Yesterday, Lucasfilm and Disney opened up a brand new branch of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) in London. With Disney committing so many of their upcoming movies (including all of the new Star Wars flicks and many of Marvel’s slate) to filming in Pinewood in London, it makes sense for them to open a local VFX house across the pond as well. The official opening ceremony happened last night (as reported by THR), and Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy was present to talk about the new studio:
“This continues a long tradition of Star Wars movies being made in London. It goes back to 1976, and to know that we are now coming back and we will be making the movies once again based out of Pinewood, and now we’re looking to put together this studio, it’s rather remarkable that this has all come together in less than two years.”
More importantly, Kennedy also revealed that Star Wars: Episode VII was only “three weeks off” from finishing up principal photography! Over the last couple weeks we’ve heard of actors having wrapped on the set (most recently Harrison Ford), so production is definitely winding down. I myself have speculated that filming would wrap by the end of October, so it looks like I wasn’t too far off!
We’ve still got a year’s worth of post-production efforts to go (though the new ILM location is already working on some effects work), but the end of production is another big step towards seeing new Star Wars films on the big screen. Hopefully when filming wraps, we’ll get another tease from JJ Abrams to give fans something to oohh and aaahhh over. In general, I’m hoping the end of production means the start of more official information. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see!