Disney has officially announced that Star Wars: Episode VII will begin filming in May at London’s Pinewood Studios.
In an official statement on StarWars.com, the company also confirmed that the storyline will take place 30 years after Return of the Jedi and will “star a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces.”
The only confirmed cast member is R2-D2, but Girls star Adam Driver is rumoured to be playing the villain. Others that have been linked to lead roles include Breaking Bad’s Jesse Plemons, Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, Gary Oldman, Zac Efron, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, Saoirse Ronan, Chloë Moretz, Michael B. Jordan and Hugo Weaving.
According to a report by THR earlier this year, Abrams’ upcoming sequel has been reworked to focus on the trilogy’s original stars – Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) and Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), with newer characters taking a back seat until Episode VIII and IX.
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 instalment 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.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be released December 18, 2015.