Star Wars: Episode VII Rumored To Start Shooting In Abu Dhabi This Week

It would appear that the Star Wars saga is truly ready to return to the planet of Tatooine. It was just last month that we first heard word that the production of the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VII was planning to shoot in a desert location, presumably to shoot scenes that take place on the aforementioned planet from the previous titles from the franchise, and now it appears that an official schedule has been lain down.

A report from Abu Dhabi's English newspaper The National says that J.J. Abrams and his Star Wars: Episode VII cast and crew are going to set up camp in the Middle Eastern nation's desert on Tuesday May 13th to film sequences for the upcoming 2015 blockbuster. While the article makes no mention of who among the actors is coming to the set or exactly what they are shooting, it's said that they will be filming at least until the end of the month. Sources have told the newspaper that crews are just about done with some massive construction work on the production site that includes, "a 'whole world' having been built on an otherworldly salt lake at one location, a 'shuttle-like' spacecraft, a large tower, a 'big, centuries-old-looking market', something the crew are reportedly referring to as the 'alien house' and 10 to 15 'really fast buggies' powered by jet engines."

All of it sounds very interesting, but could the "fast buggies" possibly be landspeeders, first seen in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope?

Star Wars Landspeeder

The National also adds that the production has been shipping in a lot of explosives and that a "blast crater" has been created, suggesting that the location could be used for a big action sequence. Before you start booking a flight, however, the paper also notes that "police and army are checking all vehicles in the area and making sure that anyone who isn’t supposed to be there is sent quickly on their way."

We can't be certain that what's being filmed for Star Wars:Episode VII are sequences on Tatooine, but it can certainly be described as a very educated guess. The fact that they are in the desert is a huge clue, but perhaps the most important evidence is the fact that every Star Wars movie with the exception of Empire Strikes Back has featured a scene on the planet. The idea of returning there is one that's right up J.J. Abrams' alley - as a tribute to the earlier films in the franchise - so it's really makes all kinds of sense. So what exactly could be happening there in Star Wars: Episode VII? Your guess is probably as good as ours, but if I had to wager a guess I would say that Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker winds up heading home at one point in the movie.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.