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Official STAR WARS: EPISODE VII News - Setting and Principal Photography

Up until this point, most of what we’ve heard regarding Star Wars: Episode VII has been mere rumor or speculation. We all knew that with J.J. Abrams at the helm any details would be shrouded in secrecy, but this has been ridiculous. There still hasn’t been a single official casting announcement made — even for the expected return of the primary cast from the original trilogy. However, today two pieces of news have dropped straight from the house of Disney.

First off, Disney and Lucasfilm announced through their official Star Wars site that principal photography for Episode VII will begin in May. I’ve included the official announcement below, along with a timeline of all the start dates for the previous installments in the franchise.

The second piece of news comes straight from Disney CEO Bob Iger. Iger spoke at Disney’s annual shareholder meeting this morning and casually dropped this piece of information about the upcoming Star Wars film: (via Screencrush)

So the new trilogy will pick up nearly in real time after the events of Return of the Jedi, which was released in 1983. So far R2D2 is the only confirmed character among the “very familiar faces” returning. But it’d also be safe to assume that Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, and Carrie Fisher will be suiting up for the start of production in May. There have been plenty of rumors for the casting of new trio of young leads, which you can catch up on here.

Star Wars: Episode VII is set to be released on December 18, 2015.


Official Announcement:

Disney and Lucasfilm are excited to announce that principal photography on Star Wars: Episode VII, directed by J.J. Abrams, will commence May 2014, and will be based at London's historic Pinewood Studios.

This will be the first Star Wars film to start shooting in the month of May. Lucasfilm has documented the first day of principal photography for every installment of the Star Wars saga:

March 22, 1976 -- The first day of principal photography in Tozeur, Tunisia, for Star Wars. A crew of 130 ventures into the desert in 42 trucks and cars, including eight army trucks full of equipment. The first shot was completed at 9:35 a.m.

March 5, 1979 -- The first day of principal photography in Finse, Norway, for The Empire Strikes Back. The crew endures the subzero temperatures, frostbite, heavy winds, and avalanches to pull off the first shot within 65 minutes of setup.

January 11, 1982 -- The first day of principal photography at EMI Elstree Studios outside of London for Return of the Jedi. Although inside a studio, the set must weather a sandstorm in a scene that would ultimately be cut from the film.

June 26, 1997 -- The first day of principal photography at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England, for The Phantom Menace. Ending a long absence from the director's chair, George Lucas shoots a sequence in a bluescreen-lined set with actors Ian McDiarmid and Ray Park.

June 26, 2000 -- The first day of principal photography for Attack of the Clones at Fox Studios Australia. In their new home Down Under, the production crew once again photographs actor Ian McDiarmid three years to the day after Episode I started shooting.

June 30, 2003 -- The first day of principal photography for Revenge of the Sith at Fox Studios Australia. The first scenes shot feature Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor as Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi, respectively, along with R2-D2.

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