Rian Johnson’s instalment in the new Star Wars trilogy to shoot at the UK studio.

Star Wars: Episode VIII is to shoot at Pinewood Studios, retaining the blockbuster franchise in the UK, it has been revealed.

The news, revealed by Pinewood Shepperton CEO Ivan Dunleavy at a CBI Conference speech this afternoon, comes just a week after principal photography wrapped on Stars Wars: The Force Awakens at the studios near London.

“I’m delighted to be able to tell you that a new Star Wars movie is already booked in,” said Dunleavy.

Joined on stage by Star Wars robot R2D2, the Pinewood CEO said: “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. The seventh Star Wars movie just finished shooting – at Pinewood.”

Adding a note of caution, Dunleavy said: “If we want to keep R2D2 and his friends here, then we need to see sustained government action to keep UK film a thriving and fast-growing industry, an industry to do Britain proud.”

All six of the Star Wars franchise originals included UK production. The original Star Wars trilogy was filmed at Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire, while The Phantom Menace began shooting at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire in 1997. Other studios used included Shepperton, Ealing and Pinewood.

The most recently instalment, directed by JJ Abrams, was filmed between May and November this year at Pinewood and in Abu Dhabi, with additional filming in Iceland. It is scheduled for released on Dec 18, 2015.

Star Wars: Episode VIII will be written and directed by Rian Johnson with release set for 2017 through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Kenneth Branagh recently finished filming Cinderella at Pinewood and Sam Mendes will shortly begin shooting the new Bond at the studios.