The plan according to ILM President Lynwen Brennan is to move in by early April at the latest, and she told The Hollywood Reporter that, “It will be a full service studio. We’ll have an art department, previsualization, and an entire end-to-end visual effects and computer graphics pipeline.”
The reason for the move is to make it easier for them to work on J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII and Joss Whedon’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, two movies which will be filmed at London’s Pinewood Studios. However, they aren’t the only reason according to Brennan, who added: “ILM will be working on not only Lucasfilm projects, Disney projects and Marvel projects but [productions] for other studios as well. London has such a richness of filmmakers. The team that we are building there has those relationships, so we are looking forward to the London studio really developing their local work.”
Avengers: Age of Ultron will still be the first movie they work on, and while they had initially considered splitting their facility between the new Soho offices and Pinewood Studios, that’s no longer the case. ILM will however have a presence there though, particularly for Star Wars.
Of course, this news isn’t just good for movie fans. ILM’s expansion means that they are looking to add around 200 new employees to begin with, many of whom will be hired from within the UK (others are set to make a move from San Francisco).
The report also confirms that Roger Guyett (who earned an Oscar nomination for his work on J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek Into Darkness) will be the VFX supervisor on Star Wars Episode VII. “We needed to expand, and London is a key place to find great [VFX] talent,” Brennan adds. “We also want to work with U.K.-based directors; there’s a lot of filmmaking going on in the U.K.. And, the government has invested in the industry there. That, combined with the fact that shooting in the U.K. requires a certain amount to be spent in the U.K.”
While there are currently no plans in place to bring Lucasfilm’s Skywalker Sound to the UK, that too hasn’t been ruled out…