back to article The Force of tax breaks brings Star Wars filming to Blighty

The first Star Wars standalone film will be shot in Blighty in 2015, the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced. Osborne was on the London-based set of Star Wars Episode VII at Pinewood Studios last night, where he tweeted that the first of the movies being made alongside the new trilogy would also be …

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  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Joke

    Missed caption opportunity

    "JJ Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, George Osborne and R2D2. Spot the android."

  2. Suricou Raven

    Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    But mostly filmed in front of a green screen.

  3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    NO! Enough of the dead sets lovingly shooped in in which actors who do not know what they are supposed to be enact movements and monologues of stultefying woodenness.

  4. wowfood

    Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    I find it far too much with more recent films. Sometimes a green screen is used and it's not overly noticable, normally because they blur the background to buggery. But so many times now you can tell instantly in films they're stood in front of a green screen, it just doesn't look good.

  5. Neil B

    Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    @wowfood It's usually only "noticeable" because those backgrounds can't possibly be there, so your brain recognises they must be fake. But how many times have you not realised there's a green screen there, when there was?

  6. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    "But mostly filmed in front of a green screen."

    Well that got us the Harry Potter Studio Tour (eye-wateringly expensive, but great fun if you enjoyed the HP films). It would be nice to think that we'd end up with Star Wars World, where we could ooh and ahhh at all the sets, animatronics, props and such like for Stars Wars. Maybe take it a step further, and offer experiences like fighting a bad tempered Princess Leia in a wet rubbish hopper (mmm...there's a pleasant thought).

    Sadly I suppose they've long since lost all the props that were used in Star Wars and it's far too late.

  7. RoninRodent

    Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    Normally I would have agreed with you but so far we have seen shots of a Millennium Falcon model and some form of giant rat-beast so there may be less green screen and more scale models than we are assuming.

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/07/29/star-wars-episode-7-to-see-less-cgi-and-more-models-and-real-droids-3902277/

    http://www.tmz.com/2014/06/03/star-wars-episode-7-millennium-falcon-set-photos/

    http://www.tmz.com/2014/06/02/star-wars-episode-7-set-photos-secret-pics-new-creature/

  8. Dan 55 Silver badge

    Re: Filmed in the UK for the tax breaks,

    ... and what usually happens is the studio chooses the cheapest country (tax breaks) and sfx shop (fixed price) at this moment, the taxpayer ends up subsidising the sfx shop, the studio makes the profits magically disappear (see Life of Pi), and the cycle repeats.

  9. VeganVegan
    Thumb Up

    fighting Princess Leia in a wet rubbish hopper

    who is wearing nothing but a wookie skin

    http://cdn3.designbyhumans.com/product_images/b334r5s7ta7jake573-900x900-b-p.jpg

  10. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Re: fighting Princess Leia in a wet rubbish hopper

    "who is wearing nothing but a wookie skin"

    Mmmmm. That sounded even better. Until I followed the link. No problems with her clad in nowt but a wookie skin, but leaving the face on could put me off my stroke.

  11. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    Odd synchronicity

    I heard this last night whilst Episode II was playing on the TV, at the point where they were railroaded into voting the Chancellor (Palpatine, not Osborne) extra powers and he's going on about how he's going to use them to create an army and whatnot.

    It made me chuckle at the perfect timing and synchronicity of it all. And it also nicely distracted from Jar Jar Binks, which never hurts in those movies...

    You can make your own jokes at this point about evil Chancellors :)

  12. David Webb

    Meh

    We have studios, tax incentives and talent, both in front of and behind the camera, which are amongst the very best in the world

    Of course, we only have them because we import them due to tax relief, so really it's the huge studios in the US which earn the billions of dollars, but that's okay, no one will notice!

  13. asdf Silver badge

    Re: Meh

    Yeah certain states in the US do the same thing with the tax breaks and realize often times in the race to the bottom it ends up costing the state more money than if they never came at all (due to extra infrastructure needed such as police, etc). Still as a Yank I will say at least when it comes to stage and screen acting wise the Brits hold their own against any other country in the world.

  14. Tom 35 Silver badge

    Re: Meh

    But they will not make any profit, so no Tax in the US anyway.

  15. Tom 13

    Re: we import them due to tax relief

    Hollywood doesn't make movies in Hollywood anymore. It's too damned expensive because of all the taxes. Vancouver and Montreal seem to be the preferred location at the moment.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tax breaks for immigrants

    Someone call Farage!

  17. TRT Silver badge

    Re: Tax breaks for immigrants

    Imagine the look on his face when he sees all those aliens wandering around West London.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Star Wars coming home

    After all, the original was made here. I was a member of the same Motorcycle club as Pete Mayhew who played Chewie. (Mighty South London TOMCC)

  19. TRT Silver badge

    Re: Star Wars coming home

    I'm dying for him to write an autobiography called "My Wookiebookie"

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they are bringing it back to the UK because the UK was where they filmed the studio scenes in the first 6 movies and the Tax break was just icing on the cake.

