We’ve already seen some evidence, but Lucasfilm and Abu Dhabi’s twofour54 announced today that they are indeed currently filming in the UAE. “We were very excited to start the filming of Star Wars: Episode VII in Abu Dhabi,” Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy said in a statement. “It has been an incredible place to commence this journey.” J.J. Abrams “and cast” (we’re not sure who) flew to Abu Dhabi “in early May.” Hundreds of crew are working currently, and “key production staff” have been working with the locals since January.
The Hollywood Reporter’s sources say they’re recreating parts of Tatooine there, as one might expect from the clip, which bears a strong resemblance to the Mos Espa market in The Phantom Menace. Variety has a few more details on the financial arrangements.
Now on to important matters: What the hell is that thing on the right?
I’m not quite sure where this leaked originally (it’s not on any of the expected official accounts, though it’s certainly not giving away any spoilers or other sensitive information) but ScreenCrush has a note from J.J. Abrams to the cast and crew of Episode VII. (Apparently, from the copy of script supervisor Dawn Gilliam.) The translation:
Dearest Cast and Crew, What an honor it is to work beside all of you, on Star Wars Ep VII. I can’t thank you enough, for all work past and future. Let’s take good care of not just ourselves, but of each other. Amazing, but true: the world awaits this film. Let’s give ‘em something GREAT. xo JJ
Fans attending the first Star Wars Weekend this year at Disney World got a special message from J.J. Abrams. He doesn’t drop any mystery box bombs, but it’s a nice gesture.
And while the beloved/controversial Dance-Off With The Star Wars Stars has been replaced with a more “respectful” and “tasteful” finale show, there are Stormtroopers rocking out to Earth hits, which I suppose is something:
Director J.J. Abrams and writer Lawrence Kasdan send greetings from London.
StarWars.com has announced the official cast for Episode VII. Star Wars alumni Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Kenny Baker will be joined by John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, and Max von Sydow.
And that second new female role? They may still be looking, says The Hollywood Reporter.
Of course, we know of old that Lucasfilm has their own high-tech ways of making sure that information remains internally… OR DO THEY?!?
Okay, seriously, this would be super easy to fake, and I suspect if it’s real it was some sort of internal April Fools joke or something. I mean, if you’re going to do the “I have a very special set of skills” thing, seems to be it’s best delivered in person, and without evidence.
UPDATE: And, surprising no one, this is apparently a fake. You don’t say!
“I’m having a blast,” J.J. Abrams says about the new Star Wars in a lengthy new Daily Mail interview.
After a period of silence, Jedi News’ Jedi Master SQL has returned. Today he says that “a select number of executives” and ” leading movie industry writers and publications” have been to the set – something that we’ve already seen some evidence of. As for the meeting themselves:
The majority of the media and vendor meetings have been with JJ Abrams and or Kathleen Kennedy themselves – emphasising what looks like finally some big announcements are imminent with vendors and the mainstream media prepped by those at the very top. It is same to assume that both JJ and Kathleen would have given interviews at these meetings which will be used by these publications in upcoming issues.
Also on set? “A number of actors and actresses whom we assume are cast, and or at least in late stages of negotiation.” And thus, “costume fittings and training are starting.”
These are all very good signs that announcements are imminent. Could This is Madness actually be leading up to something even bigger than a mere popularity contest? Stay tuned…
In a new interview with The Telegraph, J.J. Abrams talks a bit about Star Trek, Star Wars and keeping secrets.
Before the release of last year’s Star Trek Into Darkness, Abrams tried to keep secret the identity of the villain played by Benedict Cumberbatch – something he now regrets. “We were trying to preserve the unexpected for the audience, but it came across as if we were trying to be too clever,” he says.
“Star Wars is in every way a different animal. It’s always been a more open, fan-engaged universe than I’ve been used to, so I’m sure there’ll be some sort of compromise. But it feels to me like there’s a purity in not knowing every little thing.”
Secrecy, but not outright Khan-style lying for Episode VII? Let’s hope so.
He also reveals that Bad Robot staffers have “covered up all my windows with black paper,” while he’s working on the Star Wars script, “It seems rather extreme.”
Erm, maybe not. (via)