Rumor: Is this our first photo of an Episode VII set?

Abu-Dhabi-set-maybeThe National, a newspaper in Abu Dhabi, claims it has the first image of the Star Wars set in the desert there:

The photos, taken on Tuesday morning in the dunes near Qasr Al Sarab resort, reveal a large encampment of tents with four to five workers moving around what appear to be parts of a filmset.

It is one piece of equipment in particular, however, that is the most suggestive: a giant, round, grey disc, which bears a striking resemblance to parts of an escape pod on which C3P0 and R2D2 crash-landed on Tatooine in the original, 1977, Star Wars: A New Hope film.

They go to say that according to ‘sources,’ “crew members have already been hired for the Abu Dhabi leg of the secret production.”

Are you convinced? An Abu Dhabi location shoot has been rumored, but is not confirmed by Lucasfilm or Disney. And honestly it looks like it could easily be part of a water main to me.

In other Episode VII ‘news’ today, a pair of random actors (Ansel Elgort and Beau Mirchoff) say they auditioned for Episode VII. Alrighty then!

UPDATE: More details from The National’s investigation, which involves, I kid you not, the dating app Tinder.

Kevin Hearne turns in his Luke Skywalker novel

luke-anhKevin Hearne tweeted today that he “just clicked SEND on my Star Wars novel. Let the editing begin!” The Luke Skywalker-centric book is the third and presumably final book in the loose Empire and Rebellion series. The previous books, Martha Wells’ Razor’s Edge and James S. A. Corey’s Honor Among Thieves, are already out.

We don’t have an officially announced release date, but an Edelweiss listing spotted last month had it coming out on January 18.

Celebration Anaheim stage hosts announced

Celebration VII The new Insider has named the stage hosts for next year’s Celebration Anaheim. Returning are James Arnold Taylor (Celebration Stage,) David Collins (Digital Stage) and Gus Lopez (Collecting Track.) There are new hosts for the Behind-The-Scenes stage, which has been the domain of Pablo Hidalgo for the past several cons: Jason Swank and Jimmy Mac McInerney of RebelForce Radio. Is Pablo too busy with his Story Team duties? Will he only be acting as a panelist, in line with his Story Team duties? We worry.