Director Jj Abrams has strongly hinted that production for Star Wars VII could begin in early 2014 by revealing that he will be moving his family to London at the end of this year, according to Digital Spy; reporting from the "Produced By" conference (a film production event held in Los Angeles).

Speaking at the conference this weekend, Abrams announced: "We are most likely, if all goes as planned, going to be moving to London at the end of the year for the Star Wars movie."

This comes quickly after May's confirmation that LucasFilm struck a deal with Chancellor George Osborne to shoot the highly anticipated sequel in the U.K, taking advantage of new tax reliefs.

For those anxious fans who are worried that the new generation of Star Wars filmmaking will be compromised by Disney's recent acquisition of LucasFilm, Episode VII producer and LucasFilm president, Kathleen Kennedy reassures: "We've devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie", adding, "I'm thrilled that returning to the UK for production and utilising the incredible talent there can be a part of that."

The former director of all previous films in the franchise, George Lucas, is stepping back on the new instalment, handing over to Abrams, yet will still be on hand as a consultant. Abrams himself has acknowledged the strength and size of the franchise and the passion of the fans but has indicated he'll take the sci-fi cult forward: "I think that the thing is so big and so massive to so many people that the key to moving forward is honoring but not revering what went before."

Written by Michael Arndt (Toy Story 3, Little Miss Sunshine), little else is known of the plot or official cast of the upcoming episode, but it will be released in summer 2015.

George Lucas
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