Star Wars: Episode VII to begin filming this week in Abu Dhabi

Things are moving along quickly for the next big-screen chapter of the Star Wars franchise, with the primary cast announced just a few weeks ago, and now a report indicating that filming will begin this week.

According to The National, shooting will begin for Stars Wars: Episode VII on Tuesday, May 13, in the desert of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. While there’s no official word on what the desert-based set will double for in the film, it’s highly likely that it could be Luke Skywalker’s home planet of Tatooine, which appeared in almost every installment of the series. Shooting in Abu Dhabi is expected to continue to the end of the month.

The outlet reports that a “whole world” is being constructed for the set, complete with spacecraft, a large tower, and a marketplace. There’s also an “alien tower,” according to the outlet’s anonymous source. Even more notable, however, may be the report of a large load of explosives being brought to the set, and the construction of a giant blast crater.

If the report proves true, Tatooine — or wherever the set is supposed to represent — could play host to some major action sequences.

Before you make travel plans, though, you should probably be aware that travel anywhere near the set of Episode VII is heavily restricted, and will likely continue to be so throughout the shooting schedule. Local police and military are reportedly verifying the credentials of anyone approaching the set, so unofficial photography appearing online may not be as rampant as it is with other projects.

 Star Wars: Episode VII is expected to hit theaters December 18, 2015.

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