he next chapter in the wildly successful "Star Wars" movie franchise will be produced in Britain, Disney's Lucasfilm announced.

"Star Wars: Episode VII" will be the first in the series since Disney bought the studio from George Lucas in 2012 for $4 billion. It is scheduled for release in 2015.

All of the six previous "Star Wars" movies have included production "in such famed (British) studios as Elstree, Shepperton, Leavesden, Ealing and Pinewood Studios," Lucasfilm said in a statement Friday.

"We've devoted serious time and attention to revisiting the origins of Star Wars as inspiration for our process on the new movie," said Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy.

Britain, as well as France and other European nations, offer tax credits to attract movie production, especially work from Hollywood studios.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) George Osborne said he was "delighted" that production "is coming back to Britain."

The announcement is "great news for fans and our creative industries," he said in the statement.

Sci-fi and action filmmaker J.J. Abrams will direct "Episode VII," while Oscar-winning writer Michael Arndt will write the screenplay.

Lucas -- who launched the saga in 1977 and directed four of the six films to date -- will serve as a creative consultant for the three new films, which are expected to come out every two to three years.