By: Dominic Jones
The script is done, the cast is (mostly) set, now Episode VII can finally start filming. But to do that, they need some exotic locations to shoot on. All rumors currently point to shoot in Abu Dhabi (with a rumored set pic from Abu Dhabi having already made the rounds). The Abu Dhabi newspaper The National is reporting that filming is due to start there on May 13th, and has more details from the set. According to The National,
"Our sources also report that the sets are getting closer to completion, with 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 (landspeeders of Tatooine fame from the previous films, perhaps?)"
The 'whole world' comment sounds to me like the crew may be building something along the lines of a Mos Eisley or a Mos Espa. Also, “really fast buggies” powered by jet engines sounds more like podracers to me than landspeeders, though I would be shocked if that were the case!
For more details on the Abu Dhabi sets, we turn to our friends over at MakingStarWars.net who have heard from an inside source with more details. According to their source the locations in Abu Dhabi were chosen for their "dramatic sand dunes." Their source also says,
The crew had several large white bags of rusted and bent metal parts, which are to be strewn in the desert, possibly to show a spacecraft crash or perhaps a post-apocalyptic civilization.
The source also adds,
Several large transport trucks were also spotted moving the set, which is believed to include a spacecraft that lands on the exotic “planet” being created in the Western Region.
This sounds like there will be some significant action happening on Tatooine. A return to Tatooine seems to be all but certain at this point, and makes perfect sense since the first film in the first two trilogies both had significant action taking place on Tatooine. Now the question is, what is going on on Tatooine that requires all this. Only time will tell.
As always this is just a rumor until confirmed by Lucasfilm or Disney.
You can follow Dominic on Twitter: @DominicJ25