With so little by way of big news re: Star Wars, fans are eager for every sliver of information that can be gleaned about the J.J. Abrams-directed sequel Episode VII. Such a news nugget may have slipped out today, as a new report claims that filming on the follow-up will begin in earnest on May 14th in Morocco. This isn’t too surprising, as Disney has already confirmed that production on Episode VII will get underway in May, but the location is quite curious since George Lucas used Morocco to shoot some Tatooine scenes for the original Star Wars films—and those sets still stand today. Hit the jump for more.
Sources tell Badass Digest that filming on Star Wars: Episode VII will begin on May 14th with two weeks of location work in Morocco. The report points out that, last we heard, Lucas’ original Star Wars sets were still standing in a state of dilapidation in Morocco, and goes on to theorize that Abrams may possibly be using the natural weatherization of the Tatooine sets to his advantage by capturing a more worn-down planet. Episode VII does take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi, after all. It’s all conjecture at this point, but not out of the realm of possibility.
If Abrams is indeed shooting scenes for Tatooine, expect the production to move over to Tunisia as well, which is where the bulk of the Tatooine scenes were shot for Lucas’ films. We also recently heard that Iceland is a likely filming location, signaling a possible return to Hoth. Again, nothing is confirmed, but it makes sense.
Abrams will be using London as his base of operations for Episode VII, as that is where the stage work for the film will be shot. The filmmaker has shown a knack for blending location shooting with VFX in the past (the drilling platform fight in Star Trek was shot in a parking lot), so he’ll no doubt make great use of location shooting for Star Wars.
If May 14th is indeed the official production start-date for Episode VII, we should hopefully, maybe, possibly get an official cast announcement in the next month. In any event, Star Wars: Episode VII opens in theaters on December 18, 2015.