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Even though the Star Wars franchise features many memorable sequences in locations like Hoth, Dagobah, and the moon of Endor, Tatooine ultimately has to be called the most legendary planet in the series. It was the planet where both Luke and Anakin Skywalker were raised, it's where Obi-wan Kenobi spent decades hiding, it's where R2-D2 and C-3PO's escape pod miraculously landed, it was where Luke met Han Solo, and it's where Luke and Leia rescued Han from Jabba The Hutt. It has appeared in five of the six Star Wars movies - more than any other planet - and now we have word that number will be going up with the release of J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII.
While we first heard rumors about Tatooine's potential role in the sci-fi sequel last week, now The Hollywood Reporter has apparently confirmed those stories with their own sources. Precise details about the work being done isn't provided, but the trade says that the production is building "an extensive re-creation of Tatooine," which seems to suggest that Episode VII will have at least one scene that takes place in a familiar setting (but count on many, many more). This leg of the production is going on in "a Morocco-like environment" instead of the Tunisian desert where the original Tattooine scenes were filmed. Disney could not be reached for comment on the story.
Once the work in the desert is done, Star Wars: Episode VII will be heading to England where it will play out most of its production on the stages of Pinewood Studios. They will be using a script co-written by Abrams and Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan, and the story will be set 30 years after Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. There haven't been any official announcements yet regarding the members of the cast playing human characters, though Adam Driver is said to be in negotiations to play the film's main villain while both R2-D2 and Chewbacca are confirmed to return.
Little stories like this have continued to break over the last couple of weeks, and frankly it all feels like cracks being formed in a dam. The wait is quickly becoming intolerable, but it probably won't be long until the Walt Disney Company and LucasFilm send out a press release announcing the start of principal photography, the official cast - including both returning and new characters - a small plot description, and possibly even a title. There's still a lot to be excited for, and if it helps with the wait you can play the following on a loop: