R2-D2 back for new Star Wars film

Maldon and Burnham Standard: R2-D2 (right) is to feature in the new Star Wars film. R2-D2 (right) is to feature in the new Star Wars film.

The next film in the Star Wars series is to begin filming in the UK in May.

The droid R2-D2 is the first confirmed character returning to the story when filming begins at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, famously the home of James Bond films for many years.

The movie - so far known only as Star Wars: Episode VII - is being directed by JJ Abrams.

Announcing the start of filming, the official Star Wars website said: " Star Wars: Episode VII is set about 30 years after the events of Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, and will star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces. No further details on casting or plot are available at this time."

However Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney which is behind the film, said yesterday that R2-D2 - whose mission to deliver secret blueprints to Obi Wan Kenobi kickstarted the first Star Wars adventure - will be back and was the "official cast member" he would announce.

The new film is set to be released in December of next year.

Previous films in the series have had a strong UK involvement with filming at Leavesden Studios and Elstree Studios, both in Hertfordshire.

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