Now that Star Wars: The Force Awakens has officially wrapped and been given a title, the next sequel Star Wars: Episode VIII and the first Untitled Spin-Off are starting to seriously heat up. Pinewood Studios Chief Executive Ivan Dunleavy has confirmed this morning in a far-reaching key-note speech that Lucasfilm will return to Pinewood in Shepperton for another franchise installment, though he did not say which movie was locked in.
"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."
Dealine claims that Ivan Dunleavy is referring to Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is being written and directed by Rian Johnson. The Hollywood Reporter, on the other hand, go onto confirm from sources within the studio that it is actually the Untitled Gareth Edwards Directed Star Wars Spin-Off that is confirmed to shoot next. This makes more sense, since it set to be the next movie shot for release in summer 2017. Which ever movie is being referred to, its likely that both films will shoot at the Shepperton location.
R2-D2 was a guest at the Confederation of British Industry this morning, where the announcement was made. The droid took to the stage while the news was confirmed by Ivan Dunleavy. Dunleavy also addressed how important films like Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Star Wars: Episode VIII are to the British economy, with the creative industries employing over 2 million people and bringing in over $111 billion to the U.K. economy. He stated:
"What's really interesting about Pinewood is that when you brush away the stardust, what you find underneath is essentially a manufacturing business. But quite a special manufacturing business."
Ivan Dunleavy has recently overseen Pinewood's international expansion into North America, in Atlanta, and Asia, in Malaysia.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens which was directed by J.J. Abrams, shot at Pinewood's Shepperton Studio as well as on location in Abu Dhabi and Iceland. Pinewood Shepperton will next serve as the home base for Bond 24, with Daniel Craig set to reprise 007.