In the Star Wars movies there are only two actors that have played the same characters in all six films. The first is Anthony Daniels, who played the lovably neurotic C-3PO, and the other is Kenny Baker, who stared as the adventurous and awesome R2-D2. Because the characters are droids, they have longer lifespans than every living thing in the universe, and as a result have found their way into the saga from beginning to end. Being familiar with this fact, we have always had every reason to believe that both C-3PO and R2-D2 would be coming back for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII, and today, thanks to the image you see above, that thinking has been 50% confirmed.
The shot was posted by the official Twitter account of Bad Robot, the production company that was founded by Abrams, and was joined by a message that read "Hi from the workshop! #StarWarsVII." What's hard to say is if this image is set in the Bad Robot offices or perhaps the LucasFilm offices or Industrial Light and Magic. Given the people and items pictured it could be any of the locations.
The most surprising thing about this image is just the simple fact that it exists. Abrams has explained at length that he wants to keep the work on Star Wars: Episode VII as quiet as humanly possible - much like he has done with all of his other directorial and producorial efforts - so the idea that he would send a behind-the-scenes image out this early in the film's pre-production is quite surprising. Admittedly this photo doesn't give a lot away outside of R2-D2's presence in the film, but it will jump start fans' desire to see more and more from the movie (which I guess is the whole point of marketing).
As we learned earlier this month, Walt Disney Pictures and LucasFilm have officially dated Star Wars: Episode VII to come out on December 18, 2015, which will make it the first in the franchise not to come out during the summer blockbuster season. Production is scheduled to start up next spring at Pinewood Studios in England, and in addition to directing Abrams is also co-writing the script with Empire Strikes Back screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (based on an original draft made by Oscar winner Michael Arndt).
It's possible that the Bad Robot Twitter account could wind up being a regular source for quick behind-the-scenes looks at the new sci-fi epic (similar to what directors Marc Webb and Bryan Singer did with their social media accounts) so stay tuned for more inside looks at the film.