie just finished shooting at Pinewood. And I’m delighted to be able to tell you that a new ‘Star Wars’ movie is already booked in,” Pinewood Shepperton CEO Ivan Dunleavy said earlier this week.

While it was already announced at the beginning of the summer that the first Star Wars standalone film, set to be directed by Gareth Edwards and penned by Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli), would be calling Pinewood home during production next year, Dunleavy had the honour of revealing that Episode VIII would also be taking up residence at the UK-based production facility.

Flanked by the fan favourite droid, R2D2, who delivered Dunleavy’s script for the presentation to him, Dunleavy announced that “R2D2 was built in the UK 37 years ago. Since then, he’s spent a lot of his life in foreign studios. But now he’s back home.” Is this a hint that R2D2 will survive to help pilot a starship for another day?

R2D2 is one of a handful of characters that has appeared in all six Star Wars films to date (others include C-3PO and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader) and returns for Episode VII. Pinewood Studios has a long history with the Star Wars franchise, and it’s great to see this continue with Episode VIII. There has been no date announced for when production will commence at Pinewood, but with Episode VIII due in cinemas in 2017, work on the film is unlikely to start until 2016.

Speaking at the annual conference of the Confederation of British Industry, Dunleavy championed the British creative industries and their vital role in maintaining a thriving British economy. Along with the two new Star Wars projects, he also announced that the next James Bond film will also be shot at the studio. However, he warned that the government cannot become complacent about the current boom in film and television production in the country. “If we want to keep R2D2 and his friends here, then we need to see sustained government action to keep U.K. film a thriving and fast-growing industry, an industry to do Britain proud.”

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is due in cinemas December 18, 2015.

 

Clare Sidoti
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