  21. TRT Silver badge

    Nah, it's all BoJo's fault.

    When he wasn't allowed to deploy his water canons on the streets of West London he told his aid to call in the stormtroopers.

  22. Haku Silver badge
    Unhappy

    Meh. Whatever.

    Disney owning Star Wars is wrong on so many levels, and in so many galaxies far, far away.

  23. Captain DaFt

    Re: Meh. Whatever.

    "Disney owning Star Wars is wrong on so many levels,"

    An Evil Empire, making movies about an Evil Empire. Seems apropos to me.

  24. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Origin Story

    Not much has been admitted about the plots of the standalone stories, although rumours are rife that the first will be an origin story for a beloved character, with Boba Fett, Yoda or Han Solo at the top of most lists.

    Some of those rumourmongers haven't seen episode 2, then*. They've already done Boba Fett's origin story.

    * Those lucky, lucky bastards.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Origin Story

    No it has to be a film with Ahsoka & Rex as the lead characters!

  26. king of foo

    Re: Origin Story

    I'm still trying to figure out how they'll manage to write Buzz Lightyear into it...

    Maybe that's what "kid clone boba" does between the prequels and his badass mode in the original trilogy... he could get locked up in a mental facility after watching himself as an adult get decapitated... they could work in some trippy scenes from dumbo or fantasia while he wrestles with his sanity. This would be before the rampage where he feeds ewoks into a blender and pumps gallons of the vile liquid into jar jar binks, filling him up like a baloon until he explodes in a satisfying pop.

  27. David Kelly 2

    Crony Capitalism

    Freedom is lost when government's leash is used to lead us around.

  28. mike2R

    Re: Crony Capitalism

    Not really crony capitalism. It isn't politicians doing favours for their mates. Having this here will be a benefit, even with the tax breaks. British people will be employed, and British companies will supply them with products. Sure it would be nice to have the tax too, but so would a pony.

    Ok I'm biased, I just checked the order system, and can see a hefty chunk of kit going to Pinewood Studios over the years. But it's in everyone's interest that UK companies get the business, rather than some random Californians who are much less likely to use the money earned to buy anything off you.

  29. Ledswinger Silver badge

    Re: Crony Capitalism

    "But it's in everyone's interest that UK companies get the business, rather than some random Californians who are much less likely to use the money earned to buy anything off

    By that logic we should set corporation tax at zero for all internationally mobile companies, unless the objective is simply to generate work for a few carpenters, digital cinematography vendors, on-site caterers, a few itinerant thespians, and lighting experts.

  30. mike2R

    Re: Crony Capitalism

    Well it's certainly an argument for a competitive tax rate, and shall we call it flexibility when trying to attract the really valuable companies.

    I'm not sure really where the film industry ranks on that - we do a fair bit business with them, but it isn't really our niche - we don't have the expertise needed to cater to them in the areas that are the real money spinners.

    But the really valuable companies, say a big car manufacturing plant, that provide lots of high-quality jobs and can form the basis of an entire local economy? I'm sure it isn't as simple as just rating them at 0 for corporation tax, but they'll get a shed load of benefits and incentives and sweetheart deals that probably amount to the same. They're worth it and they know it.

  31. Tom 13

    Re: Crony Capitalism

    Any time someone with billions of dollars bribes pays a government official to change a law so his particular firm industry can make more money than they otherwise would, it is crony capitalism.

    Flat tax rates for everyone, or it's just a different form of graft.

    Mind you, I won't hold it against Disney for getting you to roll over for them. That's your fault. And if I were the CEO of Disney and you were willing to roll over for me, I'd be remiss in not taking advantage of it for my shareholders.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    These tax breaks are necessary because, hey, these movies don't make much money do they and the people working hard to make them need a break.... I doubt we'll see any such favour returned to the tax payers by way of cheaper tickets to the cinema or DVDs when they come out.

    I didn't think that greed was the Jedi way.

  33. The last doughnut
    Stop

    Do Abraham's initials really stand for Jar-Jar?

  34. i like crisps
    Meh

    Don't get it?

    If G Lucas couldn't make a decent one after Empire, then why bother making any more? That is all i have to say on this subject.

  35. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    Re: Don't get it?

    "If G Lucas couldn't make a decent one after Empire, then why bother making any more?"

    For the same reasons we have "new" versions of Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Star Trek, Godzilla, Robocop, etc, ad nauseum - because so very few movie makers have the testicular fortitude to do original material. So much easier/safer to take an existing story/character set and "reimagine" it. And then they wonder why so many of us no longer wish to shell out hard-earned cash for their (frequently shit) remakes. After not having been to a cinema for several years, I took a chance on JJ Abrams second outing with Star Trek. Once I realized it was a bad rehash of Wrath of Khan, I walked out. And sometimes, as you and others point out, it's even a bad idea for the originator to do more material in the same universe.

    If producers and studios want to continue churning out crap remake/sequel after crap remake/sequel, that's their business. Just don't expect me to pay for or even be interested in watching it. There are far too many great and original stories remaining to be done.

    /cranky old bastard

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Don't get it?

    +1 I used to go to the cinema almost every week.

    Perhaps I was just young and everything was new. Perhaps the big screen enthralls the young in a way that fades with age.

    I think there's just very little worth going to see. My local Blockbuster shutdown some months ago so I don't rent and I can't even be bothered to download stuff, never mind pay for it. At my local cinemas, I'm looking at AUD 22 per ticket.

    Oy Hollywood! You do know that you are competing with Steam, right? I've just finished HL; Civ5 just appeared for Linux; I've been looking into DoTA2. That cost me something in the region of half a cinema ticket in total.

    Plus Robert Space Industries demo'd at E3. Oh yes!

  37. Tom 13

    Re: it was a bad rehash

    On one level, I get the impetus to reset Star Trek. Since Roddenberry launched Next Gen the studios have made a hash of his universe, especially with Enterprise which should have been a far more interesting show than it was.

    What I couldn't stand was their mechanism for doing so. It's one thing for Dr. Who to be all timey-whimey -- that's been inherent in the show since it inception even if it has been exacerbated a bit lately -- it a whole other thing when it moves to Star Trek. I find it's a lot like ozone - you want a good layer of it in the stratosphere, but not at ground level.

  38. Tom 13

    Re: Don't get it?

    I'd say there are multiple vectors on the whole "don't get it" thing:

    - failure to produce entertaining material.

    - failure to produce original material.

    - failure to set reasonable prices.

    - failure to stay in their lane. (Hollywood should be focused on entertaining us, not selecting our next world leaders.)

  39. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge

    The force of tax compels you

    The force of tax compels you. The force of tax compels you. THE FORCE OF TAX COMPELS YOU!

    (ok, wrong trope; never was a star trek fan)

  40. DougS Silver badge

    Hollywood only goes where the tax breaks are

    My state offered tax credits to make films in the state because of the supposed economic benefits. A few years on there was a big scandal as it was discovered that they were claiming tax breaks on brand new $100K SUVs and all kinds of stuff utterly unrelated to movie production, basically wiping out everything that may have been collected from the work happening in the state (and then some) and the tax credit was removed.

    I hear Georgia has been getting more filming there the last few years due to tax breaks, I'll bet the same thing is going on and they'll eventually be cut too.

    A major film like Star Wars is a big coup though, and even if there are abuses, unless they're claiming tax credits on a new Gulfstream the UK should come out ahead. Hopefully.

    Anyone who thinks that Apple, Google and Microsoft abuse the tax system ain't seen nothing until Hollywood comes to town!

  41. Colin Brett
    Black Helicopters

    These tax breaks ...

    Are they a contributing factor in "24 Live Another Day" being shot in London?

    Serious question. Not wanting to start a flame war.

    Colin

    Black helicopter because that's what's chasing Jack Bauer right about now :-)

  42. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    Bravo!

    Now can you take all the fans?

  43. Tom 13

    Hollywood studios interested in making movies in the country

    If you can figure out a way to bring in the rest of Hollywood, I'll personally donate two Benjamins to Her Majesty's Revenue service.

  44. Dick Emery

    In a politicians office far far away...

    In a politicians office far far away the sounds of deep labored breathing can be heard. No it's not Darth Osborne fiddling the tax system. It's Nick Clegg writing up his next UK election exit speech.

  45. Morten Bjoernsvik

    Game of subsidies

    The subsidies are higher in Canada, The next sequel will be done in Montreal :-)

    http://vfxsoldier.wordpress.com/2014/06/11/casualties-of-the-subsidy-trade-war-prime-focus-london/

    Moving all over the world, work long hours get well paid is great when you are young, free and single.

    Not so great when You have married, mortgage up you ears and kids in school and kindergarten.

    It's the same in most industries. It's a global marked. In Norway the oil companies get flat 78% tax refund on investments, Even the oil is here and not going anywhere, but it has helped infuse massive >$80Bill yearly investments into oil upstream and downstream technologies. Making Norway number one in oil technology in the world despite ridiculously high salaries. Making it hard for us poor sods in other businesses to attract local talent resulting in immigration, relocating or outsourcing.

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